Environmentally Friendly Flooring Options

What to consider when choosing more environmentally friendly flooring, including the new linoleum and renewable woods such as bamboo, cork, and eucalyptus.

Actually a grass, not wood, rapidly renewable bamboo flooring's popularity is at an all-time high. Thanks to its good looks, fast growth, and abundance, using stylish bamboo reduces our dependence on hardwoods, which can take 60 years to mature compared with six for bamboo. It's available naturally light or stained dark and in flat or end grain for various looks and strengths.

Another rapidly renewable resource, cork comes from the bark of a tree and can be harvested every nine years. It's soft underfoot, offers good sound insulation, and is naturally water-resistant -- which makes it a good choice for kitchens and baths. Cork will dent, so pads need to be placed under heavy objects such as appliances. Available in tiles or planks, the surface must be waxed or coated in polyurethane.

This fast-growing hardwood is a sustainable product that looks like traditional hardwood. Weyerhaeuser markets eucalyptus flooring called Lyptus, grown on managed plantations in Brazil. The company says Lyptus is harder than oak and less expensive than cherry. It's naturally golden but is available stained in darker colors.

Linoleum is back in the limelight thanks to its environmentally friendly nature. Made with linseed oil, wood flour, and pine resin and backed with jute, Marmoleum from Forbo is getting a lot of attention. Armstrong also offers linoleum to a new generation of consumers.

New Color and Style
Colors range from soft and muted to bright and vibrant. Combining colors creates a number of possible custom looks. Borders and corners can be ordered based on standard patterns or your own design.

Durable and Long-Lasting
Over time, exposure to air actually hardens linoleum, adding to its durability. Yet it remains quiet and comfortable underfoot for a lifetime.

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