The National Association of Realtors named reclaimed wood floors as one of the biggest trends
influencing homeowners in 2016. Today, buyers care about the type of floors in the houses they purchase - and they realize that not all floors are created equal. Whereas quartz, marble and granite were once popular choices, more homeowners today seek out sustainable wood flooring for their houses.
What makes a floor sustainable?
As a homeowner, you probably looked into sustainable flooring options because you want to reduce your carbon footprint. You hope you can find an option that is both eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. When you think of a sustainable product, you, like many, may assume it simply refers to an item that is 100 percent recyclable. But, aside from the materials it is made from, there are more aspects to consider, including:
- The manufacturing process
- The impact of the supply chain on the environment
- Use of natural resources
- Just because you already said recycling and this should be a list of other options
Choosing sustainable products for your home also means selecting ones that are high quality and built to last. By definition, "sustainable" refers to something that is capable of being maintained at a certain level, and this principle should apply to the flooring you choose.
Sustainable flooring options
Wood is one of the best earth-friendly and renewable materials you can choose. Not only are fewer raw materials used in creating them, but they also require less energy and natural resources.
According to The Bulletin, eco-friendly floors are one of the biggest design trends right now. And while materials like bamboo and cork are some of the most popular types of sustainable wood flooring, they can be limited in their durability - especially when compared to hardwood floors. Cork is a softer wood, harvested from the bark of oak trees, whereas bamboo floors actually come from the grass family.
Hardwood floors have a classic, timeless appeal that make them an elegant yet sustainable option for homeowners. They look gorgeous throughout the home and are incredibly durable and versatile, having the power to pair with just about any type of style or decor.
"An environmental concern with wood flooring is deforestation."
But what kind of wood would be best for your home - and the environment? With wood flooring, a common environmental concern is deforestation. Oak floors are considered to be one of the most sustainable because U.S. forest management and protection programs make sure these trees are regularly replanted in forests. Plus, oak has a smaller carbon footprint and releases fewer toxic emissions during the manufacturing process than other options.
Choose a company that values sustainability
It is important to look into the practices used by companies and manufacturers. You can significantly enhance your environmental responsibility by shopping with a company that is committed to sustainable practices and materials. Look for organizations that domestically source, for example, and that use materials from renewed forests. Another way to assess the eco-friendliness of a brand is to see if it has received any third-party certifications from environmental groups, such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Forest Stewardship Council, or meets criteria set forth by the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program and the GREENGUARD Certification Program.