Sustainable alternatives for the materials required in building homes are a wonderful choice whether you are seeking to do your bit in protecting the environment or just looking for other options. These alternative options are sustainable in the sense that there is no long lasting damage done to the forests or environment in procuring them and that the resources are renewable and able to replenish themselves in relatively short amount of time. Many have doubts regarding the quality, durability and appearance of these new alternatives when taken into account the goals of the said room or place, not to mention the uncertainty in choosing when faced with all these options. So here is a list of options for sustainable flooring briefly explained.
If you are a student of botany, you would know that grass is the most resilient of all the plants in the world as it does not need much motivation to grown back and bamboo is literally the largest member of grass family. In 6 to 7 years bamboo reaches its full maturity when it can be harvested and will grow back from the root where as traditional hardwood takes 20 to 120 years to mature.
Bamboo is as hard and durable as normal wood flooring, comes in many colors, natural shades or stained, and looks just as beautiful as traditional hardwood. The downside of bamboo flooring is the maintenance as you would need to be extra careful when cleaning.
Cork comes from the bark of cork oak tree and in every 9 to 12 years the bark is harvested by careful axing without harming its trunk. The bark is then processed and turned into corks, tiles and planks that are used for flooring. As bark grows back again and can be harvested later without harming the tree it is a renewable resource.
Cork flooring is springy and does not easily dent, soft to the feet and absorbs noise, comes in many colors and has beautiful grainy patterns. The downside to cork flooring is that it absorbs water and other liquids easily.
Linoleum is a mix of organic matter such as linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, mineral fillers and others applied on burlap or canvas for support and is biodegradable. Though not as commonly used anymore, it is hypoallergenic and so used in areas mostly by people with respiratory problems and allergies.
Reclaimed wood flooring is made from wood that has been rescued from various old structures such as barns and warehouses, coal mines, wine barrel or wood recovered from river bottom. Reclaimed wood is thought to be more stable than new wood as it is exposed to environmental changes for longer time than new wood.
Laminate flooring is made of layered resin and fiber that are fused together to form planks that fit into each other. Other include vinyl sheets and tiles, earthen floor made of dirt, clay and straw with linseed oil and bio-glass from recycled glass though mostly used for counter tops.