When it comes to eco-friendly flooring, wood is one of the most sustainable options. But not all wood is created equal. Douglas fir and pine are the most sustainable softwoods for flooring, thanks to their fast growth rates. Black cherry, maple, and oak are sustainable hardwood flooring options because of their durability and abundance.
Bamboo, cork and palm are also sustainable alternatives similar to wood. This article is your complete guide to the 6 most sustainable options for green wood floors, from FSC-certified wood floors to bamboo floors. Reclaimed wood is one of the greenest choices available. It is sourced from old warehouses, freight wagons, military structures, underground docks, dismantled houses and even logs extracted from the bottom of rivers.
Recycled wood is usually more expensive due to the extra labor required to recover it, clean it, re-mill it if necessary, and remove nails that may still be embedded in the wood. But if you can afford the price tag, it prevents wood from rotting or ending up in a landfill, reduces the need to plant and harvest more trees, and perpetuates the formula of reducing, reusing and recycling. Because recycled wood is considered recycled material, it meets the “Materials & Resources” criteria to obtain LEED certification. Companies such as Oldewood Reclaimed Wood Flooring show here the beauty of reclaimed oak, maple, Douglas fir and heart pine. Bamboo floors are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to wood for those who want the beauty and durability of wood without the potential environmental impacts that come with clearing forests. Plant fiber is naturally antibacterial, water resistant and resistant.
In addition, bamboo grows so quickly that hardwood forests, which have taken decades to mature, will not be depleted. Bamboo is 13% harder than maple and 27% harder than northern red oak, while it expands and contracts 50% less. Cork comes from cork oak bark, which can be harvested safely so as not to harm the tree. In fact, the crust regenerates in three years to be harvested again, making it a particularly renewable resource. Because it's dense and a bit spongy, cork is especially suitable for rooms where you might be on your feet for a long time or where you need to absorb a little noise, such as kitchens and basements. Palm trees that no longer produce coconuts are getting a second life as a building material.
This variety of palm flooring includes Flat Grain, Edge Grain, Sugar Deco, and Red Palm. Both palm and bamboo floors can be bonded with formaldehyde or other chemicals that you wouldn't want to release gases in your home. Before buying, find out what kind of binders were used to make the floor. If the floor must be installed with glue, make sure it's water-based. And finish the floor with a finish with a low VOC content or without volatile organic compounds.
One of the most sustainable types of wooden floors out there is bamboo. Bamboo is 13 percent harder than maple and 27 percent harder than northern red oak, so it lasts longer and can withstand more use than conventional hardwood floors. Soils are naturally resistant to water, mold and insects, and are sustainable as bamboo grows quickly and abundantly. Ash floors may be one of the most durable wood flooring options on the market but ash trees in North America are currently facing a plague of emerald borer beetles. So it's now more important to verify that your product comes from an FSC-certified forest.
If you're looking for eco-friendly flooring options for your home, consider these sustainable wood flooring options: Douglas fir and pine (softwoods), black cherry, maple and oak (hardwoods), bamboo, cork and palm.