You can find many large home improvement stores slapping an eco-friendly sticker on a wide array of flooring products. Are these labels legit? Are these flooring options really eco-friendly? What is the best choice for your home? What the heck is eco-flooring anyway?
The following is 7 Things about eco-flooring you need to know before you buy.
- Eco-flooring is good for your home and your health, not just the earth. The days of picking out a chemically filled carpet, tile, or treated hardwood floor are getting passé, and fast. Sure those options remain. But, many people agree; Eco-flooring isn't just the newest thing, in many respects, it's the greatest. Innovations in manufacturing, design, and materials have led to a more unique blend of choices that look great and are also eco-friendly.
- Eco-flooring is a phenomenal value. Thanks to these looks, features, and new innovations, one could argue that in just a few years, eco-friendly flooring might be the preferred choice in the majority of homes. With sustainability and the environment becoming not just hot political topics, but an important part of the decision-making process for millions of people, eco-flooring products are not going away. Due to rising competition in this fast growing market, prices are not as out of control as you might expect.
- Look before you leap. Don't be fooled by pretty pictures in the catalogue, or even seeing a single plank at Lowe's or Home Depot. Remember, the tech gods created photo editing software for a good reason, to cover flaws, drawbacks, and the truth. Even that single plank at the lumber store doesn't take into consideration what a completed floor will look like. Take some time to go on home improvement websites. Ask the salesperson, "What can I expect this floor to look like in 3, 5, 10 years?" Or, I have dogs, cats, and pet pigs...can this floor handle pets?" The answer to those questions should impact your overall decision.
- Don't forget maintenance! Imagine how nice it will be to finally own a green floor. Then imagine how you'll feel a year later when you're, once again, getting ready to maintain it. A good floor should be seen and not constantly serviced. Here's some things to look out for... Cork flooring is known for its sensitivity to light. It can also be permanently damaged by heavy objects. So, if you have dogs, cats, or are the type of person who moves around their furniture a lot, be wary. That's just one example. Bamboo flooring, while renowned for being eco-friendly offers a pretty mundane look. Also, because bamboo usually isn't allowed to mature fully before it's made into flooring; don't be surprised if it ends up cracking or not holding up well after a few years of use. Search for complaints, reviews, and problems of both bamboo and cork flooring to learn more about the drawbacks before you fall for the pretty pictures or buy strictly because of the eco-flooring label. If you find that you can live with and/or deal with the cons and want to strictly consider the pros of these flooring options, then you will have made an educated decision worth sticking by...which leads to...
- Search for the Good and most definitely, the Bad. You can't ignore facts. While bamboo, cork, and hardwood flooring are renewable resources, they have their drawbacks. These drawbacks can sometimes outweigh the fact that they might be eco-friendly. For instance, bamboo might be cheap and readily available, but the great percentage of bamboo has been made with formaldehyde filled glues. If you're not familiar with this poison, governments across the world caution against its use due to scientific studies that link its use to various cancers that affect the respiratory system. As already discussed cork has maintenance issues, but nothing compared to bamboo. As for regular hardwood flooring, while the look is varied and natural, hardwood has been known to cup, crown, and have limited install options. These factors can make people turn away from them, but if you read on, you'll find out that there is hardwood flooring that doesn't have these problems.
- Don't underestimate hardwood. People who make up their minds about hardwood flooring are looking in the past. There is a huge international push for sustainable practice that produce hardwood flooring that is truly eco-friendly. There is flooring that has come from managed forests as well as innovative eco-flooring like Staybull Flooring that uses reclaimed strips of hardwood. These strips are then, using formaldehyde free glues and a proven green floor finish, made to produce a green floor that is actually stronger than hardwood, bamboo, and definitely cork. Miraculously, these floors also resist cupping, cracking, and warping. This brand of eco-flooring is basically manufactured like bamboo, but without the bad chemicals, and offers greater variety of looks to match your unique taste. As you can see, with innovations like that, you can't overlook hardwood when it comes to eco-friendly flooring.
- Never settle. Don't ever let anyone or any sales person pressure or guilt you into buy any one brand or type of eco-flooring option. It's your home. While not belittling the environmental aspect of this sector of the flooring industry, it's still YOUR money. And, YOU are the only one who has to live with your new floor. Let's face it, you don't want to buy a floor you'll end up regretting. Sure, you'll always be able to tell guests and neighbors that your floor is environmentally friendly. But, deep inside, if you hate your floor because it doesn't fit your lifestyle, then what good is it really?
When it comes to may eco-flooring options, the more research you do, the better you will feel about the choice you make.
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