Today’s market offers a welcome and growing range of green products. Many homeowners are on the search for non-toxic flooring choices, abandoning the formaldehyde drenched fibers of days past.
Where does one begin on the search for new, green flooring? First, decide what type of flooring works best for your space and make the commitment to go green.
Natural hardwoods work well for bedrooms and living rooms, but don’t stand up as well to the moisture found in bathrooms. Tile is great for all rooms of the house, but is more time-consuming to install and can represent a slipping hazard. Finally, carpet is a warm and traditional touch popular for decades, but finding natural non-toxic versions can be difficult.
Next, homeowners need to decide upon a budget. There are options for all price ranges.
Let’s look at carpet. Going green doesn’t mean giving up the warmth and comfort of carpet. While traditional carpet can be inexpensive, it and its padding and glues can be steeped in formaldehyde and other chemicals.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “ Airborne formaldehyde acts as an irritant to the conjunctiva and upper and lower respiratory tract. Symptoms are temporary and, depends upon the level and length of exposure, may range from burning or tingling sensations in eyes, nose, and throat to chest tightness and wheezing. Acute, severe reactions to formaldehyde vapor -- which has a distinctive, pungent odor -- may be associated with hypersensitivity. It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of the U.S. population, including asthmatics, may have hyper reactive airways which may make them more susceptible to formaldehyde's effects.” Who wants to mess with that?
Beautiful wool carpets can be pricey, but they’ll save your big when it comes to their durability, feel, and of course green status. You can find many companies online and in your community that offer this option. Cork (renewable and recyclable), sisal, and recycled carpets are also worth consideration.
When it comes to woods, bamboo is a truly renewable source. Bamboo grows fast, very fast. It’s not a hardwood, but it looks like one. It can one of the less expensive green flooring options.
Natural Stained Hardwoods can be another great choice. The key is natural stains (and glues if applicable). Stains can leach fumes into your home for years the same way traditional paints do. Opt for natural stains options. The ultimate plus for hardwoods is they look wonderful for generations and only need a moderate level of care.
Finally, consider the benefits of tile. Stone tiles are a natural rock. They are quarried right out of the earth and require no chemical concoction to create. It is incredibly user-friendly in maintaining and of course requires no VOC finishes!
Green flooring options are out there and within any budget! Be sure to go green when you replace your next floor.