Your floors cover a lot of ground in your house! (Excuse the pun!!) For this reason, it is good for both your health and the environment to choose green flooring for your home. Why?
- Many materials can release toxic gases that are carcinogenic, allergenic, and can cause multiple symptoms such as headaches, asthma, and sinus problems. You want your home to be your refuge from outside and that means it should be a safe haven free of anything toxic.
- As for the environment, we want to use resources that are sustainable, meaning, easily replenished or renewable. Bamboo is an example of a renewable resource because it grows very rapidly. Petroleum based finishes and adhesives are not renewable. All the oil that will ever be on the earth is already on the earth. We cannot make or grow more. Wood is renewable but some hard woods take many years to grow. Consider glues and adhesives as well as the primary material. These may not be environmentally or health friendly.
- Lastly, when we dispose of old flooring, we want to be sure this can be done in a way that does not harm the environment. You may want to choose a new floor that can be installed directly over the existing floor. This is the greenest choice for the environment as there will not be materials in landfills that cannot break down, and it will also prevent the release of dust and other materials that are potentially harmful to our health. Materials that can be recycled are good the environment.
So, these are some of the questions to ask about your floor in order to buy the greenest possible choices:
What are the raw ingredients? Are they renewable or non renewable resources? Where did the materials come from and where was the product made? Some countries have very lax environmental laws. Also, products made far away use more energy for transportation than local products. What kinds of additives, adhesives, finishes and other chemicals were used in making the product? Will the flooring send harmful chemicals into your home? Does the product bear the seal of approval from a reputable certification agency that vouches for the material’s low emissions? (Low VOC or volatile organic compounds).
Consider the material needed to install the floor and subfloor. Floating wood and bamboo floors can be installed directly over the existing floor without removal of the old flooring. Floors you can install yourself save the cost of professional installation.
Long lasting floors that can be easily maintained or refinished if necessary, or those that allow replacement of just a few tiles, are better for the environment and your wallet because old flooring is not ending up in a landfill or incinerator. They’re also better for the wallet.
What are the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintaining the product? Can it be easily cleaned using ton-toxic and biodegradable soaps and does it have low or no VOCs in the finish?
So, the greener options in flooring are: Cork, bamboo, wood, linoleum, stone, and tile. Floors that are prefinished are healthier since they do not bring those chemicals into the home. You should request low VOC adhesives or choose floating floor options that click together and do not require glue. Ask for products made without urea formaldehyde.
So, as you see, there are really two aspects of green flooring for your home. Floors can be green as far as being non-harmful to your health, and they can be green as far as being good for the environment. In most cases, these are the same thing. You want to consider what a product is made from, how it is finished, how it is installed, and how you can dispose of it if need be to see if it is green. Some products can be green in and of themselves, but installed in a way that makes them not so green. For example, cork is a very environmentally friendly and healthy product but if you use a toxic adhesive to install it or cover it with a toxic finish, it is not so green. So, be sure to ask about all these aspects of the floor to ensure you are truly meeting green standards. Carolina Flooring understands all your needs in flooring and wants to help you make the best choices for your space! Contact Carolina Flooring today and ask about green flooring for your home!!
Photo courtesy of strawsticksandbricks