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Adding "Green" Flooring to Your Home

Did you know that remodeling your flooring not only beautifies your home, but can be environmentally friendly? Five popular "green" options are: natural linoleums, cork, recycled and reclaimed hardwoods, bamboo, and eco-friendly carpet.

Natural Linoleums
This flooring comes in sheets made with no toxic chemicals or harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It is hypoallergenic as well as natural, making it great for households with allergy or asthma sufferers. The growth of bacterial and micro-organisms such as Staphylococcus and Salmonella are halted by the natural anti-bacterial properties of these floors. Natural linoleum is durable and can last for decades, making it a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to classic linoleum.

While cork has been used for flooring for hundreds of years, it has only recently been manufactured for ease of instillation. The thick bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber) is harvested approximately every decade. These trees can live 170 to 250 years, making this a great renewable resource causing no damage to these trees. Cork is naturally heat insulating and shock absorbing, making it great for noise dampening and energy efficiency,

Recycled and Reclaimed Hardwood
These types of hardwoods come from three main sources: sunken ships and river barges, deconstruction of antique buildings, and logs from river beds. This material comes from forest growth a century or more old, causing no new damage to current forest growth. This flooring tends to have interesting staining and visible grain, is extremely durable, and can be refinished over time.

Did you know that an oak tree can take up to 120 years of growth before it's ready to harvest, but that bamboo can take as little as 3? Bamboo is one of the fastest growing woods, and can re-grow after harvesting without the need for replanting, pesticides, or fertilizers. This flooring is as dent- and moisture-resistant as many other hardwoods, making it an excellent, very environmentally friendly choice for your new floor.

Eco-Friendly Carpet
Carpet companies are joining in on the eco-friendly movement. Shaw flooring creates and cleans new carpet using old, recycled carpet. Mohawk flooring melts down recycled plastic bottles to create fibers woven into carpet yarn. These environmentally-friendly manufacturing practices prevent harmful chemicals from being released into the air, and use less energy than traditional manufacturing. These carpets offer the same durability and stain resistance as comparable new carpets, but release less chemicals into your home.

While all of these flooring options offer great environmentally-friendly benefits, you will receive the best results and durability from these materials if they are properly installed. A professional contractor or flooring installer can assist you with planning your flooring remodel and choosing the best material for your family's needs and your budget.

Article by Alicia Rowe

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