1) Wood and Reclaimed Wood Flooring
There’s definitely a welcoming feel to a décor with a wood floor. Hardwood flooring is an eco-friendly option partly because it is made from natural materials and because it is a long-term investment. InsideOut Readers’ Choice Award winner Kährs by Nordic Homeworx (pictured above) offers a range of wood floors such as oak, ash, beech, walnut and maple, all of which have been 100% sustainably sourced from certified foresters with stringent reforestation policies for all sourced wood. All of their floors are also 100% recyclable as they’re made of entirely natural wood.
Of course, reclaimed wood is even more eco-friendly just by virtue of the fact that no new trees were harvested to create it. And while the old, weathered look of reclaimed wood is very trendy right now, these floors can also be up to 40 points harder on the industry standard Janka hardness scale than traditional virgin wood flooring. It just gets better with age!
2) Bamboo Flooring
Although bamboo is technically a grass (not a tree), eco-friendly bamboo flooring is one of the hardest, most durable flooring options and it creates a unique wood-like appearance. Bamboo grows quickly so there is always a surplus of material, unlike traditional hardwoods that are renewable but have a much longer turnover rate.
3) Recycled Glass Tile
Glass is one of the most commonly recycled materials making it an abundant, eco-friendly flooring resource. Glass tiles have been very popular for splashbacks, but they are rising in popularity as floor tiles as well. Recycled glass tiles come in an endless variety of colours, making them a fun and stylish addition to your home. You don’t have to worry about breaking them, as they are surprisingly durable and long-lasting.
4) Cork Flooring
Known for comfort and durability, cork flooring has become a popular eco-friendly option with a quirky but natural aesthetic. The thin bark of cork trees is harvested, without damaging the tree itself and first made into bottle corks, then the leftover scraps are ground and pressed into flooring and bulletin boards. This happens every 8 to 10 years, giving these trees plenty of time to replenish.
Linoleum has gotten a bad rap throughout the years. It is often confused with other types of flooring as many people equate it with the ‘70s when sustainability wasn’t a priority. But linoleum is made from all natural materials including linseed oil, rosin, broken down wood and others natural fibres. Linoleum is also great for air quality as it doesn’t emit any harmful chemicals. Linoleum is durable, making it great for high-traffic environments and it has seen a resurgence in popularity as it has versatile applications and endless colour and pattern design options.
6) Stone Surfaces
Stone flooring can be a hard style choice – literally, as it seems cold and austere – but there are so many advantages and new developments to make you think twice about stone. Firstly, the durability, endurance and engineering flexibility of natural stone is the reason so many ancient landmarks have stood the test of time. From an eco stance, natural stone quarries have been reclaimed more efficiently, new technologies have prevented unnecessary environmental damage and modern mining techniques have less impact on the landscape. As seen above, the Silestone by Cosentino quartz surface (Blanco Maple, pictured above) recently obtained the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD®) for its entire range, which is an assessment of the environmental impact at all stages of its lifecycle from production, transport and installation to use.
7) Porcelain and Ceramic Tile
Durable, non-toxic and easy to clean, ceramic tiles are a great option for floors, as they have been for counters and splashbacks. Made from natural raw materials, they are eco-friendly and versatile. Design trends are taking this a step further and embracing reconstituted tiles which can be made from up to 70% recycled porcelain and ceramic materials. This gives you the durability and easy maintenance of tile while keeping excess material from ending up in landfills. It may be a more costly option to pay for the extra labour, but the result is worth it.
Read more from InsideOut magazine