The flooring market is expanding, making room for more eco-friendly options. The first step in determining what flooring option is best for you is to look into all of your options. Green flooring is recyclable, contains a minimum percentage of recycled content and is made from a natural, sustainable or quickly renewable resource. Below is a list of green flooring options.
Cork, relatively new to flooring, is a natural, renewable, extremely inexpensive flooring. Cork is from the bark of Cork Oak Trees, commonly found in the Mediterranean. The trees are not cut down to harvest the cork; the bark grows back after being harvested. Cork flooring reduces allergens, repels insects and mold, and is fire retardant. The easy to maintain cork can be finished with paints or stains. Flooring can be expected to last up to 30 years. Average price: $1.50 – $4 per sq. foot.
Linoleum, a cost-effective flooring, is made from linseed oil, cork dust, tree resin, limestone, and wood flour. In addition to being fire retardant, linoleum is also water resistant. Linoleum is a perfect option for floors that will incur a lot of wear and tear. Average price: $2 – $5 per sq. foot.
Bamboo is similar in cost to linoleum, however, because it is imported from the Pacific Rim, a significant amount of pollution can be created during delivery. Bamboo has one of the fastest turnaround times for renewal, with a harvest cycle of no more than 5 years. Because some bamboo is made with formaldehyde, ask your installer about any negative impacts. Average price: $2 – $5 per sq. foot.
Glass Tiling is made from recycled wine and beer bottles. Because glass is great for damp environments – it will never mold or mildew – it’s commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens. Glass tiles reflect like, unlike ceramic, adding additional light to the room. While glass tiling is wonderful for our environment, it tends to run a little heavy on your wallet. Average price: $35 – $100 per sq. foot.
Wool Carpeting has been a long time favorite because of its wide range of design and comfortability. Wool is not only extremely long-lasting and durable, it is a natural resource. Wool can be spun into thread and dyed any color before being woven into the carpet. Average price: $3 – $13 per sq. foot.
Polyester Berber, also known as P.E.T. Berber, is made from recycled plastic. Polyester Berber is also available in many patterns and colors. While it is spill-resistant and durable, P.E.T. Berber can snag easily and has a rough texture. Average price: $3 – $13 per sq. foot.
Reclaimed hardwood is a term used to describe wood that has been recycled from old building materials or flooring. By using reclaimed hardwood, you are preventing the chopping down of living trees. Because older homes and buildings used types of wood that are now hard to find, you may be able to score big. However, be sure the reclaimed wood hasn’t been treated with toxic chemicals in the past. Average price: $5 – $30 per sq. foot.