More and more homeowners are considering the planet when renovating their properties. Not only are environmentally conscious products beautiful and modern solutions for the contemporary home, they can also add value to your home. You might not have thought of eco-friendly flooring options before, but starting with the ground up is one of the easiest ways to create a greener and cleaner home.
What to consider
Eco-friendly flooring is not simply made from natural, renewable substances. There’s actually a lot more to consider! When choosing your greener ground you’ll want to question factors like:
- the material’s ability to be renewed;
- how easily recyclable the materials are;
- sustainably sourced materials and production;
- responsible manufacturing;
- low transport distances;
- environmentally conscious maintenance;
- the floor’s life cycle.
The last point is especially important because waste is one of the largest problems our planet sits with today. You could choose a natural material, sustainably sourced flooring but if it will only last for a few years, cannot be recycled or isn’t biodegradable, then it isn’t a truly eco-friendly flooring option. Long-lasting flooring (well, anything really!) is much better for the environment.
You may think cork is a rare flooring alternative but it has been used since the 1870s. Cork floors became highly popular in the 1920s through to the 1940s, and the post-war housing boom in 1950s America. It was especially a common feature in mid-century modern homes thanks to cork’s durability and affordability. One of the most famous architects at this time, Frank Lloyd Wright used cork in many of his projects.
Drawbacks? Cork needs to be sealed and maintained. As a natural eco-friendly flooring option cork will never be truly waterproof, although you can give your floor some water resistance by sealing it with a polyurethane or wax product. With proper sealing and maintenance your cork flooring will last, but don’t think of putting it in the bathroom.
The fast-growing and highly renewable bamboo plant has been a top choice in the development of various environmentally conscious alternatives. As part of the grass family it grows to maturity incredibly fast, but as a material it can very closely mimic wood. An elegant traditional appearance can be just as easily achieved with bamboo flooring as a sleek modern one. Bamboo is versatile in grain, texture and stain colours, suitable for all tastes.
Like hardwood floors, bamboo flooring can be sanded down and resealed. This is an important factor, as bamboo is susceptible to scratching and general wear and tear. Like other natural materials, it therefore does require a little extra love every now and then. All-in-all though bamboo flooring is a maintenance eco-friendly flooring option and cleaning is much the same as conventional flooring.
We often associate concrete with the unnatural, but essentially it is an all-natural floor. Concrete is made of rocks, clay, sand and a few other naturally-occurring materials. These materials make it not just easy to source but easy to recycle too. It can be reused as an aggregate in new concrete, or as a base for roads, parking lots, and driveways.
Concrete isn’t an eco-friendly flooring option for utility areas alone though. The many virtues of concrete as a decorative flooring material may come as a surprise, but it can be a stylish material for home interiors. With little cost, concrete offers homeowners loads of design flexibility. Concrete flooring can be polished, etched, or stained!
If carpets are more your style, be careful how they are manufactured and with what. Many are produced from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. But there are beautiful natural-material carpets to serve your eco-friendly flooring needs. Look for wall-to-wall carpets made from:
- jute, a naturally warm brown and super soft natural fibre;
- seagrass, one of the most durable and tear-resistant carpets that also repels dust;
- coir, made from fibres extracted from the coconut shell husk that maintains warmth and cancels out noise.
ALSO SEE 5 EASY WAYS TO UPDATE YOUR HOME
Written by Joelle Davidson & Cover image by Sidekix Media on unsplash.com.