How to Choose Environmentally Friendly Flooring
There are five things to consider when looking at whether flooring is environmentally friendly:
- Where it is made
- How long it will last
- The source materials
- Whether it is recyclable
Looking at all those factors, you can choose a floor you love while still looking out for the environment.
One of the first things to consider is where the floor is made. The greater the shipping distance, the more resources it takes to ship. The problem is that many products may be made in the U.S.A. but from materials sourced elsewhere. To reduce your environmental impact, look for locally sourced and manufactured flooring.
Next, you should consider its durability. Flooring that will last for decades may be more environmentally friendly than a “green” floor that must be replaced within about 10 years. The longer the floor’s life, the less you must replace it. That is why hardwood flooring can be an environmentally friendly option- those floors often outlast the lifetimes of several sets of homeowners. Despite being composed of plastic, the luxury vinyl plank can also last for decades, making it an eco-friendly option.
Is the floor made from renewable resources? Everyone loves the look of hardwood flooring, but regrowing hardwood takes a long time which isn’t environmentally friendly. However, if you choose engineered wood flooring instead, much of it is made of plywood, easily renewable wood. Another option is to consider bamboo flooring. Bamboo looks like wood, but it is actually grass and regrows very quickly.
Even the most durable floors eventually reach the end of their lifetime. When that happens, can you recycle the floor? If not, is it made of materials that have already been recycled? Some floors and carpets are made from recycled plastics or rubbers. They help keep trash out of landfills. Hardwood floors can often be upcycled after their useful life.
Finally, check the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the flooring. You can buy low-VOC flooring. If low VOCs are not an option, the flooring can off-gas inside your home. It may not be the worst thing for the environment, but it is not great for your family.
SMART Carpet & Flooring has tons of eco-friendly flooring options to match your style and budget. Come check out our selection.