More and more homeowners, building managers, and contractors are prioritizing the environment. Green products and practices help reduce one’s carbon footprint and make the planet a healthier place for everyone. When it comes to constructing homes, businesses, and other buildings, incorporating environmentally friendly options can add value to the property for years to come. Moreover, environmentally friendly options often create a healthier environment for anyone who lives or works within the building. If you plan on creating a greener room or building, why not start from the ground up? There are plenty of flooring options that provide a sustainable, clean, and reliable foundation for a room. Make the best choice for yourself, your project, and the planet with this guide on the different eco-friendly flooring options and what to choose.
What To Look for in Eco-Friendly Options
Before you choose the right floor for your home, business, or project, you should know exactly what to look for in an eco-friendly option. First, consider the materials that manufacturers use to make the flooring. You want an option that consists of natural and renewable resources. It’s also a good idea to look into the ethics behind the material. Does the manufacturer sustainably source their products? Are recycled materials involved? Next, think about the life cycle of your flooring. Even if a floor consists of natural materials, it can still create problems if you must tear it up and throw it out in just a few years—especially if it’s not biodegradable. Long-lasting floors are much better for the environment. Finally, consider the toxicity of your floor. This includes materials like adhesives or finishes. Toxic materials or options with a high level of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) can harm the air quality both in your building and in the original manufacturing plant. Choose cleaner options with low VOC levels so that you can protect your own health as well as the planet’s.
Eco-Friendly Flooring Options
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to decide what to choose for eco-friendly flooring options. Fortunately, you have a variety of choices to look at. Each flooring option comes with its unique benefits and challenges. Make sure you take the time to learn more about each option—including the sellers and manufacturers behind it—so that you can make a careful and informed decision for your home or building. Here’s a rundown of the environmentally friendly flooring options for you to consider:
Bamboo is a huge name in the world of environmentally-friendly products. This is due to its incredibly fast growth rate. Bamboo trees mature after about three to five years—a remarkable feat compared to the decades it takes for many hardwood trees to mature. Moreover, bamboo provides many of the beloved benefits of traditional hardwood flooring: a gorgeous, traditional appearance, long-lasting durability, and versatility in grain, texture, and stain colors. When considering bamboo flooring, keep in mind that most bamboo comes from tropical or subtropical regions. Depending on where you live, this can lead to high emission levels and pollution throughout the distribution process.
Traditionally, cork’s most popular purposes were bulletin boards and wine bottles. Despite this, the material is on the rise in the flooring world. Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, which means that the trees themselves stay standing. The bark itself also grows back within three years, making it a remarkably renewable resource. If that’s not good enough, some cork floors actually consist of recycled corks from wine bottles. On top of being an incredibly environmentally-friendly material, cork floors naturally repel mold, mites, and other allergens, making them great for preserving the air quality in your home.
Linoleum fell out of favor for a few decades due to its outdated design and its association with vinyl flooring, which is known to have high levels of VOCs. These days, however, linoleum is making a well-deserved comeback. Unlike vinyl, linoleum consists entirely of biodegradable materials like linseed oil, tree resin, and cork dust. This highly renewable material is also flame retardant and resists moisture well. Furthermore, linoleum’s durability makes it a long-lasting option for your home or building. Since linoleum began growing in popularity again, manufacturers started creating a wider range of colors and designs to fit modern tastes.
We mentioned previously that flooring options which use recycled materials are great for the environment. Some manufacturers take this a step further by creating floors made out of entirely recycled products. Options like reclaimed hardwood, recycled glass, or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) carpet give new life to old materials. On top of keeping more trash out of landfills, the result provides a beautiful and unique look to your home. Reclaimed wood floors create the gorgeous natural look of wood flooring without chopping down new trees. Glass tile floors are perfect for adding a pop of color to a room. You can also easily recycle glass flooring when it has reached the end of its life. Finally, PET carpet is a strong, synthetic material that manufacturers can make out of a wide range of recycled objects such as plastic bottles, tires, and more.
When it comes to environmentally-friendly products, engineered hardwood flooring has it all. This is a natural material that consists of real wood. By combining a veneer of solid hardwood and a core of plywood, engineered hardwood manufacturers make a beautiful and durable product out of fewer slow-growing hardwood trees. Many manufacturers also use recycled materials to make the plywood core. This makes engineered hardwood far more sustainable than other wood flooring options. However, that solid wood veneer makes engineered hardwood nearly identical to solid hardwood. In fact, engineered hardwood comes with many of the same benefits of hardwood flooring, such as high market value and an incredible lifespan. Engineered hardwood flooring also has low VOC levels, especially when you choose nontoxic and environmentally-friendly finishes or stains for your floors. Fewer chemicals mean better air quality for your building and less pollution in the surrounding atmosphere.
Are you ready to make a responsible choice for your home or building? If you’re leaning toward engineered hardwood flooring, you can find beautiful, durable, and sustainable products at From the Forest. Browse popular collections like our maple engineered hardwood flooring to find the best fit for your project, your people, and the planet at large.