Wood is the most popular type of flooring material. The material features a natural luster and graininess that add character to a living space. However, regular wood flooring is not eco-friendly at all. In fact, thousands of trees are being cut down illegally every year to make wood flooring. Miles and miles of forests are being destroyed because wood flooring is very high in demand.
You can achieve the distinct look of wood flooring without contributing to the abhorrent practice of destroying forests with eco-friendly hardwood flooring. The material for this type of wood flooring is either recycled, reclaimed, or salvaged wood. And to guide you through the different types of eco-friendly hardwood floors to consider, check out our list of alternatives to regular hardwood flooring:
Reclaimed hardwood is made from wide planks of wood that’s been reused from abandoned barns, factories, and century homes. The wood is “harvested” by salvagers that take down an old structure and haul away any usable wood.
The harvested wood planks are sorted, de-nailed, and kiln dried. After processing the wood, it is planed, milled into tongue and groove. Finally, the wood is shaped for easy installation. Reclaimed wood usually come in different sizes and width. For an interesting looking flooring, you can use random sized reclaimed hardwood. Staining and finishing the wood is done on site after installation. Additional treatment could be done to achieve a specific look.
Reclaimed wood flooring is very durable and resistant to moisture. The flooring will last for a lifetime. Through years of use, the wood also develops a beautiful, distressed patina that will only look better for years to come.
Bamboo flooring is another excellent wood flooring option that’s extremely eco-friendly. The material is made from mature bamboo. Bamboo is actually a type of grass but the wood shares similar characteristics as hardwood. The material is very durable, easy to maintain, and easy to install.
What makes bamboo sustainable is that it only takes 3 to 5 years for bamboo to mature. Bamboo is also abundant especially in Asia. The material is not only durable; it is also light with an array of grains. Bamboo flooring can be stained or customized according to your specifications.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring is comprised of layered plywood or thin sheets of wood with a veneer finished wood. This wood flooring is durable, eye-catching and totally sustainable. The wood is also more stable than hardwood because it is engineered. It is resistant to warping, moisture, and temperature changes. The best type of engineered wood flooring is one that’s FSC-certified and formaldehyde-free.
Cork oak makes a great alternative to hardwood flooring. The material shares similar elements to hardwood but is more eco-friendly. The material is harvested from the bark of the cork oak, which grows in the Mediterranean forests, without cutting down the tree.
What makes cork oak unique is that the material resists bacteria and insects naturally. Cork is also a fire retardant, easy to maintain, and allergen-free. The material can be treated and stained to achieve a customized finish! Cork is surprisingly durable too. With proper maintenance, it should last up to 30 years.