Do you want to do your bit saving the environment? How about investing in eco floors? There are plenty of solutions on the market, and they don’t necessarily have to be expensive or lack in design. We’ve listed five alternatives to traditional carpet and hardwood floors.
Bamboo is a type of grass with a massive growth rate. The grass matures within 5 years and should it not be harvested, the grass will break and go to waste. Compared to hardwood, which takes 30 years to mature, bamboo is definitely the sustainable option. Cynics will note that bamboo grows in Asia and predominantly in China, which means that when imported, it damages its green credentials slightly.
Bamboo is considerably harder than traditional hardwood flooring and it handles temperature changes well. Compared to timber, which grows and shrinks after seasons, bamboo remains static. When available as engineered flooring, make sure that the bamboo strips aren’t put together with toxic glue, that will make them far from eco friendly!
If recycle and reuse are words that resonate well with you, reclaimed flooring will also strike a chord. These floors have been salvaged from old buildings, factories and schools and can be as old as the property itself. Parquet in particular are hard wearing floors, and a good investment that will last a lifetime. There are plenty of different option, but reclaimed floors have one thing in common: they’re original and unique. Additionally, investing in re-used vintage floors means that many trees will be spared and not cut down.
A great sound and thermal insulator, cork reduces heat loss in rooms, has great elasticity and is soft underfoot. Kitchens and bathrooms are perfect areas for cork, as the material doesn’t absorb water. It is also resistant to bacteria (due to a waxy substance called Suberin) and doesn’t rot. Cork is very sustainable as no trees are being sacrificed. Instead the cork oak tree is stripped every 10 years and will completely re-grow, without damage. A tree can be harvested around 20 times in its life time.
Used as underlay or as an alternative to traditional, jute is a sustainable fibrous material best suited for bedrooms. Since it’s a soft and fine material, it’s not ideal in high traffic areas, and it’s also sensitive to humidity.
Coir is the most durable of the natural grasses/plants as well as the hardest wearing of all natural fibres (source: Eco-Floors). It’s made from coconut husk fibres, so it’s not particularly soft, but it does provide excellent gripping for stairs. It is also 100% biodegradable. An adhesive underlay will make the coir last longer, it will also provide excellent heat and sound insulation. When exposed to strong sun light the carpet can weaken and is consequently less resistant to wear and tear.
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Image sources: Housetohome.co.uk