A Guide to Eco-Flooring Options
If you are planning on replacing the floors in your home, then consider some eco-friendly flooring options. Eco-friendly flooring isn't just good for you and your family - it's also good for your wallet. While some eco-flooring choices require more upfront costs (an average of 20% more) than conventional flooring, in the long run, you'll end up increasing the value of your home and avoiding the need for replacement thanks to these durable flooring options. You won't have to look hard or far for these flooring options. Most big box home improvement stores and suppliers carry several types of eco-flooring.
Eco-Factor: Concrete floors are eco-friendly for two reasons: Their production is eco-friendly and they help reduce the need for a/c and heat.
Less energy is used in the production of concrete than any other flooring type. No trees need to be cut down and concrete is recyclable. By choosing concrete floors, you help minimize waste. Concrete floors reduce energy consumption. Because they can make one feel cooler, there is less of a need to use the air conditioning. During the winter, concrete floors absorb the heat from the sun, helping to keep your home warm.
Pros: One of the benefits of concrete flooring is the low maintenance.
Cleaning is easy: simply sweep and wash with vinegar or a gentle floor cleaner. Sealing is required about every two years. An additional benefit is improved indoor air quality in your home. Unlike carpeting, concrete floors do not harbor dust mites. For allergy sufferers, concrete floors can be a blessing.
Cons: Besides the higher cost of concrete flooring compared to all other types, there are no major disadvantages associated with concrete flooring.
Cost: The average cost of concrete flooring is more than other residential flooring types, but the return is higher, as the floor will never need replacement. The average cost for concrete floor installation (including decorative finishing) is about $15-$18 per square foot.
Eco-Factor: Bamboo is eco-friendly because it has a quick life cycle.
Essentially, bamboo is a fast-growing grass. It quickly reaches maturity and replenishes itself, making it an extremely sustainable flooring option.
Pros: Bamboo is strong and durable. It is stronger than many hardwood floors and is available in a variety of colors, including earth tones and caramelized colors. Bamboo flooring is also water-resistant, making it a great bathroom flooring option. There are different grades of bamboo. In order to ensure top-quality bamboo flooring, purchase it from a trusted, reputable supplier.
Cons: Some homeowners report that their bamboo floors are more brittle than they would expect from hardwood floor. Additionally, some report that heavy items that were dropped caused a mark on the floor. However, keep in mind that this can occur even with hardwood floors.
Cost: Bamboo flooring is slightly less expensive than hardwood flooring. Top quality bamboo flooring costs about $6 per square foot.
Eco-Factor: Cork is eco-friendly because it is a renewable resource. The trees live several hundred years, and the bark of fully grown trees can be harvested about every 10 years.
Pros: It is durable, provides thermal and acoustic insulation and is rot and fire-resistant. It also has a soft texture, making it very comfortable to stand on. Many cork floors are guaranteed for 15 years when they have been layered with a UV-cured acrylic.
Cons: If homeowners or installer forget to install a moisture barrier, problems can occur. During installation, a moisture barrier should be placed under the planks. This is especially important in bathrooms, kitchens and basements.
Cost: The average do-it-yourself installation costs from $3-$5 per square foot. Professional installation starts at $5 and can cost as much as $12 for specialty cork installation.
Recycled Rubber Tiles
Eco-Factor: The tiles are from a recycled source and require little energy to produce.
Pros: Recycled rubber tiles are one of the most sound-absorbent flooring types. They are durable, stain-resistant, easy to clean and easy to install.
The tiles have insulating properties and are very comfortable to stand on.
Recycled rubber tiles are a popular choice for basements and children's playrooms.
Cons: Recycled rubber tiles are not stain-resistant and therefore do not make a good choice for kitchens.
Cost: About $3 per square foot.
Written by Marcy Tate
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