The flooring you choose for your home is one of the most important choices you’ll make in terms of home improvement, and this is especially true if you’re going for an Eco-friendly solution. Because your feet will be touching the floor of your home almost 100% of the time, choosing a material that is both comfortable and environmentally sound is crucial.
Materials such as linoleum or cork are natural, and they have a number of beneficial characteristics, such as being germ-resistant, pleasing to the eye and will last a lifetime.
What is Eco-Friendly Flooring?
In order for a flooring material to be classified as “Eco-friendly,” it must meet a number of characteristics. One of the most important of these is antimicrobial properties. Due to the fact that people constantly walk on floors, and drag in dirt and debris from outside, this can become one of the dirtiest areas of the home.
This is especially true when children or pets are present. Eco-friendly flooring must also be highly durable. It will typically be comprised of colors that will permeate the entirety of the material, which means the color will remain vibrant even as the flooring material ages.
When it comes to price, eco-friendly flooring materials will cost about as much as vinyl. The difference between these materials and vinyl, however, is that vinyl manufacturing harms the environment. Many websites provide energy solutions that are environmentally friendly. Despite costing the same amount, vinyl is far less durable over the long term. Sharp objects can easily damage it, and the pattern on the surface may easily fade depending on how much the floor is used.
Eco-friendly Flooring is Simple to Clean
Few people like cleaning floors, especially when the material makes it tedious. This is one of the biggest downsides to carpets. While carpeting may be comfortable to walk on, it stains and becomes dirty easily, and if it is not properly cared for, it may need to be cleaned by a professional or replaced completely, which is costly. Eco-friendly materials such as linoleum are simple to clean and maintain.
Price-wise, it will cost from two to four dollars per square foot. However, it will need to be installed by a professional, and this will typically increase the price from five to seven dollars per square foot.
When linoleum flooring is properly cared for, it can last for longer than thirty years. Linoleum is comprised of materials, which are both biodegradable and renewable such as linseed oil. It is free of many of the health concerns that come with vinyl. Any spills and stains that appear on linoleum are easily remedied by water and soap. For those who are fashion conscious, linoleum now comes in an array of different patterns and colors.
It should also be noted that linoleum flooring is static resistant, which means that it will tend to repel dirt as opposed to collecting it. When this material is installed, it is important to make sure the seams are sealed, so that the floor doesn’t collect gunk. Linoleum tolerates a lot of traffic while still providing a bit of cushion beneath the feet.
Cork Flooring Material
With proper maintenance, cork flooring will last longer than fifty years. It is slightly more expensive than linoleum but is sustainable due to the fact it is taken from tree bark that can re-grow. Should you choose to buy and install cork flooring for your home, be sure that the material is high density, as this gives the material higher durability.
One of the biggest advantages of this material is that it is waterproof, while still providing cushioning for your feet. This material also has another impressive characteristic: it absorbs sound. This means that when someone walks on it, or objects are dropped onto it, the material will flex slightly, making less noise than other flooring materials.
Additionally, this reduces the chances of the floor becoming scratched. Cork flooring is comprised of tiles that are 12×12 inches and the surface will be textured.
As for cleaning, the best option for cork flooring is to use a damp mop, as opposed to water and soap. The manufacturer will provide you with specific instructions, but the same cleaning methods that are applied to a hardwood floor should be sufficient for cork. Cork requires a bit more maintenance than linoleum and will need to be treated with a sealant every three to four years to avoid moisture and scratches.