In honor of Earth Week 2012, we are dedicating a number of this week’s blog posts to actions that can be taken by homeowners in an effort to make our homes more environmentally sustainable.
If your floors have seen better days and you are thinking that it may be time to upgrade them, why not look into using environmentally friendly materials? Here are our top three suggestions for earth-friendly flooring choices for your next home improvement project.
3. Certified Bamboo – Bamboo flooring can give you the look and benefits of hardwood floors without cutting down virgin trees. Bamboo is actually a sturdy grass that grows back in 3-7 years and can therefore be considered more of a renewable resource than trees which can take decades to grow.
However, the bamboo industry is highly unregulated and with demand being so high, industry practices may not be as environmentally sound as we would like them to be. In some cases, forests are being cleared to make room for bamboo plantations and the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers on the plantations is unclear. If you choose to use bamboo flooring, look for products that are certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
2. Cork – Cork flooring has many of the same benefits of wood floors with the addition of comfort and warmth underfoot. The bark of cork oak trees is hand-harvested approximately every ten years from mature trees in carefully managed forests. Since only the bark is taken, the trees are not cut down, making cork one of the most renewable flooring options available.
1. Wood – the most earth friendly way to upgrade the flooring in your home may be not to change it at all! You can refinish your existing hardwood floors yourself or hire a professional to restore your floors back to their natural beauty using non-toxic finishes.
If refinishing your hardwood flooring isn’t an option, you could always source out reclaimed or salvaged wood and have it installed. This is a great way to add character and interest while still maintaining the tradition of hardwood and making environmentally sustainable choices.
Changing the flooring in your house can be a small or large undertaking, depending on the scope of the project. Whatever flooring you choose, it is bound to make a statement about you and your home. This is a great opportunity for you to make educated decisions and choose environmentally friendly floors and finishes for your house.
If you enjoyed reading this blog post, you may also be interested in reading our recent how-to blog Refinishing Your Hardwood Floors.