If you could have one which would you choose: your dream house or a healthier planet?
In this day and age, we all know how delicate of a state our environment is in. When it comes to your home, it can feel like you’re torn between two passions: having a house you love and caring for the planet.
We have good news: you can choose both. It’s all about researching your options. In reality, there are plenty of ways to make your home more eco-friendly from the floor to the ceiling. For now, though, let’s start with the floor alone.
If you want to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum, try these eco-friendly flooring options.
Your Most Eco-Friendly Flooring Choices
Don’t want to feel guilty with every step you take around your house? Enjoy guilt-free floors with these choices.
Hardwood is an undeniable classic when it comes to flooring, but it also contributes to our deforestation problem. Well, at least most hardwood flooring does.
Bamboo is a staple for the sustainable community. While it offers a beautiful look, bamboo trees grow back at a rate of three to five feet per year. Instead of cutting down a tree that will take 20 years to regrow, bamboo flooring has a far lower impact on the environment.
You can also get bamboo flooring in a wide variety of colors depending on how you stain it. To stay green, though, choose a stain with lower VOCs.
Cork is a lesser-known option for flooring, but when it comes to the environment, it’s a slam dunk.
Cork comes from the bark of a specific tree. To harvest the cork, all a manufacturer needs to do is remove the bark. The tree can stay alive throughout the process. Over the course of about 8-14 years, that bark grows back.
Cork flooring comes with some other perks too. It retains warmth, so it doesn’t give bare feet a cold shock and it can keep your heating needs to a minimum.
Some homeowners hesitate with cork because they think it’s like walking on a cork board. They see how easy it is for cork boards to break up and worry that their floors will do the same. In reality, cork floors are made to be far more durable than cork in other products.
Natural Stone Tiles
One of the more conventional types of flooring that’s surprisingly green is natural stone tile. Considering that it comes from nature, stone tiles tend to require a less rigorous manufacturing process so they have fewer pollutant side effects.
Keep in mind, though, that not all stone tile is eco-friendly. You want to choose a stone that’s plentiful and is harvested in a sustainable way. Choose an option that’s locally sourced, too. This cuts down on the pollution from transporting the stone.
Remember when we said that you could do hardwood floors in a sustainable way? On top of bamboo, here’s another option: reclaimed wood.
Reclaimed wood can come from a wide variety of sources. Regardless of where it comes from, it can give you a unique look and all the appeal of hardwood without cutting down any trees.
Be careful with the wood you buy though. It’s important to make sure that it’s structurally sound and has no signs of rot or damage before installation. That’s part of the reason you need a professional to install it as well; they can make sure all the wood is suitable to use.
If you’re going for more of a modern, glossy look, glass flooring is a beautiful and responsible option.
Glass is one of those magical eco-friendly materials that environmentalists love. It’s easy to manufacture everywhere, and you can recycle it over and over again with minimal pollution.
Glass flooring comes in a wide range of styles and colors so you can customize it to fit your home. To be even more green, look for recycled glass and if you ever remove it, be sure to recycle it as well.
It’s best to find glass that is local so you can keep the transportation pollution to a minimum. You should also be sure to hire a professional for the installation, as it tends to be too difficult for a DIY job.
Sticking with the more modern styles, concrete floors are a popular choice today. Not all concrete floors are eco-friendly, but it comes down to the choices you make along the way and the type of concrete you choose.
Some homeowners even use their concrete subfloor and give it a nice polish. This eliminates the need for any true flooring material.
It’s important to consider how you’ll finish your concrete floor, though. Polished concrete is particularly easy on the environment. Painting or staining your floor is okay as long as you choose low-VOC products.
Say what you will about hardwood, tile, and other flooring options, but there’s something about carpet flooring that so many homeowners love. From an environmental standpoint, it retains heat well so you need less energy to keep the house warm in colder months.
An ideal material for eco-friendly carpet is wool. Wool is natural, it re-grows in a short period of time, and it’s harvested without hurting the sheep. If you can, look for a carpet that comes from a sheep farmer who uses responsible practices.
Keeping a Green Home for Any Style
Most people know the basics of how to make your home eco-friendly: invest in efficient windows, insulate well, and use low energy light bulbs to name a few. For a true reduction in your environmental footprint, though, you need to start with the construction process.
Whether you’re building a new home or you’re preparing for a remodel, keep the environment in your plans. These eco-friendly flooring options can fit any design style and any room in your house.
If you’re ready to start loving your new, greener floor today, contact us about carpeting or your other flooring choice.