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The Range of Environmentally Friendly Flooring
By Derek Rogers

We're all a lot more concerned about the state of the environment and our effect on it than we used to be. Construction is one of the areas that has a huge impact on the world around us. By choosing more environmentally friendly, sustainable products and installation methods, we can decrease the damage we do to the environment.

Here are a few environmentally friendly flooring options you might choose over more conventional products:

Bamboo

This rapidly growing woody grass can be harvested every three to five years and requires minimal fertilizers and pesticides. That means that correctly grown, bamboo flooring is extremely good for the environment. However, it's worth noting that some producers are not using the best methods - know where your bamboo is coming from and how it's grown before you buy.

Installing bamboo floors gives you a flooring material that's extremely durable and very easy to maintain. Bamboo's unique look and feel complement many different decorating schemes are are extremely attractive. Heat treated bamboo is available in darker colours, but be aware that the darker the bamboo is, the less strength remains.

Marmoleum

This product is made from wood flour (usually from waste wood), linseed oil, jute, limestone and pine rosin. It's easy to produce, anti-static, very clean and Once this material has lived out its life, it biodegrades easily. This floor is an excellent type for those with allergies, as it offers no place for dust mites to hide. There are many colours and designs available and this material wears well.

Sustainably Produced Carpet Tiles

Carpet is usually thought of as a very environmentally unfriendly flooring material, since the vast majority of it is produced from petroleum and is not biodegradable or recyclable. Carpet tiles produced with an eye towards the health of the environment are an exception. The tile format allows only damaged areas to need replacing, rather than the whole carpet and manufacturers like Heuga which attempt to reduce waste, eliminate toxins and use renewable energy can produce more environmentally friendly carpet products.

Sustainable Wood Flooring

Hardwood and laminate floorings are another area where you might not think environmentally friendly practices are possible. However, hardwood floors are long lasting and products produced using responsible practices, including replanting and careful harvesting, can be quite environmentally friendly. Look for floors that use non-toxic finishes and adhesives if they're a Loc-type floor and sustainably produced and harvested wood.

Another less common ecologically friendly type of wood flooring is reclaimed wood. This comes from buildings and other areas that would have been torn down and the materials wasted. Some reclaimed wood even comes from the bottom of lakes, much of this wood is of very high quality, but it often requires significant processing before use, making reclaimed wood flooring expensive in many cases.

Natural Plant Fiber Flooring

Mats and carpeting made from fibers like sisal, coir (coconut fiber) and jute are also much more environmentally friendly than ordinary carpeting or petroleum derived fiber mats. They provide a rustic look to your home, are easy to care for and their durable surface means a long life too.







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