ECO Friendly Floors

When shopping for eco-friendly flooring, you can choose from a wide variety of sustainable options from hardwood that is cut from carefully managed forests, to fast-growing renewable bamboo or cork, to reclaimed wood from aging structures or carpeting made from recycled materials or anything else you want to walk on.

Flooring is one of the most important elements of any room, so when you’re choosing new wood, tile, carpet or other floor covering, consider your options carefully. Environmentally-friendly flooring is procured and manufactured in a responsible manner and is available in practically any material, color and style. Material pricing below is approximate. Installation is not included.

  • FSC-Certified Wood: When you purchase green wood flooring described as ‘FSC-Certified’, that means it has passed a rigorous certification process carried out by the Forest Stewardship Council. This organization ensures that timber suppliers work to protect habitat, prevent pollution, plant more trees than are harvested and avoid displacing native peoples or harming wildlife. When you purchase FSC-Certified wood, you don’t have to worry about the source of the flooring you’re installing in your home or business. FSC-Certified environmentally friendly flooring is available in many of the same types of wood as non-certified flooring including oak, maple and cherry.

PRICE

$5.00 – $14.00 sq/ft

  • Reclaimed Wood Flooring: Another environmentally friendly option for wood flooring is reclaimed wood. Flooring that is still in good condition may be salvaged after a renovation or demolition, but wood from other structures, including barn siding or even wine barrels, can also be used. Reclaimed wood flooring is typically kiln-dried, cleaned of metal debris like nails and scrubbed clean. This type of wood flooring tends to have a lot of character, infusing a sense of history into a space.

PRICE

$3.50 – $20.00 sq/ft

  • Cork:  Cork is relatively new to the flooring world. It is usually seen on walls or in your favorite bottle of wine, but it is great material for floors.  Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree commonly found in the forests of the Mediterranean. 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 durability allows for uses in any part of the house. Cork floors became popular when renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright chose cork flooring for many of his home designs. Some famous buildings where cork flooring was used are the First Congressional Church in Chicago and the old Toronto Stock Exchange and depending on the quality, a solid cork floor can last 20-80 + years.

PRICE

$4.75- $7.50 per sq/ft

  • Bamboo: Bamboo flooring is another wood like option that is gaining in popularity.  It is actually a grass that shares similar characteristics as hardwood.  It is durable, easy to maintain and is easy to install.  Bamboo is sustainable and made from natural vegetation that grows to maturity in three to five years, far less than the twenty years trees can take.  Bamboo, while usually very light, is available in many hues that will work in any setting or decor.  Its varied grains and wide array of colors give it an edge over traditional flooring by allowing for customization not often found elsewhere. Bamboo is an environmentally friendly choice for flooring because it’s easy to grow, requiring very little fertilizer or pesticides and highly renewable. This grass takes just 5 years to grow back to full height after it’s harvested, as opposed to the 50-150 years required by most hardwoods. Not only does bamboo flooring have a beautiful, distinctive striped look, it’s also durable and long-lasting.

PRICE

$4.50 – $8.50 sq/ft

  • Leather:  Leather is a surprising material that can be used as flooring.  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.  The soft warm feel under foot makes it perfect for bedrooms, closets and small areas with little foot traffic.  It is not a great material for bathrooms, kitchens or other moist areas of a home.  It is very durable and will wear well over time. Worn, scratched and aged leather develops a personality of its own and can be beautiful to look at for years to come.

PRICE

$15.00 – $50.00 sq/ft

  • Linoleum: If you’re seeking a budget-friendly tile alternative, but don’t want the negative environmental impact of conventional linoleum flooring, Marmoleum may be a good option. This floor covering is made from renewable materials like linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour and ground cork dust with burlap or canvas backing. Unlike vinyl linoleum, it does not off-gas toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When one thinks of linoleum flooring, vinyl tends to come to mind and yet the two are nowhere close to each other.  Vinyl is a synthetic made of chlorinated petrochemicals that are harmful.  Linoleum is created from a concoction of linseed oil, cork dust, tree resins, wood flour, pigments and ground limestone.   Like cork, it is fire retardant and water resistant.  Linoleum is not new to the market; it fell out of favor with the introduction of vinyl in the 1940’s. 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.

PRICE

$4.50 – $6.00 sq/ft

  • Glass Tiles:  Ever wonder what happens to the wine bottles and beer bottles that are shipped to the recycler?  They are converted into beautiful glass tiles. This renewable source is fast becoming a wonderful option for floors as well as bathroom and kitchen walls.  Glass has similar benefits of other eco-friendly materials. It is non-absorptive and won’t mildew or mold in damp environments.   It is easy to maintain and won’t stain.  Glass comes in a limitless array of colors, patterns and finishes suitable for most design schemes.   Unlike ceramic tiles, glass will reflect light rather than absorb it, adding that additional layer of light some rooms need.

PRICE

$12.00 – $45.00 sq/ft

  • Concrete:  Polished concrete is an unlikely sustainable material that is gaining in popularity.  Concrete is typically slab on grade and used as a sub flooring in some residential settings.  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. Concrete is extremely durable, easy to clean and never needs to be replaced.

PRICE

$3.00 – $30.00 sq/ft

  • Rubber:  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 great to walk on and water resistant.  It also comes in many color and pattern options.

PRICE

$2.50 – $10.00 sq/ft

  • Wool Carpet:  Carpet has long been a favorite go-to material for most homes. It is soft to walk on, comfortable to sit on and comes in a range of colors and patterns.  Unfortunately, carpet has typically been made using volatile organic compounds or toxins that are harmful to the environment and to our health.  There are eco-friendly options though.  Consider carpets made of wool.  Wool is a natural resource spun into a thread that can be dyed any color imaginable, and then be woven to create a carpet.  It is one of the first materials to be used as a floor covering, is very durable and can last centuries. In some families wool rugs have been passed down from generation to generation making them   family heirlooms.   Other natural materials used to make carpets or area rugs are sisal, jute and cotton.

PRICE

$5.00 – $10.00 sq/ft

PET Carpet: The most common recycled content carpet material is sourced from recycled plastic bottles, known as PET carpets. Nylon is also a common material recycled for use in carpets. The carpet industry is the largest recycler of these materials in the world. Carpet off gassing is a nasty source of indoor house pollution for two reasons. One occurs through the presence of harmful chemicals found in carpet materials. Purchase green label plus carpets. This label represents carpets hat does not off gas harmful chemicals and maintain healthy indoor air quality. The second source of pollution comes from pollutants on our shoes such as petrol chemical that end up trapped in our carpets. The solution to this problem is to provide ample space for shoes to release those pollutants outside the house or at an entryway that is a solid surface easily cleaned.

Carpets can be purchased as wall-to-wall, throw rugs or tiles. Throw rugs and tiles have the ability to be taken outside and cleaned. Most tile companies recycle old tiles into new products. Modular tiles carpets have been used commercially for a long time and are now becoming more prevalent in homes. Theses tiles are great because a tile can be pulled cleaned in a sink basin, dried and replaced.

Carpets come in all styles and all colors. There are essentially thousands and thousands of choices from shag, pile, tight loop, loose and Berber. Carpets are wonderful in bedrooms and office spaces. They should not be placed in high traffic areas as they do trap outside pollutants.

PRICE

$1.00 – $7.00 sq/ft

Lisbon Cork Flooring IPO Cork
Real Cork Flooring Wicanders Cork Flooring
Green Select Smartstrand Masland 100% Wool Carpet
Ashawa Bay Hardwood Floors supreme-bamboo-by-eco-world
Harding US Floors Manufacturer of Unique and Sustainable Floors
blue-by-oceanside-glass-tile Dal Tile & American Olean
Glass Recycled DMI Natural Rugs
Masland Rugs Columbia Floors
Premier Wood Flooring Inc. Hartco
Mannington Armstrong
Aacer Residential Flooring Avienda
Bruce Hardwood Award Hardwood Floors
BR-111