Remodeling or renovating your home can allow you to improve its ecological nature, just as building new does. Your bathroom offers an ideal place to start using sustainable flooring options. This smaller space lets you explore design options and materials without spending a lot.
Let’s start with the flooring. Bathrooms need tough floors that stand up well to water. With today’s flooring styles, you’ve got many choices to suit any décor.
Beyond the Traditional Flooring Options
Your bathroom floors can take on an industrial, minimalist, or elegant appearance with non-traditional options. Try concrete, pebble tile, glass tile, recycled ceramic tile, terrazzo, or genuine linoleum for a unique look that lasts for years and stands up to the frequent traffic bathrooms experience.
- Concrete Flooring
When building a new home, use the concrete structural floor (sub-floor) as your main flooring. Instead of leaving the concrete bare, have the builder mix in recycled glass or porcelain for a sophisticated look. If you reside in an area of coal production, consider using coal fly ash as a mixed ingredient for added strength.
- Pebble Tile Flooring
Choose from conventional pebble tiles or recycled glass pebble tiles. The latter offers excellent eco-benefits. The tiles require adhesive, grout, or cement to hold them in place, but products made for use in moist, humid environments like bathrooms last a long time, and many environmentally sound options exist.
- Recycled Glass Tile Flooring
Instead of pebbles, consider recycled glass tile. It sparkles like jewels and comes in numerous colors, so you can easily match your desired décor. These tiles range in recycled content from about 30 percent up to 97 percent.
- Ceramic Tile Flooring
Check the shelves of your favorite flooring stores for ceramic tile with post-industrial recycled content. Ceramic waste material includes tableware and discarded clay to create eco-friendly flooring. Many of these tiles use a mosaic design.
- Terrazzo Floors
Durable terrazzo offers a smooth, polished appearance that is perfect for sleek designs. Terrazzo consists of granite or marble set in concrete, then polished. Many manufacturers use no- or low-VOC sealers in their creation. Considered a luxury material, it costs more than most other options, but the small size of a bathroom means the room offers an affordable spot to use since you won’t need much.
- Linoleum Floors
Using linoleum means using a flooring material made of natural raw materials that provides a fire-resistant, water-resistant, and scratch-resistant surface. Talk about the perfect bathroom flooring material! It gets better. Genuine linoleum uses linseed oil in its composition, which provides its antimicrobial properties. This heavy-duty flooring lasts up to 40 years. Choose its tiles or planks to create a patterned floor, or use linoleum sheets for a great quick floor.
Can You Design with Wood in a Bathroom?
But what if you want the look of wood in your bathroom? If you can’t have wood flooring and still build an ecological home, these sustainable flooring choices might help you. Wood offers many options, including bamboo, cork, and engineered wood. Let’s examine how these three options can provide you with the desired appearance and a green home.
- Cork Flooring
Cork trees offer the raw material for cork boards and flooring without cutting them down. Grown predominantly in Spain and Portugal, these trees produce a bark that producers can strip off without harming the tree’s growth. The bark takes nine years to regrow before it can undergo another harvest. From this bark, they stamp out wine corks. To use the remaining cork bark, they grind the scraps and press them together to create the bulletin boards used in offices and schools everywhere. These scraps also become durable cork flooring that your builder can make water-resistant using a no- or low-VOC sealer.
- Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo grass grows tall and strong. Its tree-like appearance and heartiness grow quickly, too, since it only takes three years to reach maturity. The resulting material offers greater strength than northern red oak or maple and resists moisture. Like wood, if the bathroom floods, it can still warp.
- Engineered Wood
Some misunderstandings surround engineered wood. The term doesn’t refer to laminate or faux wood. Engineered wood combines a thin veneer of hardwood, typically with a base of plywood. Plywood also gets a bad rap. Plywood consists of sawdust of various wood species that manufacturers press together with glue to use every speck of the tree. When you purchase engineered wood, the whole plank consists of actual wood, but it merges multiple wood species to reduce waste.
- Reclaimed or Salvaged Wood
Put the old saying “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” Into practice by using reclaimed or salvaged wood flooring. This sustainable option gets you the gorgeous hardwood flooring you want, with a little history added to your project.
- Wood Flooring Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Forget clearcutting. When you choose a wood product marked FSC-certified, you buy wood that this independent agency guarantees that its manufacturer uses responsible harvesting methods. The FSC certification for wood compares to an FDA-certified organic food product.
Shopping for High-Quality Bathroom Building Materials
The Internet affords you many shopping options when you need bathroom flooring. To find wood options, start with From the Forest, offering hardwood plywood, plank flooring, tongue and groove options, and click-and-lock options. You’ll also find wall and ceiling coverings, plus installation supplies.
Your building or remodeling project offers you a unique opportunity to uncover the natural beauty of your bathroom and create a greener house. Today’s building materials offer many sustainable options that use recycled materials or sustainably grown woods like cork and bamboo. Whether you choose cement flooring with shiplap on the walls or reclaimed hardwood floors with glass tile backsplashes, you can create a superb sustainable design that adds to the comfort of your home.