No peek­ing

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

This story started at my kitchen ta­ble, over a cup of cof­fee with my el­dest brother, Norm Grignon, cer­ti­fied floor­ing in­staller by pro­fes­sion; mu­si­cian and coun­sel­lor to men­tally chal­lenged adults by pas­sion.

“When you de­cide what you want to do with your floors, let me know and we’ll get at ’er,” he promised. Know­ing my propen­sity for pig­gy­back­ing reno projects with writ­ing prof­its, he added: “If you de­cide to do a story, I’ll get you the back­ground on the lat­est op­tions. You wouldn’t be­lieve the en­vi­ron­men­tally safer stuff out there.”

I’m not talk­ing about your reg­u­lar hard­wood, al­though it is beau­ti­ful. From leather to lin­seed, floor­ing op­tions now al­low en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists some­thing solid and stylish to stand on while stick­ing to what they stand for.

Home­own­ers’ green con­sumerism even­tu­ally leads them to dis­cover nat­u­rally re­new­able re­sources, in­clud­ing cork and bam­boo and tra­di­tional hard­woods such as oak and maple, har­vested from re­spon­si­bly man­aged forests.

Con­sumers are now less likely to sim­ply walk into the lo­cal floor­ing store and be sold PVC vinyl floor­ing or car­pet that will end up off-gassing in their home.

Here’s a closer look at some of those en­vi­rofriendlier floor­ing op­tions:

Nor is any­thing likely to harm it once it be­comes your floor­ing. Bam­boo is 33 per cent more den­tre­sis­tant than white oak. Need some­thing stronger still? Con­sider strand bam­boo, a high-den­sity floor­ing made by fus­ing bam­boo fi­bres un­der ex­treme pres­sure. It’s 100 per cent harder and more dent-re­sis­tant than oak.

It’s ideal for high-traf­fic ar­eas such as hall­ways and foy­ers.

And be­cause bam­boo re­sists ex­pan­sion or con­trac­tion, it’s a good an­ti­dote to hu­mid base­ments.

Above: Floor­ing choices are be­com­ing ex­otic, start­ing with leather, which of­fers a whole new set of tex­tures un­der­foot, while not emit­ting any volatile com­pounds. Top right: Cork in­lays in the floor of the fin­ished base­ment are eco-friendly and colour­ful. Bot­tom: Cork is in­laid into this open

kitchen, pro­vid­ing soft cush­ion­ing.

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