TIP 3 – Keep your floors healthy for all with eco alternatives
If you are searching for healthy, eco-friendly flooring, then cork or wood are likely your best choices. They are easy to keep clean, don’t harbor mites and dust, don’t off gas and definitely beat out carpet in every department. The small fibers and deep crevices make carpet a sink hole that accumulate dust, mites and toxins over the years, and is really hard to keep clean. Most carpets are also made with unhealthy ingredients and treated with nasty chemicals that you don’t want JR crawling around on!
The best, most sustainable option for wood flooring is to simply make use of wood floors that were originally in a home (maybe even hidden under old carpeting – but always re-furbish with toxin-free finishes). Unfortunately, not all of us have this option. If you are planning to install new wood flooring, my first choice would be to use reclaimed woods from beams or fallen trees, or a rapidly renewable new material like bamboo. Bamboo may sound ‘green’, but don’t forget to closely examine the adhesives and finishes when working with bamboo – as a lot of cheap bamboo flooring on the market is not produced consciously. Three great brands to check out are Ecotimber, Teragren and Plyboo.
When you are sourcing a new flooring material and are looking for something soft and sound-absorbing, my hands-down favorite flooring material is cork. Cork is an amazing rapidly-renewable material that is taken off the outside of cork oak trees without harming them, and it grows back in 6-9 years. It is soft, durable, hypoallergenic, and provides great insulation. It has all of the things that people like about carpeting (kid-friendly, soft under foot, sound-absorbing), without any of the environmental or health concerns. In addition to cork’s awesome eco & physical attributes, the material is community sustaining as well. Almost all of it comes from Portugal where the cork industry sustains entire villages. My two favorite companies for cork flooring are
CorkConcepts and Wicanders.
The best carpeting options are natural fiber rugs (like wool, organic cotton and silk) that can be picked up, vacuumed under and cleaned when needed. For some sustainable and super stylish rug options check out SHAW carpet for a good nontoxic carpet option, or Odegard for carpets you can roll out.