Wooden floors have beautiful finishes. They are durable and easy to clean and maintain. But if you’re environmentally savvy, there is always the concern that the type of flooring you choose will negatively impact the environment. But what if there was a way to have beautiful wooden floors in your home without causing undue harm to the environment? Here are some eco-friendly wooden flooring solutions for your home that you might not have considered.
Light as it is, bamboo is a hard material and can withstand more use than your traditional hardwood floors, even though it looks just like it. It is easy to maintain and is a natural resistant to mildew, water, and insects. Bamboo is renewable. It is harvested from natural vegetation and takes only three to five years to mature. Interestingly, cutting it improves its growing conditions.
Bamboo is available in a wide array of colors and will fit in any color scheme or design. Its wide range of colors and varied grains allows for customization thus giving it an edge over the traditional flooring options. It is formaldehyde-free, non-toxic and will not emit any harmful VOCs to the environment.
Perhaps you are only used to seeing cork on wine bottles and sometimes on walls. But it has recently entered the flooring space. Cork is fire retardant, has microbial properties enabling it to reduce allergens in the house, is easy to maintain and repels insects naturally. It is available in a variety of paints and stains and can fit into any design or color scheme.
We harvest cork is from barks of the cork oak tree that grows in the Mediterranean forest. The tree doesn’t have to be cut down to harvest them. These barks usually grow back after three years making it an ideal renewable source.
Palmwood is a very sustainable resource. Unlike other trees, coconut trees take only 5 to 6 years to mature. Furthermore, palm flooring comes from coconut palms that have surpassed their fruit-bearing years. Instead of dumping or burning them, they are picked by manufacturers and used to make flooring products.
Palmwood comes in a unique clean design. The trees only grow upwards and have no branches. You will, therefore, not find any knots in the wood. They may come from the softer inner core or the outer hardwood thus allowing for different grades. They vary in grain, color, and shades.
4. Hardwood floors
If you are adamant that you can only go for the traditional hardwood flooring, there may be hope for you still. Although hardwood floors are not necessarily eco-friendly for obvious reasons, there are still options that may be considered eco-friendly in a sense. They include reclaimed wood, salvaged wood, and FSC-Certified wood plantations.
Reclaimed wood does not come from trees directly. It re-uses wood from trees that people cut down a long time ago. They come from dismantled houses, military structures, boxcars, old warehouses and logs that sank in the river on their way to the mill. Reclaimed wood is usually expensive owing to the extensive labor required to retrieve, clean and re-mill them if need be. But price aside, it is an ideal eco-friendly option.
Reclaimed wood is recycled wood that would have otherwise been left alone to rot. It eliminates the need to cut more trees thus helping to conserve the environment. Reclaiming wood assists in perpetuating the reduce-reuse-recycle formula, which is a very crucial component of the sustainability equation.
Some trees are destined for the waste stream one way or another. Some of them suffer from storm damage, disease, old age, or may just be standing in the way of development. Since their fate is inevitable in that sense, it is only sensible that we salvage them and put them to good use. They will still make good planks anyway.
FSC-Certified tree plantations
Tree plantations assist in conserving natural forests by eliminating the need for harvesting wood from trees that grow naturally. As long as they don’t replace the natural forests, this is an excellent way of conserving the environment.
A while back, people would only associate the term eco-friendly with words such as boring, bland, etc. Thanks to technology advancements, however, you no longer have to forego style to bring eco-friendly wood flooring to your home. You can still mimic the quality finishes of hardwood flooring without cutting down a tree.
This guest post is written by Bruce MacDonald of MacDonald Hardwoods, a hardwood flooring store in Denver, Colorado - offering a variety of services for flooring needs such as hardwood flooring installation, cleaning and a huge selection of hardwood types including bamboo, white oak, hickory, maple and many types of exotic hardwood flooring.