Choosing Sustainable Flooring for Your Home

Want to give your home a green makeover, from the bottom up? Finding sustainable flooring is a matter of knowing what to look for. The greenest options offer sustainable beauty through recycled or renewable content, have product and adhesive formulas that are free of formaldehyde and VOCs, and support indoor air quality through easy cleaning and maintenance. There are several great green trends underfoot, some involving traditional flooring favorites.

Natural flooring materials range from reclaimed and sustainably forested hardwoods to popular renewables like cork and bamboo. Shop around and you can also find laminates that are greener than the norm thanks to water-based solvents used in production and formaldehyde-free adhesives. Or step things up with composites of other varieties of sustainable flooring: concrete floors give a sleek, giant-tile look, and terrazzo options make the most of recycled content in colorful floors that gleam and glitter.

Sometimes the greenest option is to work with the floor you’ve already got. Existing hardwood floors can be refinished with a long-lasting but VOC-free finish that refreshes natural beauty. A damaged tile or two can be replaced and re-grouted for many more years of service. And a floor that’s literally rough around the edges can be dressed up with the addition of a quarter-round shoe molding around the perimeter.

Want to help the environment – your indoor environment, that is? Get rid of carpet where you can, and you’ll remove 90 percent of the dust mites lurking around your home. Also practice basic wisdom when selecting flooring for areas with high moisture, heavy foot traffic or temperature extremes – make sure the floor you choose can stand up to these rough conditions. With enough research, you can find sustainable flooring for every situation.

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