11 April 2011

Guest Post: Eco-friendly flooring options

I'm often contacted by commercial websites wanting to provide material for Gold Notes. Most of what they're offering is completely irrelevant, so I've said no thanks more times than I can count.

This post from CalFinder, a residential remodeling site, provides a rare instance of gaining some useful information for my readers that I'm happy to share. You'll see some of my comments included with the author's. I've noted those as (JG). So... Thanks, CalFinder. Thanks, Margaret Everton, CalFinder contributor... Let's get down now!

With so many flooring options available, it can be hard decoding the benefits of each and choosing which is best for your own space. While traditional hardwood looks great, many modern materials can create a beautiful and more sustainable floor-making responsible purchasing easier than ever. And even today's hardwood flooring is often built from re-purposed and reclaimed wood. Take a look at what is available to you.

Reclaimed wood

While you may picture beat-up planks, reclaimed wood exhibits no difference than brand-new wood. In fact, the wood is often more mature and detailed, providing a unique yet subtle finish. Companies like Ecohaus sell reclaimed wood in hickory, beech, chestnut and elm, to name a few. You can choose between hard and soft woods and color finishes, and with good conscience get the look you want.

Photo Credit: Southern Wood Floors


Sleek and smooth, concrete flooring is a favorite of ours. Think less the rough surface you rode bikes on as a kid, and more the high-gloss flooring of museums. A high shine terrazzo finished concrete offers as much chic as any other material out there. Not to mention that concrete sustains for years with minimal cleaning and upkeep, and lowers your energy consumption in the process. (JG: Versatile concrete can also be stained to look rustic, fun, classic or pretty much any other look you're after.)


Chic and responsible, bamboo looks beautiful without compromising the environment. Made from sustainable forests, bamboo can create many different and refined looks in a home. Installation is usually simple, due to the manufacturing process that creates smooth planks ready for traditional installation.


With a look similar to parquet, cork flooring offers texture and dimension while helping your home go green. Insulating against extreme temperatures, cork also lowers the noise level in a house. Soft and smooth, cork is extremely durable, and can withstand high usage and traffic. Cork usually provides a warm hue and nice detail, without drawing too much attention to itself. (JG: Cork is especially beneficial to aging in place homes, as it's far less wearing on one's joints than traditionally hard flooring.)

Photo Credit: Cork Flooring Pros


Made from mostly or completely post-industrial recycled content, rubber can hold its own. Popular in highly-trafficked commercial areas such as gyms, rubber comes in a wide range of thickness and details. With so many color options, this is a fun way to go. And don't worry about your place looking like a gym: rubber can be beautiful in a residential setting and offers long life, too.

Photo Credit: Spec-Net

*** Margaret Everton is CalFinder's expert home remodeling blogger. With a background in interior design and energy-efficient living, Margaret loves to create successful spaces. You can read her posts, ranging from kitchen remodeling to beautiful new homes, or get help with your next home improvement project at CalFinder.


  1. concrete? no thanks! unless i was wearing mattresses on my feet!

  2. If I were choosing concrete floors, Deva, I'd opt for a cushioned mat, like those offered by GelPro or ATP Wellness Mats, at my sink and cooktop work stations.

  3. I personally prefer an understated, subtle look to my interiors.. and if I can go green at the same time, then bamboo and cork seem like great options. would particularly look into cork for my ageing joints!

  4. Thanks for your feedback, Jane. There are some great cork options. Put "Cork" in my blog search box for a gorgeous herringbone image.

  5. Amazing description!!!!!
    this is enough compel anyone to read this post and visit again and again.

  6. Glad you liked the post, MI Hardwood! Stop back any time!

  7. Thanks for sharing such a nice information. There are a wide array of flooring options available in today’s market that claim to be the most environmentally friendly. I will choose Bamboo, a popular green flooring option, 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.

  8. I like the look of bamboo flooring, but I've heard many owners complain that it dings too easily.

  9. Thanks for sharing very beneficial information. There are very flooring choices available but i personally like hardwood floors. Because it will increase the beauty of your home as it also improved the beauty of my home. So from my side the best flooring option is hardwood floors. Best of luck for your choice.

  10. I like them, too, but readers need to beware of thickness issues with hardwood in kitchens,lest they find themselves trapping a dishwasher in place or other sizing mishaps in a kitchen redo.


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