A key design element in any room, flooring contributes significantly to the look and feel throughout your home.
Along with complimenting the overall design of your home, flooring must be durable (all the more so with children and pets), functional (non-slip around water), preferably low-maintenance (quick cleanups are on top of most everyone’s list these days) and healthy (indoor air quality, allergens and odors are also all becoming top concerns).
Most flooring types have a “green” solution today, and there are often financial incentives for new home builders (tax benefits or financing options). When choosing these products, be sure the installation is also environmentally sound. Even the “greenest” product will loose its luster if a toxic adhesive is used.
For warmth, soundproofing and a splash of color, look for carpet from the Green Label or Green Label Plus program indicating your purchase will be among the lowest-emitting carpet, adhesive and cushion products on the market.
For timeless beauty, hardwood flooring certified by programs such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) indicate the product comes from domestic forests managed to environmental and social standards. Consider products with formaldehyde-free finishes, and be especially careful with bamboo. While this rapidly renewing hardwood matures in three years with minimal fertilization or pesticides, it is primarily grown in Asia where safety laws and employment practices differ vastly from the US.
Other considerations include cork, a cushiony quiet and comfortable option, natural stone, an easy to maintain and highly-durable option, and linoleum, which is experiencing a resurgence since it’s made from natural raw materials that are available in abundance, can be installed with 100% solvent free, low VOC adhesives and does not require chemicals to maintain.