As the economy recovers, homeowners across the nation are investing in their homes, playing catch-up on home-improvement projects that were postponed earlier in the recession. Naturally, many of these projects are infused with eco-friendly elements as consumers are constantly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Green flooring has become increasingly popular and with more options available, homeowners are finding it easier to choose eco-friendly flooring that matches their personal taste and home decor.
When considering green flooring, here’s some expert advice from Donna Teagle, owner of Floor Coverings International servicing Wheaton, Naperville and surrounding areas, on how to make the best decision for your home:
Hardwood: Wood is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. Aside from its beauty, wood flooring is favorable because it can last hundreds of years, reducing replacement production impacts. Wood is also one of the only flooring options that doesn’t end up in a land fill, as much of it is recycled or used as a combustible fuel.
Bamboo & Cork: Flooring made with environmentally sustainable materials such as bamboo and cork can create a beautiful look in the home. Both of these materials are considered “green” because they are natural, self-replenishing resources. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant – a far more renewable resource than trees – that creates very hard, long-lasting floors. Cork, which is made from the bark of a tree, is typically used for its insulating properties and unique look.
Glass, stone and metal tiles can add a unique element to your bathroom or kitchen. Stone tiles are a natural product with a long lifespan, and they are great for wet areas. Limestone and tumbled slate can be used in the bathroom or any entry area where slip- resistance is necessary. Ceramic and porcelain are two popular materials and are both made from natural resources such as clay, sand and limestone. One hundred percent recycled glass tiles are long-lasting, durable and come in several different colors, styles and finishes. Recycled metal tiles are also available—they can add a versatile and textural design element to your kitchen, bathroom wall or floor. Some people feel the manufacturing process of tile – where the pieces are fired at extremely high temperatures – is harmful to the environment. The good news is that many manufacturers have recently taken steps to improve their kilning systems, therefore using less energy and emitting fewer toxins into the air.
Carpet: Recyclable carpeting is another environmentally-friendly flooring option. A variety of materials – including plastic, nylon, cotton, wool, or even second-hand carpet – are used to create soft, durable carpeting, in a number of colors and textures, that can be reclaimed by its manufacturer and recycled into renewed materials.
Linoleum is not only durable and biodegradable, but it’s comfortable, warm and quiet. Linoleum is low-tox and made from all natural ingredients. It is ideal for highly-functional areas like offices, playrooms and work out areas. Keep in mind that Linoleum is resilient to rolling furniture and equipment wheels!
Our Flooring Glossary and FAQ has even more information on environmentally friendly flooring.
For more green flooring choices, contact Floor Coverings International of Wheaton and Naperville at 630-653-6100. Or fill out our online form to schedule a FREE in-home design consultation to see how green flooring can enhance your home.