When we built our house ten years ago, the choice of the right flooring was a huge decision. Not only did we look at the environmental aspect of each flooring choice but we also took into account durability and cost. It wasn’t easy. Listed below were our flooring choices. (Be sure to check out the infographic below that nicely summarizes your flooring options.)
Some Background on our Flooring Choices.
To give you some background, I live in New Jersey where dampness and humidity are not issues like in Florida. I also had four very active children under the age of 12 who had allergies as well as learning disabilities. (Yes, they aged but I didn’t.)
The house we built is a traditional Bostonian looking home, complete with my love of lanterns.
My goal was to reduce the toxic chemicals used in building this house. At the time, building materials notoriously contained harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC.) Since then, many new healthier building products have cone into the marketplace. (Still do your homework when buying building materials!)
I could have easily written a book on how we decided which flooring options to install. However, the below infographic by Direct Buy nicely sums up the pros and cons of different flooring options from a durability, cost, and environmental aspect. (If you want to see a larger infographic please click HERE.) I couldn’t have done a better job.
Just in case, you would like some perspective as to which flooring choices we made and why, keep reading.
Wood as a Flooring Option.
Majority of the house has oak wood floors. Ceramic or stone tile wasn’t an option in the house due to the cold weather. Radiant flooring is very expensive although very energy efficient.
We didn’t at the time opt for Forest Steward Council certified wood flooring since we didn’t have the budget for it. At the time, FSC flooring was twice the price of regular oak flooring We sourced the wood floors from the United States.
Note, we don’t have dogs so take that into account when choosing flooring.
Carpet as a Flooring Option.
In my last two houses, we had wall to wall carpet throughout the houses. This time, due to my children’s allergies, we purchased a roll of wool carpet which had a jute backing. Most carpet has a plastic type backing with adhesives at the time that contained harmful VOCs.
A carpet company cut the roll into large rugs for each of the bedrooms. The sizes were bound just like a normal rug. Then we used an eco-friendly underlayment under the rugs.
In the event, any of one of my children reacted to the carpet rugs, I could simply pick it up and move it to another part of the house.
Cork as a Flooring Option.
The basement has a floating cork floor for sound, softness, and warmth. I regret not adding another coat of water based polyurethane since the finish of the brand I bought, scratched.
Do not lay Cork Tiles in your basement. You must use a floating floor for basements. Note, floating floors are backed with medium density fiber board. Be sure to check the VOC emissions of any MDF product.
Just an aside, water is a floating floor’s worse enemy. Make sure any water heaters, boilers, or any other heating device has a tub around it or drain near it so that water can not find its way to your floating cork floor.
Ceramic Tile as a Flooring Option.
We use porcelain tile in all the bathrooms and mud area. Porcelain is a subset of ceramic.
Why porcelain vs. ceramic? Porcelain tile is denser and more water impervious than ceramic tiles. Unlike ceramic tile, if you chip porcelain, the chip still contains the orginal color. (To learn more about the difference, read here.)
Purchasing flooring is a big costly decision. Take your time and do your homework. Weigh out the cost, durability and environmental impact of each product compared to your family’s needs.
Join the Conversation.
Let me know in the comments below, how you choose your flooring options.
Presented by DirectBuy.com
- Cork Floors. Eco, Stylish, Hypoallergenic. What’s Not to Love?
- Recycled Leather Tiles. Just What the Green Designer Ordered
- Volatile Organic Compounds: Harmful in Our Home. Learn to Choose Better.
- Is Forbo’s Marmoleum Flooring Safe Enough to Eat?
- Green Nontoxic Remodeling Ideas for Common Home Upgrades