There was a time when the term eco-friendly evoked images of bland, boring and blah materials. The trees are not cut down to harvest the bark, which will grow back every three years, making it an ideal renewable source.
It has anti-microbial properties that reduce allergens in the home, is fire retardant, easy to maintain and acts as a natural insect repellent too. Cork, like wood can be finished in a variety of paints and stains to suit any color scheme or design style.
Its varied grains and wide array of colors give it an edge over traditional flooring by allowing for customization not often found elsewhere. Linoleum is created from a concoction of linseed oil, cork dust, tree resins, wood flour, pigments and ground limestone.
As architects and designers began asking for it again, it reemerged with a vast array of bright vibrant colors and a new sealer to protect it from stains. It has a long shelf life and will hold up to a lot of wear and tear. This renewable source is fast becoming a wonderful option for floors as well as bathroom and kitchen walls.
Glass comes in a limitless array of colors, patterns and finishes suitable for most design schemes.
Polished concrete is an unlikely sustainable material that is gaining in popularity. If it is polished and tinted to the homeowners taste and style there is no need for traditional flooring to be put over it.
From creating a tiled effect with different colors to inlaying other materials such as glass the design possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, carpet has typically been made using volatile organic compounds or toxins that are harmful to the environment and to our health. Wool is a natural resource spun into a thread that can be dyed any color imaginable, and then be woven to create a carpet. Other natural materials used to make carpets or rugs are sisal, jute and cotton.
It is durable, spill resistant and comes in a variety of aesthetically pleasing colors and patterns. Rubber flooring made from recycled tires is usually found at the local gym or on the neighborhood playground.
It is slowly finding its way into our kitchens, sunrooms and bathrooms as a versatile, beautiful and lasting option. It is derived from the center-most part of the cowhide and is thicker than the leather pieces used for such things as belts, wallets and handbags. Worn, scratched and aged leather develops a personality of its own and can be beautiful to look at for years to come. If you have your heart set on traditional hardwood flooring, while not usually considered eco-friendly due deforestation concerns, it can still be an option.
Salvaged wood flooring can look beautiful in older homes or in a beach cottage. Luckily with today’s technology and a bit of imagination, eco-friendly flooring does not have to come at the expense of style.