Eco-Friendly Floors

Over the past five years we have seen an incredible shift towards homeowners and property developers sourcing the most sustainable and economically friendly floors for homes. Unsurprisingly this is a movement that has continued and whilst the threat of deforestation and climate change is still apparent there are many who are doing their upmost to help the environment. So how does this affect the flooring world and what steps have been put in place?

Well, it all depends on what material the product you purchase is made from. Currently, one of the most popular flooring materials is real wood and it’s not difficult to see why. Its ability to transform a room and bring undeniable character through each individual grain is pretty irresistible, but at what price? Well, wood floors are probably more eco-friendly than you might think. These days there are a number of measures and strategies that have been put in place to ensure that our forests are safe from over-logging and deforestation. The first check that you would need to make to ensure your wood floors aren’t too damaging is to check that the retailer has placed a FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certificate on the product. What this means is that the flooring product has been logged, manufactured and sold in accordance to a number of regulations set by the council themselves. One of the most common procedures followed by companies who are FSC certified is that for every tree being felled another is planted in its place. The FSC also ensures that some parts of forests are protected entirely, especially in areas that are habitats for rare animals and plants. So remember, if you are looking to purchase wood flooring, keep an eye out for the FSC certificate!

Although wood flooring is very popular, many are put off by the price of real wood. So what is another environmentally-friendly substitute? Look no further than bamboo! This is a product that initially causes confusion for some, after all, it is most known for being panda fuel. However bamboo is also one of the most eco-friendly floors available today. How so? Well, first of all bamboo is actually classed as a grass and not a tree. With trees taking up to 20 years or more to mature, more of them tend to be felled to meet demand for flooring. Whereas bamboo can only take 3-5 years to reach full maturity, it is also a self-regenerating grass and therefore doesn’t need to be replanted once it has been harvested! Although many may fear that natural habitats are being disturbed in order to produce bamboo flooring this is not the case – only designated areas are used to harvest bamboo in order to protect it. How does bamboo flooring compare to wood flooring? To be honest there is little difference when it comes to appearance, in fact you may even be fooled into thinking that it is real wood. One of the biggest difference is the price, with bamboo being much cheaper than solid wood floors it’s no surprise that they have made such an impact in the construction world. Just like solid wood flooring, bamboo can also be sanded and refinished over time too. Of course the amount of times that this can be done will depend on the thickness of the board but it is definitely something worth knowing, especially if the floor starts to look worn over time. One of the down sides of bamboo flooring is that there is no grading system in place like there is with wood flooring, this can make it quite difficult in knowing what kind of quality the product is.

What about if you’d like to veer away from the wood effect? Well, one of the most unlikely culprits for an eco-friendly flooring alternative is Linoleum. Often confused with vinyl flooring, Linoleum is actually made using natural materials such as wood flour, rosins, ground limestone, powdered cork, pigments, jute and linseed oil. So not only does Lino flooring offer no-fuss functionality, a soft feel underfoot and incredibly distinctive look, it also harbours a lot of green attributes too. Aside of this, linoleum is one of the most budget-friendly flooring products not the market, so if you’re looking to complete a project with a top quality product minus a hefty price-tag then look no further!

Remember, if you’re keen to know whether the flooring you’ve purchased is in line with FSC guidelines then you can check on the FSC website. For any other floors information about them should be available from the retailer or manufacturer!

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