One of the easiest—and healthiest—changes you can make when remodeling your home is to replace your carpet with natural flooring. Carpet harbors chemical residue, VOCs, pesticides, dust and dirt, which can contribute to poor indoor air quality and poor health. Purchasing new flooring is a major commitment, so be sure to research your options. Here are Natural Home’s five favorite types of healthy, green flooring.
1. Natural linoleum
Linoleum is durable, inexpensive and biodegradable. Photo Courtesy Forbo.
Most of the “linoleum” products on the market today are actually vinyl, a toxic plastic. Natural linoleum is made from linseed oil, tree resin and a variety of other natural materials. Linoleum is durable, low-cost and biodegradable. (Forbo, which has been making natural linoleum for more than 150 years under the name Marmoleum, recently launched a Facebook contest, “Why I love my Marmoleum.” Marmoleum homeowners can enter to win a $500 Visa gift card by posting a picture of their Marmoleum floor along with a short description of why they love it. Check out Forbo’s Facebook page for rules and more information.)
Sources: Natural Home Resource Guide to Flooring, USFloors, Tarkett, Forbo
Cork flooring is warm, soft and resilient. It comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, so it can be harvested without harming the tree itself, making it the ultimate renewable resource. (I just put this in my house, and it’s truly amazing stuff.)
Sources: Natural Home Resource Guide to Flooring, Eco-Friendly Flooring, Expanko, GreenFloors, Wicanders
3. Forest Stewardship Council-certified Wood
Wood that’s certified as sustainably grown by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) tends to cost a bit more. For a more economical—but just as green—option, try using reclaimed or salvaged wood floors.
Sources: Natural Home Resource Guide to Sustainable Wood, Forest Stewardship Council, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Aged Woods, EcoTimber
4. Natural Wool Carpet
If you must have carpet, steer clear of traditional carpet, which contains toxic chemicals and pollutes indoor air. Natural wool carpet will keep your home healthy and comfortable.
Sources: Natural Home Resource Guide to Carpets and Rugs, Nature’s Carpet
Tile doesn’t produce gases or fumes, and it’s durable, lasting much longer than most other floors. Finding locally made tiles will drastically reduce the product’s carbon footprint.
Sources: Natural Home Resource Guide to Tile, Questetch, Eco-Friendly Flooring