Today, more than ever, people and manufacturers are opting to buy and produce eco-friendly materials and use them in construction and design. Green materials are not only great for the environment but look stylish. So, if you’re looking to live in a more sustainable environment, you can start from the floors. Let’s look at some of the more common eco-friendly flooring options for your home.
Reclaimed wood flooring is just what it sounds like: wood that’s been removed from buildings and reclaimed and repurposed for another project. Many designers choose to work with reclaimed wood because it’s both eco-friendly and has a great aesthetic. Some aspects of the material may be changed (wood is re-sawn if needed, for example), but what it retains is the history and character, and that’s what makes it so attractive.
Cork is quickly becoming one of the most popular green flooring options. It’s made from the bark of specific trees and can be harvested without chopping them down. It also has many desirable properties aside from being sustainable, such as termite and mold resistance and excellent sound and temperature insulation. It’s also soft and comfortable, which makes it a perfect opting for areas that require a lot of standing, such as kitchens.
Another sustainable flooring option is bamboo. Bamboo grows very quickly and reaches maturity in only three to five years. It also requires almost no pesticides and fertilisers during its growth. However, it mostly grows around the Pacific Ocean, which means its shipping to other areas can cause a lot of pollution. But many people still choose bamboo because it’s renewable, strong and naturally resistant to moisture, mildew and insects.
Even though not many people think of linoleum when talking about natural flooring options, linoleum is actually made from linseed oil that comes from flax plants, which makes it pretty natural and renewable. Additionally, its production has a minimal negative effect on the environment and the material itself is quite durable (it lasts anywhere from 25 to 40 years!). Old linoleum can also be burned for fuel. It releases roughly the same amount of energy that’s required for its production, which means no energy gets wasted.
Stone is a popular natural flooring option. It’s extracted from the earth and is constantly being recreated in the natural tectonic processes. Stone can also be recycled and reused in other projects once it’s no longer needed in one place. The downside of stone, however, is its weight, which means its transport can release a significant amount of pollution.
Here’s another not so obvious green flooring option you can try in your home. Concrete is a great eco-friendly option because it can be produced at the building site (no transport is required), can be molded in different shapes, recycled and reused and can be made of different recycled materials. The choice of finish will actually dictate its eco-friendliness but plain polished concrete has a minimal environmental impact. You can also use different floor coating options for concrete sealing and curing that maximise concrete strength and durability. All in all, concrete is a great flooring choice, especially if you live in warmer climates. It’s also hypo-allergenic and is extremely durable and easy to maintain.
Recycled glass and metal tiles
Less known green flooring options are recycled glass and metal tiles. Glass tiles are made from glass that’s been collected and reused, such as bottles, windows and other glass items. This way, glass as a non-degradable material gets a new purpose instead of piling up in a landfill. Metal tiles are produced in a similar manner. They are made from aluminum, copper and brass that’s been discarded and reused. And since metals are not very sustainable, its re-purposing puts a stop to resource waste and keeps the materials out of landfills.