Monday, December 30, 2013
Environmentally friendly materials can be just as decorative and functional as the more common flooring materials. Read on to discover some great choices for green flooring materials.
In recent years, bamboo flooring and finishes have become steadily more popular. Bamboo is actually not a tree, but a fast-growing type of grass. It takes only six years for bamboo to mature, which makes it a sustainable option compared to hardwood trees, which usually take sixty years to develop fully.
Thirteen percent sturdier than maple and twenty-seven percent harder than northern red oak, bamboo is a very durable flooring material. It is also resistant to mildew, water and insects. Aside from its “green” features, bamboo comes in a natural light color, which brings brightness to a room. It may also be stained darker, and may come in straight or end grains.
The diverse looks you can achieve with bamboo make it a top pick among sustainable flooring options.
Another renewable resource, cork is a softwood material taken from the bark of cork oak trees, which grows back in three years. Cork is naturally elastic, making it exhibit great sound absorption qualities perfect for minimizing noise in huge halls, rooms with high ceilings, and rooms that are expected to accommodate loud activities, such as entertainment rooms and playrooms. As a flooring material, cork is also comfortable underfoot.
The strength of this material is also its downfall - its elasticity makes it susceptible to dents under heavy objects that are permanently located, so it is best to use pads under furniture and appliances. However, the elastic material recovers well from marks made by non-permanent causes such as high heels and dining chair legs. Cork flooring is also hypoallergenic, fire-resistant, water-resistant and insect repellant.
Ideal for high-traffic areas, linoleum is made from linseed oil, wood flour and pine resin with a jute backing. Linoleum becomes more durable over time, as more exposure to air hardens the material. Despite the toughness though, it still remains quiet and comfortable to walk on. The material is also hypoallergenic and biodegradable.
Linoleum comes in a variety of different colors and designs, offering an endless number of combinations to choose from. - Aislinn Kee