12 Ideas for Eco-Friendly Flooring
12 Ideas for Eco-Friendly Flooring
These days the million dollar question is “What’s hot in eco-friendly flooring?” We’ve got 12 dynamic, versatile, eco-friendly flooring options for you with everything from bamboo to leather!
Eco-friendly flooring is a hot topic these days! It feels like, for a long time, we (a societal we) were only concerned with making things efficient and visually appealing, but then all the sudden it’s 100 degrees in April (true story for those of us in Phoenix) and you might start to think…maybe that global warming business is legit?
Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to do your part beyond separating your recyclables? Either way, there are many attractive, cost-effective green flooring options on the market to suit your taste.
Either way, there are many attractive, cost-effective eco-friendly flooring options on the market to suit your taste.
Known for its comfort and durability, cork flooring is becoming one of the most popular eco-friendly flooring options on the market. I know, I know…I was confused (at first) too.
“So, am I, like standing on a bunch of wine corks?”
“Is this like walking on a flimsy cork board? Like, what is actually going on here?”
Turns out, cork flooring is extremely durable and (shockingly) feels nothing like walking on wine corks. And there are some gorgeous looks available that look nothing like a cork board. Win, win.
Cork floors are made from the thin bark of cork trees without damaging the tree itself. The bark is first made into wine corks, then the leftover scraps are ground and pressed into flooring and bulletin boards. This happens every 9 years, giving these trees plenty of time to replenish.
Best uses for cork flooring
Eco-friendly cork flooring is great in bedrooms, living rooms, hallways, kitchens and especially in any are you will be standing for long periods of time (due to the natural anti-fatigue properties).
Inappropriate uses for cork flooring
Cork is prone to water damage, making it less than ideal for bathrooms and flood-prone basements.
Although bamboo is technically a grass (not a tree), eco-friendly bamboo flooring is one of the hardest, most durable flooring options on the market! Bamboo flooring offers unique looks that no other flooring can rival. Horizontal bamboo gives you a cozy, indie look while vertical bamboo boasts a modern, chic setting.
What makes bamboo an environmentally friendly flooring? Bamboo grows so quickly that there is always a surplus of material, unlike other traditional types of wood. This naturally renewable resource gives you a gorgeous “wood” option without killing the rainforest.
Best uses for bamboo flooring
Eco-friendly bamboo flooring is great in bedrooms, living rooms, offices, kitchens and more!
Inappropriate uses for bamboo flooring
Like all wood flooring, bamboo does not do well with large amounts of water or humidity. Bathrooms, flood-prone basements and other extremely humid environments are not ideal for bamboo.
A gorgeous wood floor without cutting down any new trees? Sounds almost too good to be true. It gets better – eco-friendly reclaimed wood flooring is not only is the old, weathered look of reclaimed wood super trendy right now, but reclaimed wood can also be up to 40 points harder on the Janka hardness scale than traditional virgin wood flooring.
Best uses for reclaimed wood
Environmentally friendly reclaimed wood flooring is great in bedrooms, living rooms, offices, kitchens and more!
Inappropriate uses for reclaimed wood
Like all wood flooring, reclaimed wood does not do well in areas with large amounts of water, such as bathrooms, flood-prone basements and other extremely humid environments.
Recycled Porcelain & Ceramic Tile
You can now purchase tiles made from up to 70% recycled porcelain and ceramic tiles. This gives you the durability and easy maintenance of tile while keeping tons of material from ending up in our landfills. The only downside to going recycled is you will usually pay in sticker price for that extra labor.
Best uses for recycled porcelain and ceramic tile
You can use environmentally-friendly recycled porcelain and ceramic tiles in all the same spaces as traditional tile, including bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms, etc.
Inappropriate uses for recycled porcelain and ceramic tile
Recycled porcelain and ceramic tiles are very versatile, but most options are not suitable for outdoor use.
Recycled Glass Tile
Glass is one of the most commonly recycled materials in the united states, making it an abundant, eco-friendly flooring material. Glass tiles have been super popular for backsplash, but they are gaining popularity as floor tiles as well. Recycled glass tiles come in an endless variety of colors, making them a fun and stylish addition to your home. And don’t worry about breaking it! Glass tiles are surprisingly durable and long-lasting.
Recycled glass tiles come in an endless variety of colors, making them a fun and stylish addition to your home. And don’t worry about breaking it! Glass tiles are surprisingly durable and long-lasting.
Best uses for recycled glass tile
Recycled glass tiles are most commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens. However, you can use eco-friendly glass tiles in any room in the house or office!
Inappropriate uses for recycled glass tile
Recycled glass is very versatile, but most options are not suitable for outdoor use.
Recycled Metal Tile
Yes! This is a thing. Many people have never heard of or seen recycled metal tiles. If you have, chances are you have seen them as a backsplash. Similarly to recycled glass tile, recycled metal is most commonly used for backsplash, but there are some gorgeous recycled metal floor tiles on the market that will definitely give your home a unique look.
Recycled metal tiles are typically made of 50% recycled aluminum, saving our landfills from the extra waste.
Best uses for recycled metal tile
The durability of recycled metal tile varies greatly from product to product. There are some that are appropriate for the entire home while others are only suitable for accent flooring. For this one, you really need to check the specific product you’re interested in.
Surprised? Linoleum has gotten a bad rap throughout the years. Often confused with other types of flooring, most people know little to nothing about linoleum flooring.
Linoleum is made from all natural materials including linseed oil, rosin, broken down wood and others. Linoleum is also great for air quality, as it doesn’t emit any harmful chemicals into the air.
Best uses for linoleum
Eco-friendly linoleum flooring is most commonly found in kitchens, but it is also a great choice for bedrooms, offices, hallways, living rooms and more. Linoleum is durable and long-lasting, making it great for high-traffic environments.
Inappropriate uses for linoleum
Linoleum is water-resistant, but not waterproof. It is not the best choice for bathrooms or flood-prone basements.
These days, almost all carpet is made of recycled materials to some degree. Using recycled materials, in this case, is not only the green flooring option but a cost-effective solution as well.
I know some people will tell you that carpet is on its way out, but it is still one of the most commonly purchased floors on the market. People may be going for that trendy wood look, but everyone still loves a little softness now and then.
Best uses for recycled carpet
Environmentally friendly recycled carpet is most popular in bedrooms, hallways, living rooms and offices.
Inappropriate uses for recycled carpet
Carpet is more prone to stains, collecting dust and water damage, making it inappropriate for kitchens and bathrooms. In some flood-prone areas, carpet tile can actually be a good choice – they are easy to pull up and replace on a tile by tile basis so if there is damage, you likely won’t need to replace your entire floor.
Wool is not only a natural product, but it’s real claim to fame is its air-purifying capabilities. We all know that many household items can emit pollutants and chemical. Wool, instead, absorbs these pollutants without re-emitting them. Studies show that wool carpet can keep your air safe for up to 30 years!
Best uses for wool carpet
Eco-friendly wool carpet is most popular in bedrooms, hallways, living rooms and offices (especially in cool environments).
Inappropriate uses for wool carpet
Carpet is more prone to stains and water damage, making it inappropriate for kitchens, bathrooms and flood-prone areas.
Yes, really! Until I came to work for a flooring company specializing in rubber flooring, I had no idea it was even a thing. I’d never paid much attention to the gym floor, and I was surprised to find out how popular it is.
Rubber flooring is made from recycled tire rubber, saving those tires a trip to the landfill and, instead, repurposing them to be used as a floor.
Best uses for rubber flooring
Inappropriate uses for rubber flooring
You can technically use rubber flooring in any room of the house. However, it is not very popular in bedrooms and living rooms.
I feel like stained concrete is a love it or hate it type of thing. Most people do not fall in the middle. The nice thing about concrete is it (most of the time) is already there at the base of your home. This means no additional materials need to be manufactured for your floor, which is what makes it eco-friendly.
Best uses for stained concrete
Eco-friendly rubber flooring is most popular in home and commercial gyms, although it is quickly gaining popularity as a trendy option for bathrooms and kitchens as well.
Inappropriate uses for stained concrete
You can technically use rubber flooring in any room inside the house. However, it is not very popular in bedrooms and living rooms.
Okay now it really sounds like I’ve lost it, but leather flooring is, in fact, a thing. Companies are now recycling leather to create a sleek, chic new eco-friendly flooring option. Leather flooring is intended to wear over time, giving it character and personality. Leather flooring also provides warmth and softness.
Best uses for leather flooring
Eco-friendly leather flooring is most popular in bedrooms but can be used in any dry area that doesn’t receive excessive foot traffic.
Inappropriate uses for leather flooring
You know how you’re not supposed to get your leather coat wet? Same goes for leather flooring! Leather flooring is not appropriate for bathrooms, kitchens or any other humid / flood-prone areas. Additionally, we don’t recommend leather flooring for high-traffic, commercial use.
Which eco-friendly flooring option would you choose?