Also known as recycled flooring, salvaged flooring from older homes and buildings can be scrubbed clean, kiln dried and checked with a metal detector to be certain it’s free of nails and staples. Reclaimed hardwood floors are available from specialty companies that can be found through a contractor or a local home improvement store.
An increasingly popular choice for flooring is bamboo which is actually a grass that grows in clumps, not a tree. It is fast growing and quickly renewed. Trees take dozens of years to reach maturity, while the stalks of this plant can be harvested in four to six years, making it a highly renewable resource. The plants are sliced and carbonized with steam, and then purified with a number of different chemicals and natural products. After being pressed and glued, it is then kiln dried for extra strength. Bamboo flooring is especially helpful for sufferers of allergies. While offering similar shine, strength and durability as hardwood floors, bamboo is much less expensive to install and comes in a wide variety of finishes, patterns and colors, making it a very easy option for decorating.
Of all the eco-friendly flooring options available, cork is likely the most familiar to do-it-yourself home decorators. This flooring is made from the bark of the oak tree and during harvesting the trees is not harmed so it can produce more material for flooring in the future. The tree will simply re-grow its bark, which can be harvested again in eight to ten years. Cork flooring requires very little adhesive or nails to install, and it is naturally springy even with underflooring treatments. Due to its natural anti-mildew properties, this material is ideal for bathrooms and kitchens and is available in a wide array of colors and patterns.
As homeowners and builders begin to learn more about the green choices available to them when purchasing building supplies, more and more are making decisions based on how it affects the environment. There is no shortage of choices available for even the most discriminating decorator. By using greener, more earthy friendly building materials, homeowners can feel better about their decorating choices for many years to come.