Everything about our way of living should be eco-friendly and sustainable in an attempt to preserve our limited natural resources. If your house, your car, or even your waste management is not “green”, then you should definitely reconsider. In terms of home building though, do we have a lot of options? Are these alternatives also available in terms of flooring? Are sustainable flooring options widely available? What are the widely used sustainable materials these days?
What is Sustainable Flooring?
Simply put, sustainable flooring involves using eco-friendly solutions that provide materials for flooring. The aim is to reduce demands on ecosystems during its life-cycle. This includes harvest, production, use and disposal. Sustainable flooring has been found to create safer and healthier buildings. In addition, it also guarantees a future for traditional producers of renewable resources that many communities depend on. In terms of flooring, the eco-friendly part are mostly the materials.
You can find cork on walls or in your favorite bottle of wine, but it is definitely great material for floors. Manufacturers usually harvest it from the bark of the cork oak tree commonly found in the forests of the Mediterranean. The trees are not cut down to harvest the bark, which will grow back every three years, making it an ideal renewable source.
Bamboo is actually a grass that shares similar characteristics when compared to hardwood. It is durable, easy to maintain and is easy to install. They say that bamboo is very sustainable because it is made from natural vegetation that grows to maturity in three to five years. This time frame is also better compared to the time it takes for trees to regrow.
Polished concrete is an unlikely sustainable material that is gaining in popularity these days. Concrete is typically slab on grade and used as a sub flooring in some residential settings. If you decide to polish and tint it to your taste and style, traditional flooring will not be necessary anymore. From creating a tiled effect with different colors to inlaying other materials such as glass the design possibilities are endless. Concrete is extremely durable, easy to clean, and lasts long.
Flooring stores acquire linoleum from dried and milled flax seeds mixed with other plant material. Pine resins, wood flour, and ground cork, are some of these plant materials. All these completely natural materials come from renewable sources and are 100% biodegradable too.
You can find rubber flooring made from recycled tires at the local gym or on the neighborhood playground. However, rubber is slowly finding its way into our kitchens, sunrooms and bathrooms as a versatile, beautiful and lasting option. It is great to walk on and it is also water resistant.