Green Flooring Options
When installing a new floor most people consider things like the appearance, the cost, maintenance, durability, and the texture of the floor. But did you ever take into consideration that your floor should be environmentally friendly?
Sure its just a floor, but without it you'd be stuck with cold dirt beneath your feet. While dirt is about as ’green’ as you can get, you can give back to mother nature without having to revert back to the stone age if you consider flooring like cork, bamboo, linoleum, rubber, or natural fiber carpet.
Cork comes from the bark of the Cork Tree, Quercus Suber. Cork was discovered in the 17th Century by a French monk named Dom Perignon, who found its use when bottling carbonated wine.
A couple of centuries later cork's use as a flooring was discovered by 19th Century American John Smith.
Today, cork flooring is finding new appreciation from consumers trying to reduce global warming by cutting back on energy.
Its soft and warm underfoot, but, tough against the wear and tear of the household's hustle and bustle. Its durability contests mildew, mold, insects, and fire.
Cork also fights the the noise pollution that kids and pets create. Installing a cork floor will drop the sound level in a room several decibels, and you will be amazed at how easy it is to clean.
Bask in its hardwood or natural stone like elegance as it complements your home's décor with its multitude of color choices and various patterns and designs.
So what are you waiting for; increase your home's property value, and pay only $5 to $10 per square foot for a floor of cork!
Bamboo because of its beauty and affordability (costing $4 to $5 for installation) has been dubbed by many as the new hardwood of choice.
Bamboo is great for flooring because it takes such a short time for it to be replenished. Bamboo, is a type of grass which can grow back in as short as nine years without being replanted. That's amazing compared to an oak tree which takes a life time to grow back, even after being replanted.
There is a downside to purchasing bamboo flooring however. Since the demand for green alternatives to make up the flooring in American homes and around the world, bamboo farms in China and other countries where bamboo is mass produced, are clearing forests to expand. For this reason it's argued that bamboo flooring cannot truly be a green alternative to other hardwood floors if it destroys habitats for wildlife during its manufacture.
Linoleum is made of linseed oil, rosin, wood flour, cork flour, limestone, jute, and an array of color pigments. Its natural ingredients is what makes it so good for the environment, even when linoleum has expired and is incinerated it gives off no more residual calorific value as coal does.
Linoleum is used in many areas where there is a lot of foot traffic, such as a hospital. What could be the reason for a hospital to choose linoleum to be the foundation its workers walk on? The reason behind choosing linoleum is simple; its inexpensive (costing about $3 to $4 for installation), it requires little maintenance (dry clean only necessary), and it can last up to 40 years.
Natural Fiber or Recycled Materials Carpet
Recycled Carpet is carpet made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate or saved textile fibers. PET is usually found in plastic soda bottles, and carpets constructed from it usually last longer than natural fiber made carpets.
Natural fiber carpet can be made out of wool, coir, jute, sisal, hemp, sea grass, or paper.
Wool carpets resist fire and moisture. Wool carpets are easy to clean because the fibers keep dirt trapped in the top layer of its coat. Wool carpets also can come in a variety of styles; woven, plush, shag, etc. Plus wool carpets are very soft and keep you warm during the winter and cool during the summer! Wool carpets are expensive though, costing $5 to $26 per square foot, including installation.
Coir fibers, jute fibers, as well as hemp can be made into carpet. (Coir comes from the fibers of coconuts, and jute comes from the jute plant which is a plant relative to flax.) The carpet made from a blend of those fibers ranges from $1 to $3 per square foot.
Sisal carpets are made from sisal fibers, which comes from the agave plant. These fibers are naturally sound absorbent, and are very strong. They can be used on walls, for wall to wall floor coverage, staircases, or as area rugs. The cost of sisal carpet varies from $4 to $7 per square foot.
Sea grass carpets, (obviously made of sea grass) comes from Southeast Asia, and are typically used as area rugs. Sea grass costs roughly $2 to $3 per square foot.
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