Sustainable wood flooring has been around since the beginning of time, and it continues to be an affordable and eco-friendly way to add warmth and character to your home. But there are many options –Oak Flooring, Salvaged Wood, Pine Flooring, Maple Wood Flooring– how do you know which is best?
To help you find your perfect sustainable flooring match, here’s everything you need to know about the 11 most popular options on the market, so you can go green without sacrificing style or quality!
What is Sustainable Wood Flooring?
Sustainable wood flooring is made from ethical hardwood from a well-managed, inspected, and protected forest. Sustainable wood flooring options include bamboo, cork, and Oak.
In addition, these options are often more durable and longer-lasting than traditional wood floors, making them an excellent choice for eco-conscious homeowners that want floors made from less toxic chemicals that won’t diminish indoor air quality.
The fact is, deforestation is a major issue all over the world. In a 2020 report by the Food Agricultural Organization, only 18% of forests are protected. By buying eco-friendly wood flooring, you’re supporting sustainable practices. Here are 11 eco-friendly, beautiful, durable, sustainable wood flooring options.
1) Salvaged Wood
Salvaged wood is sourced from old buildings or other structures that are being torn down, so it would otherwise go to waste. It’s a great way to give new life to old material, and it can add character and charm to your home.
Plus, it’s usually more affordable than new wood. Just be sure to inspect the boards carefully before you buy them, as they may be damaged. Make sure the boards are free of cracks, rot, or insect damage and if possible, see what the backside looks like (some pieces will have beautiful marks on them).
2) Maple Wood Flooring
The maple tree is one of the most copious hardwoods in Eastern North America. As such, it’s no surprise that maple wood flooring is a popular choice for sustainable homes. In addition, they are hard and durable, making them ideal for high-traffic areas.
Plus, it’s a beautiful wood with a natural grain pattern that can add warmth and character to any space. You’ll find it used as lumber, furniture or even in products like flooring or kitchen cabinets.
There are two varieties of Maple – soft and hard – both are excellent choices for sustainability because they grow so quickly and do not require artificial fertilizers or pesticides.
3) Pine Flooring
Pine flooring is one of the more sustainable options because it’s a relatively fast-growing wood. Not to mention, pine is also a relatively inexpensive option compared to other hardwoods. In addition, it’s a renewable resource and grows quickly, making it an ideal choice for folks who want to make environmentally conscious decisions when choosing their new floors.
This type of wood has a few downsides; this flooring can be prone to water damage if not installed correctly by professionals.
Plus, you’ll need to spend some time prepping your new surface before installation, which means more work. But if you have no problems with these minor setbacks, then go ahead and give this material a try!
4) Black Cherry Flooring
Black cherry is a type of wood known for its dark color and durability. A black cherry is a great option for sustainable wood flooring because it is sourced from responsibly managed forests. With proper care and maintenance, black cherry flooring can last for decades.
It’s easy to maintain the beauty of this type of wood because it doesn’t need any special treatment. You can find these floors in both unfinished and finished options. You can use them in most types of homes, including coastal homes.
They’re available in 3 x 5 planks or 2 x 6 planks, which are easier to install than other types of wood. And they are reasonably priced too! However, there are some drawbacks to using black cherry floors as well. One downside is that they may require more sanding and finishing work than lighter-colored woods, like pine or Oak.
5) Oak Flooring
And as you probably know, Oak is one of the most popular types of wood. It’s also one of the most sustainable, thanks to its ability to regenerate quickly. Oak flooring is also durable and easy to care for, making it a great choice for busy families.
Additionally, Oak produces fewer toxic emissions during manufacturing than other options. But Oak isn’t just great; it’s also a great alternative for less-sustainable wood. For example, maple hardwood floors are made from maple trees, which grow at an average rate of 3 feet per year.
By contrast, oak trees grow at an average rate of 6 feet per year – meaning they’ll be much more renewable than maple hardwood floors (which would only be around 30% renewable).
6) Douglas Fir Flooring
Douglas fir is a dense wood, so it’s durable and long-lasting. When its needles fall off, they are quickly replaced by new ones; these trees can be used as Christmas trees because they’re so easily renewable!
Also, unlike most hardwoods, Douglas fir doesn’t produce sap when cut or damaged. So this type of flooring should not bleed or need sealing with varnish to keep it from staining your flooring or other surfaces near your installation area.
The only downside is that the board lengths aren’t as consistent and predictable as other types on this list. However, if you find the right supplier, you’ll have no problem getting the planks you need for your project.
7) Palm Flooring
A new sustainable flooring option made from the waste of the palm oil industry, palm flooring is quickly becoming a popular choice for eco-conscious homeowners. It’s durable, beautiful, and best of all, it doesn’t come at the expense of our planet’s rainforests. It’s also denser than most types of flooring, so it’s an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.
8) Seagrass Flooring
In terms of affordability, seagrass is one of your best options when considering natural fibers. The seagrass is also antibacterial, resists dirt and dust, and is great for people with allergies because it is easy to clean!
Seagrass flooring comes from underwater meadows in tropical climates, typically areas affected by runoff or pollution like rivers or oceans. By harvesting seagrass for flooring purposes rather than leaving it in place to decay naturally or be consumed by animals, we help protect our underwater ecosystems and those who depend on them – such as coastal communities – while maintaining their beauty.
9) Hemp Flooring
Hemp is a rapidly renewable resource with a smaller environmental impact than other flooring options. Plus, it’s durable and easy to clean, making it a great choice for busy families.
It’s made by compressing soy-based resins and hemp into a product that’s just like engineered hardwood but uses natural materials that are more environmentally friendly.
The only drawback is that this type of flooring can’t be installed over radiant heat systems or in rooms with high humidity levels due to the resins in the product becoming unstable at those temperatures or high levels of moisture.
10) Cork Flooring
Cork is a sustainable material from the bark of cork oak trees. It’s durable, easy to clean, and has a unique look that can add character to any space. Cork flooring is a great option for eco-conscious homeowners.
Furthermore, you’ll never have to worry about splinters or scratches because this type of floor is non-porous, making it more sanitary than traditional wood floors and water-resistant if spilled on!
Cork flooring gives a cozy cushion feel underfoot when compressed. It is an acoustic insulator and natural thermal to keep the room quiet and warm. It’s available in a variety of colors, sizes and styles.
11) Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring is taking the place of wood for many consumers who want both the beauty and durability of wood without the negative environmental effects of cutting down forests.
Material made from bamboo is naturally antibacterial, water-resistant, and durable. Additionally, bamboo grows very quickly, meaning it will not contribute to deforestation in any meaningful way.
Our Top Recommended Eco-Friendly Flooring Option
In addition to sustainable wood flooring, several other eco-friendly flooring options are available on the market today. These include bamboo, cork, and Oak; each of these materials has unique benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to do your research before making a final decision.
For example, many people prefer Oak because it is one of the most durable options available and doesn’t have a grain-like some hardwoods. However, while it’s easy to install, it is more expensive than some alternatives, such as carpet or vinyl.
Cork is another popular option, but it isn’t suitable for every home since cork floors can be extremely slippery when wet. Some people find that this helps keep their house cleaner by keeping dust off their floors, though!
Bamboo floors are also an excellent option for homeowners who want a floor that looks like hardwood without the expense or negative environmental impact.
Engineered or Solid Hardwood Flooring: Which is More Sustainable?
Regarding sustainable wood flooring, there are two main types: engineered and solid hardwood. Engineered wood is made of plywood or HDF core with a thin veneer of hardwood on top, while solid hardwood is just that—a single piece of wood.
So, the big question is which is more sustainable? Solid hardwood is the clear winner in this category because it only uses one type of material. It can also be recycled at the end of its life cycle, while engineered floors may need to be burned or landfilled if they cannot be salvaged for another use.
However, solid hardwoods tend to cost significantly more than engineered floors because they require intensive manual labor. So if you’re looking for an affordable option with some environmental benefits, engineered floors would be your best bet!
They typically have lower VOC emissions than most solid hardwoods, meaning you’ll breathe easier when laying down new flooring. They also take less energy to produce since they have a thicker composite board base and often contain recycled materials. The downside is that these floors will eventually scratch or wear away like any other product, so make sure to refinish as needed!
Factors to Consider When Choosing Sustainable Wood Flooring
There are a few things to consider regarding sustainable wood flooring.
- The Source of the Wood
You’ll want to ensure that the wood comes from a sustainably managed forest.
- Type of Wood
Some woods are more sustainable than others. For example, bamboo is a very sustainable option because it grows quickly and doesn’t require much water or chemicals to grow.
- Consider the Finish on the Flooring
If you’re concerned about your home’s toxicity, you might want to avoid finishes like oil-based varnishes or urethanes. These finishes emit high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.
- Life Cycle of the Product
Is the product made from recycled materials? How long will it last? Think about the installation process. Will it require toxic adhesives or finishes?
- The Maintenance of the Flooring
How often do I need to refinish my floors, and can I do this myself easily, or would I need to hire someone else?
Contact Eco Flooring USA: For All Your Sustainable Flooring Needs
At Eco Flooring USA, we are committed to helping you find the best sustainable flooring options. We offer a full range of flooring solutions from interior design, wayfinding, and more to help you make the best decision for your needs.
By choosing sustainable wood flooring, you’ll be doing your part to help protect our planet. And the best part is, you may be surprised at how many beautiful and durable options there are.
Contact us today for a free quote and consultation to learn more about our sustainable flooring options and how we can help you find the perfect option for your home or business.