When the time comes to replace your existing flooring, you have many environmentally friendly options available to you regardless of budget. Choosing eco-friendly flooring is not only a socially responsible choice, it may help to improve your health as well. Traditional carpet products can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as toluene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, and acetone. These harsh chemicals produce fetal abnormalities in test animals and have been know to cause respiratory illness in humans. If you'd like to stay away from flooring that could be harmful to your health and the planet, try one of the following flooring options.
Cork flooring is a highly sustainable substance. It is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree. Cork can be harvested every nine years without harming the tree. Cork flooring is extremely durable and easy to maintain. It is a great choice for a kitchen or bath since it is also resistant to mold and mildew.
Bamboo floors are an eco-friendly alternative to hardwood floors. Bamboo is a hardy grass that grows quickly. It can be harvested every three to six years. Not only is bamboo durable and strong, it is also naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and insects.
Reclaimed Hardwood Floors
If you are set on having hardwood floors, consider using reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is usually salvaged from old barns, houses, or warehouses. It has been refinished into planks that can be used as floors. By using reclaimed wood for your floors, you can have a unique, rustic look and save old wood from going into a landfill.
Recycled Glass Tiles
If you want your floors to have a little more personality and color to them, recycled glass tiles may be a good choice for you. Since these are made from various pieces of recycled glass, each one has a very unique look and comes in a wide array of colors. These floors are very strong and durable, as well as easy to maintain.
Concrete is known as one of the most durable materials you can use in your home. It will literally last a lifetime. Although you would think that concrete flooring would be very cold and industrial, that is not the case. Concrete floors can be stained or painted any color you can imagine. A radiant heating system can also be added under your concrete floors. This will not only help to lower your heat bills, but will cut down on the dust in your home.
Linoleum flooring can be an environmentally friendly and budget friendly product. Today's linoleum is often made from natural materials such as linseed oil, limestone, cork, and tree resin. It can be both non toxic and biodegradable. Linoleum is also known for its durability and long life--it can last over fifty years.
Wool carpeting is not only eco friendly but it has a much longer lifespan then synthetic fiber carpets. It is much better for your health because it has no volatile organic compounds or VOC's. When installing wool carpeting in your home it is important to also use felt or rubber padding with no VOC's or low VOC's.