One of the first things home owners think of when embarking on a home improvement project is pulling up that dusty, stained and frayed old carpet. The next step is deciding what to put in its place – new carpet or some other type of flooring.
A trendy new craze sweeping the country is to replace existing carpet with environmentally friendly flooring such as reclaimed wood, linoleum, cork or bamboo. Such types of flooring are not only helpful to the environment, but are also coveted for their exquisite beauty, texture and form.
People are fast realizing the dangers of using products for the home that can be detrimental to the environment and to the residents who live in the home.
Jumping on the bandwagon, architects, builders and decorators are suggesting flooring products that protect the environment and the people who live and work in the buildings.
Advantages of Choosing Environment-Friendly Flooring Over Carpeting
If you’ve ever pulled up used carpeting in a home or other heavily-trafficked area, you’ve probably been aghast at the debris and filth hidden in the carpet and padding. The truth is that no matter how fanatical you are about vacuuming and shampooing your carpet, residue, mold and mildew will accumulate in the fibers beneath. The carpet then becomes an allergen magnet, hoarding germs that can affect humans and pets who come in contact with it.
Besides the advantage of avoiding allergens, the durability and beauty of wood or other environmentally correct floorings remains undisputed. It is easily cleaned and comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors to fit any dÈcor.
Linoleum is resilient and is made from renewable substances of the earth or recycled remnants, but linoleum itself cannot be recycled because of the glue used to install it. Still, the long life gained from using linoleum has made it a popular choice for homes and offices.
The use of “reclaimed” wood found in old buildings such as barns, hotels or railroad cars is an emerging trend across the country. While the obvious character and patina of these woods are lovely and desirable, the cost can be somewhat prohibitive at around $30 per square foot. Furthermore, shoppers need to be careful to ensure they buy from a trusted source. There is also the danger of running out of wood before the project is completed if you aren’t sure to measure correctly and buy the right amount of materials.
Newer products, such as cork and bamboo are excellent choices to use in buildings that have energy savers such as radiant heat. Besides saving on energy costs, cork and bamboo can be bought for much less than wood and still have the “green tag” of being friendly to the environment.
Transform Your Home or Office with Cork or Bamboo Flooring
The rapid disappearances of our forests and rainforests have led to the research and development of new products in flooring and the reemergence of some old favorites. Cork and bamboo are forerunners in this endeavor.
Cork flooring has been popular in the United States since the 1950s. The avocado and gold colored carpet of the 70s temporarily replaced its prominence in the flooring market, but cork has now found new acceptance in environmentally conscious homes.
Anti-microbial and cushiony soft, cork is an ideal choice for parents who want to keep their homes free of allergens and also enjoy a tranquil existence by diminishing noise.
Bamboo flooring is both resilient and beautiful. Its colors, ranging from natural to amber, create an excellent background for any style of furniture or accessories. The durability of bamboo makes it a superior choice, and because of its rapid growth, bamboo usage helps to preserve our forests.
While bamboo is lightweight, it is as hard as oak, maple or redwood and has the added advantages of expanding and contracting less. It comes in tongue and groove planks for ease of installation. What’s more, bamboo’s natural imperfections lend an air of exclusivity to its look.
Jump On the “Build Green” Bandwagon When You Build or Renovate
Almost every decorating or architectural magazine that you see on the stands contains at least one article about being environmentally conscious when you build or renovate.
Indeed, there are many types of flooring that you can select to conserve energy and preserve our forests and other resources while avoiding excessive costs or future problems. Choosing the appropriate flooring for your home or office is a major decision – one that you will probably live with for a long time.
Choose wisely and “build green” whenever you can. It’s a great way to show that you care about our earth and its future.