One of the biggest trends we flooring contractors are seeing in the world of home finishing is the move toward more environmentally friendly, modern flooring options. These aren’t just options that don’t contribute to mass deforestation or rely on the fossil fuels in production, but also options that can be more sustainable, reusable, and durable.
It is these three qualities that can prevent you from having to replace your flooring more often, which will put more demand on resources, result in more waste and force you to spend more money.
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint with a more eco-friendly home, your floors are definitely a great place to start.
Keep reading for our list of the best eco-friendly flooring options for your modern home.
Flooring Contractors Guide to Eco-Friendly Flooring Options
1. Cork Flooring
We’ve written a lot about cork flooring and one of the first things we mention is that it is incredibly environmentally friendly. Made from the bark of cork trees, which can be harvested without hurting the tree itself, cork flooring is actually a by-product of the wine cork production industry. This means that the flooring is made from what otherwise might be viewed as waste.
The cork shavings are then pressed into planks and presto–you’ve got warm, inviting, beautiful and incredibly durable cork flooring. In fact, cork flooring can last upwards of 50 years and still look amazing.
In our decades as installing floors, we’ve had to explain countless times that linoleum is not vinyl. Vinyl is made from petrochemicals (i.e. that fossil fuel) and its collection, production and disposal is harmful to the environment. Linoleum, on the other hand, is made from an eco-friendly mix of linseed oil, tree resins, cork dust, pigments, wood flour and some ground limestone.
Limestone is fire-retardant and unlike the linoleum of the 1940s, the modern linoleum is available in a breathtaking range of designs and colours. New sealing techniques also mean it is protected from stains and can last for decades.
3. Reclaimed Hardwood
While traditional pure hardwood flooring raises eco-conscious red flags since it contributes to deforestation, people who want that classic, hardwood look have a few, more sustainable options.
The first is using reclaimed hardwood flooring, which is hardwood salvaged from trees felled a long time ago.
The second is to purchase wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC certified wood). This designation means that the wood has been sourced with a dedication to the highest environmental and social standards.
4. Glass Tiles
Glass tiles are made from recycled beer and wine bottles. These tiles are shimmery and stunning and can be a gorgeous flooring option for lower traffic areas, like guest bathrooms. You can also use glass tiles to accent ceramic or porcelain tiling with a stunning mosaic design.
Glass tile is not just for floors, either. Our flooring contractors regularly install glass tile on kitchen backsplashes and bathroom showers or tub surrounds.
5. Porcelain and Ceramic Tile
There’s a lot to love about porcelain and ceramic tile, and their eco-friendly composition is just one of them. Made from a natural source, clay, these tile types are also durable, so you won’t have to replace them often.
What’s more porcelain and ceramic can be cleaned with just warm water, so there’s no harsh chemicals being put into the environment. It gets even better: most tiles are made in close-loop facilities, so they can reuse water and materials, therefore putting less burden on the environment.
If you’re interested in an eco-conscious flooring option, these options are your best bets. Just keep in mind that while all these choices are eco-smart, they may or may not be the best option for your particular space. Reclaimed hardwood, for instance, can be a great choice for a living room, but due to its higher water permeability, isn’t the best bet for areas exposed to a lot of moisture, like mudrooms or bathrooms.
Contact our team of expert flooring specialists for a free consultation and we’ll answer any of your questions.