The Latest Trends In Eco-Friendly Flooring – Tile has always been made from materials that are for the most part very abundant in nature. Clay, glass and mud are readily available. But the manufacturing process is a different story. When tile is made, a kiln must be heated to high temperatures and used to glaze the tile. Tile is also very heavy and can use a lot of fuel during transport. Yet this popular flooring material remains high on the list of popular eco-friendly flooring options due to green practices in the manufacturing process.
If you’re considering tile flooring, there are several questions to ask about the product and the production process.
The tile should be made from a large percentage of recycled materials such as clay, glass or concrete that has been reground.
A low amount of waste and pollution should be produced during the production process and energy usage should be minimized. The kilns of today are not the same as they were 30 years ago and have become much more efficient at heating tile during the glazing process. It now takes hours of heating rather than days to achieve the same result.
Glazed porcelain tile that looks like rustic hickory; Shaw Floors
The manufacturer should utilize processes and materials in an environmentally sensitive way. This would include everything from keeping the air clean during the manufacturing process to using minimal fossil fuels during production as well as transport.
There are many tile manufacturers that are producing tile flooring in an eco-friendly manner and this type of flooring is becoming even more popular as design options expand exponentially due to breakthroughs in imaging. Tile that is made to look like wood flooring is both beautiful, extremely durable and maintenance free.
Torlys cork flooring, Canadian Carpet & Tile
Cork flooring has many advantages that make it a smart choice for the home. First, because cork has natural built-in air pockets, it feels very soft and comfortable under foot. It has a certain amount of give to it that makes it easy to walk on. Second, cork naturally absorbs noise and also provides a degree of thermal insulation. Because of this rooms will feel a bit more quiet and hold heat longer than other types of flooring like tile, concrete or laminate. Third, it works well in kitchens and bathrooms because it is more water resistant than other options. Fourth, it is very durable and can often last even longer than vinyl flooring. Lastly, it is a very sustainable materials as it is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree. After a harvest, the bark will regenerate itself with no harm done to the tree.
Bamboo flooring and eco-friendly woven rugs
Bamboo is another flooring option and it is made directly from the bamboo plant. This type of plant has a very quick growth rate which makes it a highly sustainable natural material that is easily replenished. When harvested, the plant is cut, but the roots stay in tact and quickly form another plant for harvest within a few years. Bamboo is also a little quieter than a wood floor. The flooring, if made from the right species, does not scratch as easily as regular wood floors. Floors made from the “Optimum 5.5 Moso” bamboo species are highly resilient and more durable than hardwood. Other species may not be as hard.
Wool carpeting – Wool is a rapidly renewable material, it is fire resistant, biodegradable, compostable and adds a layer of insulation to the floor.
Carpet. Ordinary carpet can pose risks to the environment and your home. The bulk of carpet is made mostly from nylon, a petroleum-based product that is not a renewable resource. But carpet options are available today that do not use precious resources. For example, Shaw is a carpet manufacturer that sells new carpeting made from recycled nylon. Other companies melt down polyester and make new fiber over again.
Many natural materials are also used to make carpeting such as wool. Wool is a natural, renewable resource and has been woven for centuries into both rugs and carpets. Wool is prized for its beauty as well as its durability, warmth and sustainability. Carpets made from wool are fire resistant, stain-resistant and hypoallergenic.
In addition to wool, natural plant fibers are used including seagrass, jute, abaca and coir just to name a few. They can have a tendency to be somewhat scratchy to the touch but they do make good options for high moisture areas.
Hardwood Made From Sustainable Forests. Not all wood floors are made from sustainable forests, but if they are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), they do meet strict requirements relating to approved forest management practices and ecological concerns. Most of the common woods used in flooring are available as FSC certified. Check with your flooring retailer to verify that the wood flooring you are considering is FSC certified.