Eco-Friendly Flooring Options. Advice from San Jose General Contractors
Here at SOD Home Group, we are committed to protecting the environment and helping our clients create wonderful, energy-efficient homes that offer fantastic sustainability and cheaper energy bills.
This article will share some of our insider knowledge on the best eco-friendly flooring options for the modern Californian home from San Jose general contractors. Your choice of materials is one of the key factors when determining your impact on the environment, so choosing the greenest possible flooring is an important consideration.
What flooring is the most environmentally friendly?
It is difficult to claim that there is a single flooring type that has the accolade of being the most eco-friendly. This is because factors such as how long it takes to transport if it has been salvaged, and whether it has come from a sustainable source all come into play.
However, we can narrow it down to six main flooring types that are a good choice for an eco-friendly home.
Bamboo is a popular choice that was always going to receive a mention in this article as this material commands world recognition as an eco-friendly choice. Bamboo trees grow very quickly (three-to-five years to mature, in fact), compared to the decades it takes for trees that produce hardwood flooring to grow.
Bamboo can offer similar durability to hardwood flooring and is just as impressive visually, with many textures, grains, and stains available.
However, the main drawback of bamboo is its location. Bamboo grows in tropical climates, therefore the transportation of this material can result in high carbon emissions. Fortunately, many Bamboo farms have sprung up across California and San Jose in particular due to its temperate climate, meaning it can be sourced easily with minimal impact on the environment.
For this reason, we would claim bamboo is the most eco-friendly flooring option in the state.
Once considered outdated and associated with Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are potentially harmful gases that are released into the atmosphere. However, modern linoleum is made from natural, biodegradable materials such as tree resin, linseed oils, and cork. This is why linoleum has seen a big revival in recent years as it is a durable and versatile flooring material than comes in a range of different styles and finishes.
Cork has really started to make a name for itself in recent years, helped by the fact that removing bark doesn’t harm the tree and it can continue growing, with the bark restored in just a few years. This makes it one of the most sustainable sources of wood on the planet.
This material is not only very environmentally friendly but it also offers a range of benefits in terms of a healthy home, as cork naturally avoids issues such as mold, mites, and allergens that reduce air quality. A brilliant alternative to bamboo.
Eco-friendly Rubber Flooring
Sustainable rubber flooring is not only a great option for commercial buildings as its flexibility means it can be beautifully molded and finished to look great in a residential property. Whether you choose organically sourced natural rubber or recycled rubber, this material can really stand the test of time and is not easily damaged.
Engineered, non-toxic Hardwood flooring is made from real, locally-sourced wood that has amazing durability. Manufacturers use as few trees as possible to produce this kind of flooring, making sure nothing is wasted.
Engineered hardwood is made from plywood and finished with a veneer so it has a similar strength to solid wood. We can all agree that hardwood flooring has an impressive and luxurious finish that is hard to rival, and this material can provide the same finish but with less impact on the environment.
Recycled and Salvaged flooring
Recycled and salvaged flooring prevent usable materials from being sent to landfills, while also offering levels of uniqueness that other flooring types cannot match. These materials can include salvaged hardwood, glass tiles, or carpets made from recycled plastic and rubber.
Is it possible to source eco-friendly floor tiles?
Ceramic and porcelain floor tiles are a good choice for a green home as they use natural materials. Many manufacturers mix new materials with recycled, while most ceramic and porcelain tiles can also be locally sourced, reducing transportation times.
In addition, these tiles also have a long lifespan and, in most cases, can last for up to 50 years.
Concrete is another excellent material that is used for floor tiles, mainly in kitchens and bathrooms, while tinted glass tiles can create a unique style and add spots of color.
Which flooring option looks modern but is also eco-friendly?
If you want to move away from a traditional look, avoiding materials such as wood, then rubber-flooring could be the option for you. Rubber is environmentally friendly and can lend itself to a more modern and industrial feel for your home.
Rubber can come in a range of colors, textures, and sizes to suit almost any contemporary style. It is durable and water-resistant, making it a sensible choice for a bathroom remodel.
Which eco-friendly flooring has the most longevity?
Most modern flooring options can offer impressive longevity, however, some are known to have a better lifespan than others. Our top picks for an eco-friendly floor material that has longevity are; engineered hardwood, rubber, and ceramic floor tiles.
What flooring option is the least environmentally friendly?
Vinyl is considered the least environmentally friendly option due to its production methods, lack of sustainability, and toxicity content that can be damaging to a person’s health.
Vinyl is made from petroleum-based chemicals and is non-renewable. The production of vinyl flooring can also create harmful gases, such as dioxin, vinyl chloride, and ethylene dichloride, which are released into the atmosphere.
If you are planning on creating a green home, then vinyl should not be considered for your choice of flooring. If you do choose vinyl flooring, then there are some manufacturers who offer Luxury Vinyl planks and tiles that contain a lower level of Volatile organic compounds and produce less harmful gases when made.
Choosing the most cost-effective Green Flooring Options for Homes
When choosing an eco-friendly flooring material, the following factors should be considered:
- Longevity – Flooring that has a long lifespan is good for the environment as it means it will not have to be replaced for decades. Reducing the amount of old flooring that is being sent to landfills.
- Health/ Air Quality – Volatile organic compounds are proven to contribute to a number of different health problems, including sick building syndrome. This is why you should choose a floor that has a zero or low toxicity level.
- Transportation – If possible, try to find a locally sourced flooring material to reduce the amount of transportation needed, thus lowering the carbon footprint of the project.
- Sustainability – Choose materials that are renewable, such as bamboo or cork, if you are aiming to design a home that is as green as possible. Ceramic and porcelain are also 100% natural and easily sourced.
- Manufacture – When choosing your flooring, you should also try to purchase it from a manufacturer that uses modern and eco-friendly practices during production, and in terms of packaging.