For those wanting to have a smaller footprint or want to explore greener options, it is important to know about Eco-friendly flooring options. This ensures that your home is as earth-friendly as possible, which provides health benefits as well. And with more and more people becoming aware of their footprint, flooring is always a consideration in being more green.
Here are a few of the must-know Eco-friendly flooring options and why to choose them.
What Does Eco-Friendly Mean?
According to a Home Guide on SF Gate:
Making a truly Eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic.
This style of living includes everything from ingredients for food to the type of flooring in your home.
Some of the requirements include:
- Recycling materials
- Using practices that do not put a strain on natural resources (conservation)
- Safe chemicals
Basically, it helps promote greener living. This, in turn, helps prevent water, air, and noise pollution as well as conserves energy.
Some people live an Eco-friendly lifestyle as much as possible. They are aware of their carbon footprint, they conserve water and power, they recycle, drive less, have energy efficient homes and well, you get the picture.
While you may not be at that level, if you are redoing your home’s carpet, building a new home, or remodeling the entire house – why not start with Eco-friendly flooring?
In order to have Eco-friendly flooring in your home, there are a few components to look for:
- Toxicity to Environment
- Ability to Be Renewed
- Life Cycle
- Ability to Be Recycled
- Responsible Manufacturer
- Transport Distance
All of these factors make up the whole of what Eco-friendly flooring is – as well as other home goods.
Some of the Earth-friendly types of flooring are what you might normally buy. From carpet and hardwoods to tile and laminate – there are plenty of options in a safer and more sustainable product.
This doesn’t mean you have to trade quality for sustainability either. Many flooring manufacturers offer high-quality products that are equally durable and eye-pleasing. One example is from Shaw. They adhere to the rule that they are an environmentally responsible company.
What Are VOCs?
Some are short-term health problems which others may cause long-term effects.
There are many symptoms indicative of VOCs. A few include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and skin reactions.
As far as the health effects, they can cause things such as damage to the organs (liver, kidney, and central nervous system), headaches, upper respiratory issues, and some are even suspected in causing cancer.
While you may not be able to eliminate all of the Volatile Organic Compounds in your life, you can certainly minimize them.
Making sure the flooring you buy is sustainable help contribute to a more earth-friendly environment. Some even have what is called “cradle to the grave” sustainability.
The things to be on the lookout for in finding sustainable flooring include:
- Is it a recycled, reclaimed, easily renewable resource?
- Is it from a sustainably managed forest?
- What about manufacturing practices?
- Does its packaging adhere to the overall sustainability of a product?
Think of sustainable as something that can easily be replaced without harm. This means it won’t harm the environment. Some woods come from a forest that is depleted irresponsibly. This causes harm to the forest, its inhabitants, and can lead to problems such as mudslides.
Remember in the past (and some carpets now) how carpet would have that certain “new carpet” smell? While some love it because it brings to mind a “new” feeling, this is actually not a component that is a good thing. This can actually be the sign of the carpeting containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
According to HGTV:
The new carpet odor that people usually smell is a VOC called 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH), which is a byproduct of the latex binder used to secure the “tufted” fibers to the backing. 4-PCH can linger after installation for up to a week, exposing the homeowner to the pungent odor.
A carpet is a flooring option that can be Eco-friendly. It is important to choose carpeting that has been tested by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Indoor Air Quality testing program. You’ll find an icon that has a small green colored house with “CRI” inside of it. This means that you can verify that it has not only been tested to be eco-friendly but it passed low emissions standards.
Along with specific brands of Eco-friendly carpet, you can also make natural choices like wool and P.E.T. Berber carpet. Anything natural works well like sisal and cotton, along with the aforementioned wool and P.E.T. Berber carpet.
According to DIY:
Carpet should include a low-emission level (indicated by a Carpet and Rug Institute tag). Select carpet that’s free of chemicals with a low nap. Avoid installation in damp areas (bath and kitchen). Install with tack strips, rather than adhesive, and make sure a moisture barrier is in place before the carpet is installed.
Also, make sure to choose a carpet with a natural fiber backing. This ensures that there are less toxic adhesives in your home.
Tile flooring is another option that has Eco-friendly options. There are certain things to find out about the tile you want in order to see if it is a green option. For instance, does the manufacturer use green business practices? Is the tile made with sustainable materials? Or, are the materials abundant? Is the tile made with recyclable materials? If so, how much is the percentage?
The great thing is that like all forms of tile, the Eco-friendly tile will last for years. The difference in it and other non-green flooring is that it won’t give off toxic fumes (known as outgassing) or toxic chemicals.
Look for those that are recycled glass or ceramic tiles. These tiles made from 60% recycled materials also offers ease of maintenance with simple, water-based cleaning materials. In terms of the post-installation built environment and manufacturing, there is a more minimal impact on the environment.
Back a few years ago, laminate flooring wasn’t so “green” at all. But like all things, it has evolved to be a product with earth-friendly options. When finding Eco-friendly laminate, these are made from locally sourced wood.
What this means is that a forest wasn’t leveled to make the product. Instead, the sustainably managed forests have a protected harvesting process.
There are plenty of responsible companies that make laminate that is safer, greener, and beautiful. One such company is Mannington. Their laminate flooring is created with 70 percent post-industrial recycled components.
An area to take note of us finding laminate flooring that does not have to be installed with adhesives or glue.
For Eco-friendly hardwood, there is sustainable wood, which means it is legally sourced. The wood for hardwood floors should have the seal of the U.S. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This means the forests were overseen in its operations. It doesn’t come from clearcutting, has a zero impact on climate change, and has a minimum of toxic chemicals.
There are a few types of hardwood that fall under the Eco-friendly umbrella. These are reclaimed wood and more.
For instance, cork flooring is an environmentally friendly type of product. It is durable, yet soft beneath your feet. It’s also fire-resistant and hypoallergenic.
Hardwood is a fine choice for flooring because it looks nice, is resistant to water, easy to clean, and helps with resale value. But for the best option in eliminating some of the VOCs is to use pre-sealed hardwood, or hardwood sealed with water-based polyurethane. Another thing to keep in mind is that hardwood floors are great for those who suffer from allergies.
If you’re looking for the most sustainable wood, oak is the one to choose. They aren’t susceptible to deforestation since the U.S. Forest Management and Protection programs ensure that they are replanted.
Non-Toxic Vinyl Flooring
A study was done in 2015 showing that five home improvement stories were selling vinyl flooring with over half containing phthalates. Phthalates have shown a correlation to serious health issues in both humans and animals. Those big box stores have made a change but the point is, there have always been better options.
The good news is that there are brands that have never tested positive for phthalates like Armstrong or Designer’s Image.
You can definitely find non-toxic vinyl flooring, which is the best alternative for a safer and healthier environment for your family and pets.
For a choice that is safe for your family, Greenwood Flooring offers hardwood flooring that is perfect for going green.
According to their site:
Greenwood Flooring International is proud to offer collections of high-quality hardwood flooring options for the custom home builder. All of our products are no-VOC, no added urea formaldehyde and use healthy, Eco-friendly glues and finishes. Most products are FloorScore® certified and will help contribute to LEED® for home credits.
These flooring choices come in a plethora of options. For example, French Oak Durango in herringbone patterns, White Oak Shadow, Hickory Porter, and more.
Linoleum is a choice that is clinically non-toxic. Linoleum also is hypoallergenic, organic, and biodegradable. And it is sustainable due to its creation from a mixture of pine resin, linseed oil, and sawdust. Linoleum is widely accessible and highly renewable, water resistant and fire retardant.
Express Flooring Provides Eco-Friendly Flooring
Whether building a new home, updating your look, or going green – Express Flooring is your Eco-friendly flooring provider in Arizona. Even if you are selling your home, a green home raises its value.
Express Flooring prides itself on delivering the best in-home sales shopping experience. We serve all metro areas of Phoenix and Tucson. Express Flooring is an Arizona locally owned and operated flooring company.
Not only do we bring the floor to you, but our designers also help you find the perfect look and product for your needs – focusing on aesthetic value, budget, and what fits in with your lifestyle. We only use licensed contractors and move your furniture for you during installation so that your home is put back the way it was before you changed the flooring.
No matter what your needs, we have a flooring product that fits. And our discounts and specials ensure that you have room in your budget for new flooring.
If you’re ready to make the first step in a greener living space, contact us for a free estimate so we can show you how we can help.