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Best Options for Natural Flooring

Updated on March 15, 2010

Considering the fact that so many people are looking for more environmentally friendly products, it is only common sense that consumers looking for flooring would hope that it would be more eco-friendly.  And the good news is that yes, when it comes to eco-friendly flooring, there are plenty of non-toxic floors to choose from that are natural to boot.  And since there is so much to choose from, your only choices are what color, style and how often you are willing to maintain the floors as well as your price budget.

Are Cork Floor Tiles are good choice for natural flooring?

If you are looking to lay some flooring in your kitchen, then cork floor tiles is probably the most eco-friendly flooring option out there.  Plus, since it has a little "cushion" to it, it is good for people who spend a lot of time on your feet cooking.  Because cork is made from oak tree bark, the texture is different from other flooring options and the cork itself has properties that actually will help protect the floor from mold and pests.

If you are looking to add floors to your bathrooms or basement and are considering using cork tiles, then you will need to purchase sealed cork tiles, since these areas are damp.

The downside to having a cork floor is the maintenance;  aside from regular sweeping and mopping with a damp mop, you will need to reseal your floor every year.

Another thing to consider when shopping for a cork floor is to make sure that it is solid cork.  Some companies will sell you cork that is nothing more than a little veneer on the top.

Is Bamboo the best option for natural flooring?

When someone thinks of green flooring options, bamboo floors will almost always come up in the conversation.  The reason behind this is that bamboo is not technically a hardwood.  In actuality, it is a form of grass and because of this the maturation process is much less than traditional hard wood and you don't have to replant.  In other words, you aren't chopping down a tree to lay your floors.

In additionl to this, bamboo is thought of a durable floor and maintenance is just as easy as maintaining a traditional hardwood floor.  Although considered to be durable, you should know that the darker the bamboo, the softer the wood.  And while it does have a good reputation for its durability, a bamboo floor could just as easily dent from high heeled shoes or dog's as an oak floor.

Wood floors aka hardwood floors are natural but not necessarily a green flooring option considering that you have to cut down a tree at its maturity (typically 60-100 years) to have them.  That said, hard wood is still natural and as such could be an option to consider.  Like Bamboo, wood floors aren't as durable as some other flooring options but many consider the scratches and dents to be beauty marks made over time.  The look and feel of real hard wood gives that classic contemporary look that you can find in Better Homes & Gardens and there are 200+ year old homes that still have the original flooring.  Compared to acrylic coated laminate floors, there is simply no comparison.

Renewable Hardwood Flooring

If you are worried about the environment, an option that you can check out is renewable hardwood flooring.  Renewable hardwood flooring simply means that the companies that cut down the trees to make hard wood, replace the trees with saplings.  Many hardwood companies will list this as a benefit and you can ask your contractor if the hard wood you are choosing is coming from a renewable hardwood flooring company.


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