If you install the right type of flooring with an eco-conscious design, you will not only be doing good for the environment but also adding style and value to your home. The days are gone where more eco-friendly options were plain and sacrificed sophistication to save the planet. Nowadays more and more top designers are working with sustainable materials, to give your home a fantastic and unique flair while reducing emissions at the same time. The due popularity of recycled materials and the trend of sustainability means that the more eco-friendly your home, the higher its value. Here are some trending eco-flooring materials that won’t compromise on style.
Sustainable Woods and Alternatives
Wooden floors aren’t often thought of as the most sustainable option due to the effect of deforestation on the environment. This depends, however, as certain types of wood, tree bark and grass can be a perfect eco-flooring material.
Cork is actually a tree bark, harvested in the Mediterranean. It’s taken from the tree without the need to cut it down and grows back every three years. This makes it a perfectly renewable resource as it doesn’t cause deforestation. Cork also has some other interesting properties which make it convenient for flooring. It’s antimicrobial which means it can help to reduce allergens. It’s also fire-resistant, insect repellent, and easy to maintain. It’s a very durable wood, even though it appears soft and light. It can last from between ten and thirty years. Cork is also versatile and can be coloured and set into various designs.
Bamboo is a type of grass that is similar in many ways to hardwood. The average tree takes twenty years to grow to full size but bamboo only takes three to five. This makes it a much more sustainable resource. Bamboo, similar to cork, is also versatile and available in different grains and colours. It’s easily customisable, which makes it a fun choice.
Reclaimed hardwood can come from various sources. It is either pulled from recycled flooring which has been salvaged and reused or made from older trees that were cut down several years ago. Ensure that any recycled hardwood you use is FSC certified, which will guarantee it’s harvested trees have been allowed to regenerate naturally, or have been replaced.
There are a few more surprising materials on the rise, and trending with flooring designers at the moment. There are plenty of natural alternatives to wood and stone which can add a unique look to your home. Here are some examples.
Made from the toughest part of the cowhide, leather flooring is actually becoming a trend. It’s limited however in its use, as it can’t withstand much traffic. Leather is more suited to a bedroom or a small space like inside a closet. It’s soft and warm appeal makes it an attractive option to decorate parts of the room, and create areas of texture. One of the most fantastic qualities of leather is the way it wears. This goes for flooring as well as clothing. The wrinkled effect it picks up after a while is charming, and if properly maintained will last a long time. Be careful not to get it wet as it isn’t very resistant to damp or mould.
Rubber is a natural material but it is often recycled. Rubber flooring and underlay usually come from old car tyres. It’s a great all-rounder because it’s durable, water-resistant and soft. It’s more attractive than you might think as well and can be dyed and used in a number of creative designs. It’s versatile and can come in many colours and patterns.
Linoleum is made of natural ingredients. It’s usually a combination of cork dust, tree resins, wood flour, ground limestone, linseed oil, and pigments. With the correct sealant, it’s water-resistant and fire retardant, and not to mention long-lasting. Linoleum can take a lot of wear and tear. It’s also easy to color and can be worked into any design. It’s not only easy and cheap to repair but incredibly durable. Linoleum has been popular for decades and it’s easy to see why. It’s the natural alternative to vinyl and first took over in the 1940s. The numerous benefits of linoleum are therefore historically well-known.
More Recycled Options
Environmentally-conscious designers are investigating more and more with recycling, upcycling and finding a new use for just about anything, and they haven’t stopped with flooring. Sustainable floors are constantly being created in plenty of new and exciting ways.
Glass tiles are made from recycled bottles, varying in colour. They are extremely effective in the kitchen or bathroom. The recycled glass captures the light wonderfully and helps to scatter it around the room. Glass is also very durable as a tile material due to its non-absorbent quality. It won’t suffer from damp or mould making it perfect for bathrooms. Glass tiles can be used to create elegant mosaic designs, making them very popular. They can get a little bit slippery, so be warned about the pros and cons. They might also take a little more time and money to install, but the stunning results will be well worth it. Your original floors will impress for years to come.
What could be more sustainable than making the most of the original underlying concrete itself? Designers are experimenting with this sub-flooring trend more and more. Recycled materials such as glass and ceramic can be added to the effect and the concrete can be brought out in colours. The original flooring is painted or tinted to the owner’s desire and left on display to give a forever-lasting, striking impact. Concrete will never need replacing and will take any weight.
Carpets can be made from recycled materials as well. There has been a lot of experimentation with this idea, from used fabrics to even plastic soda bottles. Many carpets are also made from naturally sustainable materials such as quality wools, sisal, and seagrass.
These particular carpets are made from the agave sisalana. The plant is thought to have originated in Mexico but now is found all over the world, making it a very sustainable resource. The sisalana plant fibres are woven into a rope-like texture. This is then coated to make it stain-resistant. The result is very durable and adds a bold amount of texture. This doesn’t make sisal carpets uncomfortable however and they will be softened in time underfoot.
Jute rugs are woven from plant fibres too and the make-up is similar to that of burlap. Jute comes from the corchorus plant which is tall and flowering. The majority of the plant is cultivated along the Ganges river, where it thrives on the monsoon weather. Jute rugs are best for low-traffic areas in the home however as they are not as durable as sisal carpets. The fibres are much finer and more delicate. This means jute rugs and carpets are very soft and suitable for bedroom decorations.
There are new trends coming out all the time in sustainable home decor, so keep watching this space. Designers and manufacturers are constantly finding new renewable sources for your interiors, and their growing popularity means added value to your home. Flooring is no exception with plenty of options. Make sure you make the right choice for you. With proper maintenance and care, you can build an eco-friendly home that you can enjoy for years to come, without compromising on style.
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