‘Eco-friendly’ no longer means boring and bland. Homeowners and designers are focusing on green living and searching for sustainable materials to make their home stylish and energy efficient.
Today, flooring manufacturers offer a wide variety of cost-effective, attractive and recycled options to help you create a sustainable home. They are producing varied designs so homeowners can make ‘green’ choices without sacrificing style.
If you’re designing or remodelling your home and looking for new flooring ideas, keep reading to find out the best eco-friendly flooring materials to consider.
7 Ideas for Eco-Friendly Hardwood Flooring
Here are some eco-friendly flooring options to guarantee your home has minimal environmental impact and ensures that you live in a safe and soothing environment.
Cork is a hypoallergenic material extracted from the bark of cork oak trees originating in the forests of the Mediterranean. It replenishes itself naturally in a three-year cycle while the host tree continues to grows, making it a renewable resource. The material is generally used to make wine corks, with leftover scraps ground up and pressed to create flooring.
Cork has anti-microbial properties that reduce allergens within your home. It also acts as an acoustic barrier and offers thermal insulation, making it energy efficient. Cork is both insect repellant and fire resistant, and can bounce back from damage, making it impervious to heavy furniture and high heels alike. Its durability is what allows installed cork flooring to last 10 to 30 years.
Like wood, cork can be finished in a wide variety of stains and paints to suit any colour or design scheme. It’s ideal for use in hallways, kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and practically any room that sees high foot traffic.
Being a fast-growing plant with a harvest cycle of three to five years, bamboo is another renewable flooring resource.
More than 1,500 species of bamboo are harvested in Australia, Asia, Africa and parts of North and South America, and it shares the same characteristics as hardwood. It naturally resists insects, mildew and water, and is easy to install. It’s lightweight and available in a wide variety of colours that work well in any interior setting, giving it an edge over other types of flooring. Vertical bamboo boasts a chic, modern look while horizontal bamboo flooring gives an unique appearance to the space. It’s suitable for living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and offices.
This renewable material is obtained by turning recycled beverage and wine bottles into beautiful tiles that can be used for flooring or on kitchen and bathroom walls.
Glass tiles offer benefits similar to other eco-friendly materials. Being non-absorbent, they don’t gather mould or mildew, even in a damp environment. They come in an array of patterns, colours and finishes, and aren’t difficult to maintain. Unlike ceramic, the glass used to make tiles reflects light rather than absorb it, providing an additional layer of light ideal for rooms with low levels of lighting. And there’s no need to worry about breaking the material as it’s surprisingly durable.
For hardwood to be considered eco-friendly, it needs to be sourced from salvaged or reclaimed lumber. Brand new planks that have just been sourced are much softer than ones harvested years ago. The material sourced from reclaimed planks is easy to maintain and durable, making it suitable for homeowners looking for an eco-friendly approach.
Hardwood flooring has an undeniable charm and adds style to any interior. For care and maintenance, occasional vacuuming or cleaning with a wood cleaner designed for floors is recommended. However, it does need to be sealed once a year to keep away pests. Hardwood is also completely bio-degradable and can be recycled at the end of its life to be used as fuel or for other projects that require wood.
This material has gotten a bad rap over the years. Often confused with vinyl, linoleum is a natural material made with tree resin, cork dust, linseed oil, wood flour, ground limestone and pigments. It’s biodegradable and has anti-bacterial qualities, making it one of the most eco-friendly options. It’s also water resistant, durable and easy to maintain. Its production doesn’t harm the environment and it can last from 25 to 40 years. Once the material has reached the end of its lifespan, it can be burned as fuel. Linoleum doesn’t emit any harmful compounds, and the pigments used during production are spread out to give it a uniform look.
This sustainable flooring option is synonymous with green building initiatives since it’s non-toxic. With its easy-to-clean qualities and industrial appearance, concrete is becoming increasingly popular. The material offers super sleek finishes perfect for contemporary dwellings, along with a matte-finished option ideal for homes with a rustic appearance. It can alternatively be acid stained and have different colours added along with patterns cut into it to mimic the appearance of stone or tile. Concrete works well in dining and living rooms among other areas that see high foot traffic. Natural blemishes give it an incredible texture and bring a warm and cozy feel when paired with soft accessories and furnishings.
If you’re looking for soft flooring for your home, choose carpet. But the material you select may be doing more harm than good to the planet. That’s why most homeowners are turning to wool. Make sure you research the brand of carpet you purchase to ensure its ethically sourced. For instance, if the wool is sourced from sheep, their coats should be grown annually, and the sheering should be done hygienically and painlessly.
Being a natural material, wool has air-purifying qualities and offers a soft surface to sit and walk on. Since it’s a natural resource, it can be dyed in any colour.
Benefits of Eco-Friendly Hardwood Flooring
- Your flooring choices impact the planet.
- There are many green style options.
- The materials are durable, stylish and distinct.
No matter your style, you’re bound to find an eco-friendly flooring option ideal for you and your home. Today’s interior designers and style innovators made eco-friendly flooring popular, so there’s no need to sacrifice sustainability or style. Hopefully, you feel better about what you’re installing in your home and know your choices are making a difference.