A few years ago the expression eco-friendly conjured up images of tasteless, dull and “blah” materials. Luckily, that is not the case today. As more and more designers are opting for eco-friendly materials for their environmentally savvy customers, manufacturers have stepped up and given the design world many stunning choices to choose from. We have collected a guide of the most admired eco-flooring solutions: some are innovative, some are old and some will make you think.
A relatively new thing for the flooring world is cork. It is frequently seen on walls or in your preferred bottle of wine, but it is a wonderful material for floors. It is anti-microbial which helps to decrease allergens in the home. Cork is also fire retardant, maintenance free, and acts as a natural insect repellent too. It can be finished in a selection of paints and stains to go with any color scheme or design style. Its resilience allows for use in any part of the house. A good quality cork can last between 10-30 years. When properly sealed, it can make a nice warm option on bathroom floors for your bare feet.
Another wood-like option gaining fame is bamboo. Bamboo is in fact a grass that shares similar qualities with hardwood. It is sturdy, trouble-free to maintain and easy to install. Bamboo is long-lasting and is made from natural vegetation that matures in three to five years. Bamboo is light in weight, and available in different types that will work in any surrounding or decor. Its diverse grains and wide selection of colors give it an edge over conventional flooring, allowing for customization not often found elsewhere.
Linoleum is made from a mixture of cork dust, pigments, tree resins, linseed oil, wood flour, and ground limestone. Like cork, it reduces flammability and is water resistant. Linoleum fell out of favor in the 1940s. As designers began asking for it again, it came back into fashion with an immense collection of dazzling, exciting colors and a new sealer to guard it from stains. It has an extensive shelf life and can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
4. Glass Tiles
Have you ever wondered what happens to the beer and wine bottles that are shipped off to be recycled? They are transformed into stunning glass tiles. This renewable source is rapidly becoming a fantastic alternative for floors as well as bathroom and kitchen walls. Glass has similar benefits to other eco-friendly materials. It is simple to maintain and won’t discolor. Glass comes in an unlimited array of colors, patterns and finishes appropriate for most design formats. Glass will replicate light rather than absorb it, adding that extra layer of light some rooms require.
Refined concrete is an unlikely sustainable material that is gaining in reputation. Concrete is usually slab on grade and used as a sub flooring in some housing settings. However, if it is refined and tinted to the homeowners taste and style there is no need for conventional flooring to be put over it. Concrete is tremendously tough, easy to maintain and never needs to be substituted.
6. Wool Carpet
For a long time a preferred material for homes has been the carpet. It is soft to walk on, comfortable to sit on and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Regrettably, carpet has normally been made using unstable organic compounds or pollutants that are dangerous to the environment and to our wellbeing. There are eco-friendly alternatives available in the form of wool carpets. Wool is a natural fiber turned into a thread that can be dyed any color conceivable, and can then be woven to make a carpet. It is one of the primary materials used as a floor cover, is very long-lasting and can even last centuries.
7. P.E.T Berber Carpet
Another carpet which can be considered is Polyester (P.E.T) Berber. It is manufactured from recycled plastic bottles, and has the least impact on the atmosphere. There are numerous benefits to this recycled material. It is long-lasting, spill-resistant and comes in a wide range of aesthetically enjoyable colors and patterns. It typically has a flecked appearance making it suitable to most color schemes. It’s also a very cheap material.
Rubber flooring made from recycled tires is frequently found at the local gym or on the area playgrounds. It is gradually finding its way into our kitchens, sunrooms and bathrooms as an adaptable, stunning and long-term option. It is water resistant and comes in numerous color and pattern choices.
Leather is an astonishing material that can be used as flooring. The leather used for flooring is taken from the center-most part of the cowhide and is thicker than the leather portions used for making things such as belts, wallets and handbags. The warm feel under foot makes it ideal for bedrooms, closets and small areas. Though not a good fabric for bathrooms, kitchens or other damp areas of a home, it is very long-lasting and will wear well over time.
10. Reclaimed Hardwood
If you have your heart set on conventional hardwood flooring, while not typically considered eco-friendly due to deforestation concerns, it can still be a good choice.
Fortunately with today’s expertise, technology and a bit of imagination, environment-friendly flooring does not have to come at the cost of style.