Just Floored: Think Green in Your Flooring Choices

Consumers today are contributing to the planet by making an educated and conscious decision regarding the environment and ecofriendly products for their flooring applications.{{more}}

Environmental Protection Agency studies have shown that indoor pollutant levels can be two to five time higher than they are outside. Installation of new carpet and flooring can fill the air with hundreds of volatile organic compounds.

There are several sustainable flooring options that can minimize indoor pollution and mitigate health problems caused by toxic flooring.

When you think green for flooring products what floors are you considering?

Here are some flooring choices:

Bamboo Flooring

Look for products that are Forrest Stewardship Counci certified and have no formaldehyde added. Carpet; look for carpet and rug institutes Green Label plus certification. Area rugs and carpet tiles are preferable to broadloom (wall-to-wall) carpet. Visit Green Label Plus website for a list of all carpets that have been tested and certified as low-emitting products.

Cork Flooring

Look for products that have no formaldehyde added and avoid cork-vinyl composites. Select a low-VOC product.

Linoleum Flooring

Look for “natural Linoleum.” Vinyl flooring is sometimes generically called “linoleum.” Available as sheet or tile flooring.

Rubber Flooring

Some rubber has a significant odor. Ne sure to use in well ventilated areas only. Stone Flooring

Look for locally mined and fabricated stone; avoid buying imported stone. Look for a stone that does not have to be sealed. If using a sealer, select a low VOC product.

Tile Flooring

Look for locally manufactured tiles with high recycled content.

Wood Flooring

Ask your retailer for a chain-of-custody certification. Avoid products with added formaldehyde (sometimes used in engineered/pressed wood backing or sub-layers). Look for sealers and cleaners that are environmentally benign and low VOC emitting.

The one site I found to be great for consumer purchasing is The Green Guide’s Flooring Buying Guide. Search it on line and you will find any flooring green roduct that you are looking for.

As much as we wish our homes would magically grow and change with our needs and priorities, many of us have or will tackle a dreaded home makeover at some point. And what’s not to fear? Between the cost and time, not having the know how, and many potential problems that are bound to come up.

The best way to start is to do your research and find what your budget might be. Just remember not to get bogged down with all the details. Green products have a wide range of information, some which is overwhelming. Keep the project simple and work within the limits of what you are trying to accomplish with ecofriendly flooring.

It is truly easy and cost-competitive to choose ecofriendly floors when your old floors need upgrading. All you have to lose are some pollutants.

Annamarie Amore is the owner of the Amore Interior Design Center. Email her at amoreinteriors@yahoo.com.