In today's environmentally conscious society, having eco-friendly features in your home could be a great selling point. Flooring is one way that you can make your home more appealing from this standpoint, as there are many low-impact and sustainable options.
Reclaimed wood is one option; there are companies that buy wood from demolition sites and use it to make a variety of flooring styles. Wood from older buildings can yield an impressive size of boards and quality of flooring. Sometimes the availability of particular woods can fluctuate, depending on the company's ability to find it.
Carpets can be recycled, re-dyed and re-cut for new lives in new homes or areas of the house. New carpets can be purchased in a variety of sustainable materials, such as jute, sisal, wool and coconut husk. Carpets can also be made from recycled non-biodegradable materials, such as pop bottles and food containers.
Bamboo is not really a wood; it is a fast growing giant grass that can be harvested in as little as three years. A common building material in the South Pacific and East Asia, bamboo is a relative newcomer to North America, but is growing in popularity, especially for flooring. It has anti-bacterial properties, is water resistant and lasts a long time, even with regular use.
Cork flooring comes from the Cork Oak – long a producer of corks for wine bottles and for note boards. Some Cork Oaks have had their bark harvested for hundreds of years without harm to the tree. Cork is a very durable material and also has anti-microbial properties as well as low VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions than many comparable materials.
Rubber is not just for balls and erasers; this product from the rubber tree is also an anti-static, insulating floor material. Rubber is made from the extract of latex from the rubber tree. When sustainably planted and harvested, rubber trees can provide latex for decades. The trees then become used for furniture when their production life is at an end.
For people used to linoleum on their kitchen floor, it might come as a surprise that this is another material harvested from nature. Linoleum is created from flax seeds that have been dried, milled and mixed with other plant material and applied to a jute backing. The whole process requires only sources that are renewable and biodegradable. Linoleum is popular with people who have allergies, as it repels dirt and dust.
There are many options for the home owner to purchase flooring that has a lower impact on the environment than ‘traditional' materials. Sustainable materials are healthier and often very economical when the long-term benefits are considered. And, of course, an “eco-friendly” floor material is great advertising if you wish to sell.
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