Earth-friendly floors

Sus­tain­able op­tions abound for to­day’s home­own­ers.

Cabin Living - - Flooring Guide -

If you’d like to make your home eco-con­scious, you can start from the bot­tom up by choos­ing a green floor­ing ma­te­rial. From cork to linoleum, tile to wool car­pet­ing to wood, to­day’s floor­ing choices in­clude a range of sus­tain­able op­tions.

Pop the Cork

Cork har­vested from the bark of the Cork Oak tree is a re­new­able re­source. Har­vest­ing the bark does not harm the trees, which can live for hun­dreds of years. Nat­u­rally hy­poal­ler­genic and fire-re­tar­dant, cork in­su­lates, cre­at­ing a floor­ing that feels warm to the touch and ab­sorbs sound.

Avail­able in planks and sheets topped with cork ve­neer or tiles of solid cork, cork floor­ing can be fin­ished in a va­ri­ety of col­ors to suit your home’s style per­fectly. You’ll find cork floors that are dark and sleek, peb­bly and or­ganic or grained sim­i­lar to wood. Cork used for floor­ing will be sealed to help it re­sist stain­ing and scratch­ing.

A durable floor­ing, cork re­quires the same ba­sic main­te­nance as hard­wood floor­ing. Weekly dust­ing or vac­u­um­ing will keep it free from de­bris that might scratch the floor’s sealed sur­face. Some cork sealants may need to be reap­plied after sev­eral years. Cork floor­ing is in the same price range as ce­ramic tile and hard­wood, but costs less than stone tile.

Trash to Tile

Us­ing re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als to form new floor­ing boosts tiles’ po­si­tion as an eco-friendly choice. Sup­pli­ers may use in­dus­trial byprod­ucts, like gran­ite dust, or may crush cast-off porce­lain toi­lets and tubs to use as raw ma­te­rial for new tiles.

Tile is ex­cep­tion­ally long-last­ing, be­cause it’s sealed to re­sist mois­ture and stain­ing. A durable prod­uct is al­ways a greener choice, since it’s less likely to be­come dam­aged and re­quire re­plac­ing. Hy­poal­ler­genic and easy-to-clean, sin­gle tiles can be re­placed if dam­age does oc­cur. Tile can also be used in ar­eas of the home where con­tact with wa­ter is in­evitable—such as the kitchen,

bath­rooms, laun­dry and mud­room.

By choos­ing a clas­sic tile style, you’ll cre­ate a floor that re­mains good­look­ing for years to come. Still, some home­own­ers might be in­ter­ested in to­day’s trends in tile. New tile styles mimic the look of wood and stone. A pref­er­ence for larger tiles means fewer grout lines to clean. The avail­able range of col­ors and pat­terns makes floor­ing op­tions almost lim­it­less.

Tile can be one of the most af­ford­able green floor­ing op­tions, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing its long life­span.

Plant-Based Floor­ing

The resur­gence of linoleum makes good en­vi­ron­men­tal sense. Manu- fac­tured from rosin tapped from pine trees, wood flour, lin­seed oil from flax seeds, lime­stone and ecofriendly pig­ments, linoleum uses a mix of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als lay­ered onto a jute back­ing to cre­ate a sus­tain­able floor cov­er­ing.

Un­like the vinyl floor­ing that re­placed linoleum in pop­u­lar­ity decades ago, linoleum is long-last­ing; hold­ing up to 20 to 40 years of use. Avail­able in sheets or tiles, col­ored linoleum can be in­stalled in clas­sic checker­board, geo­met­ric or curvi­lin­ear pat­terns.

Linoleum’s top layer pro­tects the floor­ing from dirt, scuffs and scratches. Sweep­ing or damp-mop- ping with a mild de­ter­gent will keep the floor clean. Be­cause the color in linoleum runs through­out the prod­uct, any scratches that might oc­cur can be buffed out and the floor­ing then re-sealed.

The cost of linoleum is com­pa­ra­ble to high-end vinyl floor­ing, but linoleum can of­fer a much longer life­span when prop­erly main­tained.

Won­der­ful Wool

Un­like con­ven­tional car­pet­ing that uses man-made (of­ten petroleum­based) ma­te­ri­als, wool car­pet­ing is nat­u­rally and rapidly re­new­able and biodegrad­able. A fiber used for cen­turies in the mak­ing of rugs, wool

can be used to cre­ate myr­iad styles, col­ors and pat­terns of car­pet­ing.

Durable and static-resistant, wool car­pet­ing adds to home safety, be­cause its high mois­ture con­tent makes it dif­fi­cult to ig­nite. It’s non-al­ler­genic, de­ters growth of bac­te­ria, stain-resistant and emits no off-gassing. Be­cause wool fibers are scaly, soil is held high in the car­pet pile for easy re­moval when vac­u­um­ing. It’s im­por­tant to vac­uum wool car­pet weekly and to promptly clean up any spills.

Wool car­pet­ing is ex­pen­sive com­pared to other floor­ing ma­te­ri­als, but its life­span is much longer than syn­thetic car­pet­ing—a plus for both your wal­let and the earth.

The Orig­i­nal Green Floor­ing

“Wood is re­new­able, re­cy­clable, biodegrad­able and usu­ally or­gan­i­cally grown,” says David Wald­man of Ver­mont Hard­woods. As wood is grown, the trees pro­tect wildlife habi­tats, clean the air and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for recre­ation and en­joy­ment.

Wood floor­ing is a clas­sic and pro­vides unique beauty. To make it even more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, choose to have the wood treated with a low-VOC, earth-safe fin­ish. With proper main­te­nance, wood floors can last for decades, mak­ing them a sound choice for sus­tain­abil­ity.

Reg­u­lar sweep­ing, vac­u­um­ing or damp-mop­ping are rec­om­mended for keep­ing wood floors clean and free from grit that can scratch or wear away fin­ishes. The Na­tional Wood Floor­ing As­so­ci­a­tion cau­tions against us­ing any type of cleaner de­signed for vinyl floors on wood floor­ing. You can avoid scratches on your wood floor by us­ing throw rugs near doors or area rugs in liv­ing spa­ces. Plac­ing felt pads un­der your fur­ni­ture legs will help pre­vent scratches.

Cost for wood floor­ing will vary widely based on wood species and in­stal­la­tion costs in your area.

OP­PO­SITE: Cork plank floor­ing cre­ates a sub­tle or­ganic pat­tern in this liv­ing room. re­source. RIGHT: A field of hexag­o­nal floor tiles is high­lighted with a

dark bor­der in this lux­u­ri­ous bath.

ABOVE: Durable and warm un­der­foot, wool car­pet­ing is made from a read­ily re­new­able

OP­PO­SITE: An eco-friendly choice, yel­low and white linoleum tiles set in a clas­sic checker­board pat­tern give this kitchen a cheer­ful dis­po­si­tion. LEFT: Hard­wood floor­ing from sus­tain­ably har­vested trees is a green op­tion that also of­fers time­less beauty.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.