How to Choose Floor Covering Alternatives That Are Green!

When trying to do your part to save the environment by going green, flooring may be one area that you don’t think about! But, with the rising demand for green products, flooring manufacturers are doing their part to!

Green flooring can help benefit the environment on a global level, but it can also be a great benefit on a personal level. Green flooring actually reduces the toxicity levels in your home and can help reduce the effects of illness like allergies and asthma!

There are now several types of flooring products that are very earth and environment friendly, but they are also beautiful. The most common types are wood, cork, concrete, natural linoleums, natural carpets and bamboo!

Wood is a natural flooring choice, but not all wood falls into the green category. Some woods are heavily treated with pesticides and many are taken from forests with no regard to the wildlife.

To make sure that your new wood floor meets green standards look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. The FSC requires that loggers and foresters meet 57 guidelines to protect the environment.

There are many different woods that carry the FSC certification. You can find Hickory, Maple, Oak, Cherry, Birch, Walnut and even some exotic woods like Teak.

Just remember when finishing your new green wood floor to use green finishes and stains. Using finishes and stains that are full of chemicals will just defeat the whole purpose of using a green wood!

You’re probably thinking that bamboo should have been included in with the other woods. But, believe it or not, bamboo isn’t a wood, it’s a grass!

Bamboo is a highly renewable source for both flooring and furniture. It grows very fast, can regenerate without the need for replanting and needs very little fertilizers and pesticides.

There’s no official certification method for bamboo. The best way to make sure it’s earth friendly is to purchase it from a reputable dealer that knows where the bamboo came from.

Manufacturers often use formaldehyde as a binder when processing bamboo. So, make sure to check for low levels of this chemical when purchasing. It’s not healthy in the first place, but can cause complications for people with allergies or breathing problems.

It may suprise you to know that cork can be used for flooring! We’re all use to cork boards that are soft enough for push pins, but it is a great choice for flooring.

Cork has several benefits, it serves as a natural way to absorb sounds and feels warm on bare feet. Another great advantage is that insects and mold don’t like cork, so it’s really beneficial to anyone with allergies!

Cork is made from bark taken from a cork tree. The main green benefit is that removing the bark doesn’t kill the tree! Within 7 to 10 years the tree will naturally renew the bark. When purchasing cork flooring watch for an all natural product that don’t have a PVC backing.

Concrete use to be mainly for porches, patios or used under carpeting. But, more and more homeowners are using concrete flooring especially with modern style homes.

The drawbacks of using concrete are that it’s very hard and cold on bare feet especially during the winter months. Walking on concrete for extended periods of time is also known to cause back and foot pain.

However, if you’re planning on using natural stone which is hard and cold anyway, concrete can be a good substitute! Concrete is fairly inexpensive and can be finished in a variety of ways.

It’s easily painted and stained with products made for concrete. And, it can also be stamped with any pattern and scored to look like stones or tiles!

Green carpeting includes natural materials such as sea grass, sisal, jute, wool and even coconut husks! It can also be made from any kind of recycled materials.

Regular carpeting contains high amounts of chemicals such as stain resistors. Green carpets are naturally stain resistant and contain low amounts of chemicals. Just remember to check and make sure that the backing is “green” to and to use green padding products.

Vinyl flooring can emit harmful air pollutants during production, a green alternative is linoleum. Linoleum comes in a variety of natural materials such as limestone, tree rosin, cork, linseed and jute.

The use of these natural materials makes linoleum biodegradable and not toxic, unlike vinyl flooring. Linoleum will also provide you with many years of use. And, it comes in a wide variety of colors and designs.