Practicing safe environmental habits and exploring the new trend toward sustainability in flooring can be an excellent way for homeowners to enhance the values of their home. From laminate to cork and bamboo flooring, several sustainable flooring options exist that can be a great complement to the existing interior decor.
“The manufacture of laminate flooring doesn’t involve the harvesting of old-growth hardwoods like those found in tropical rainforests,” said Bill Dearing, president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA). “Laminate provides the desired look, no matter how scarce, without depleting natural resources.”
What makes laminate flooring such a great option for homeowners looking to go green? According the NALFA, many laminate floors are made using pre-consumer recycled waste and require fewer raw materials during the manufacturing process than other floor coverings. Furthermore, laminate often times doesn’t require installation using glue or an adhesive, which can reduce harmful emissions, and is also recyclable.
There are two types of laminate flooring – high pressure and direct pressure. While each type offers great resiliency, how it’s manufactured can impact the finished product. With high pressure laminate the materials are pressed at high temperatures of around 500 degrees to produce a cohesive floor covering.
Laminate flooring manufacturers construct direct pressure laminate differently, binding materials together at a lower temperature and using less pressure in the process. This can make direct pressure laminate a cost-effective alternative to high pressure laminate and an attractive option to homeowners who like the look and sustainability of laminate but want to avoid spending a great amount of money.
Another great flooring option for homeowners who want to use sustainable materials is bamboo, which is technically a form of grass and has regenerative abilities. Harder and more dent-resistant than wood, bamboo also offers a crisp aesthetic appeal that many homeowners are sure to find alluring, according to Elegant-floors.com.
Floor Trends Magazine reports that BAMBOO is found naturally in several areas throughout the world, however, the majority is imported into the United States from China, which pockets an estimated $10 to $15 billion annually from the industry.
Made from tree bark and resistant to moisture, CORK flooring can reduce a homeowner’s environmental impact and lend new-found elegance to interior decor. HouseLogic.com recommends treating this distinctive and richly-textured grain flooring type with a sealant every three to four years to prevent scratches, which could mar the beauty of this luxurious material.