Many homeowners who are aiming to design eco-friendly homes shy away from wooden flooring because they don't believe it to be an earth-friendly choice. After all, making a wooden floor requires trees to be cut down, right? While it's certainly true that you can't make a wood floor without cutting down a tree, wood flooring is not nearly as environmentally costly as you might originally think -- especially when you compare it to other options, such as linoleum and ceramic tile, which are made through manufacturing processes that produce a lot of toxic waste.
Environmental Benefits of Wood Floors
Wood offers several advantages over other flooring choices, including:
- When your wood floor becomes worn out, the wood will break down and can even be made into mulch to use in garden beds. Artificial flooring materials, such as laminate and ceramic tile, will sit in landfills for centuries once you're done with them.
- Natural wood floors don't release any volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere like some carpets and artificial flooring materials may.
- You can keep wood floors clean and polished with natural olive oil and lemon juice. You don't need chemical cleaners or polishes like you may for some other surfaces.
- Wood floors last for decades when cared for properly, so you won't be generating a lot of waste by replacing yours often.
How to Ensure Your Wood Floor is as Eco-Friendly as Possible
To make sure you choose the most eco-friendly floor possible, it's important to learn about the wood's source. Make sure the company that manufactures your floor boards replants a tree for every one that is chopped down, and that they minimize the use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides when growing trees. Also, ask the company what they do with the parts of trees that can't be used to make planks and furnishings. Rather than burning the small branches and leaves, do they compost them or make them into mulch?
If you truly don't want to contribute to the death of more trees by installing a wood floor, consider using reclaimed lumber rather than new lumber. Reclaimed wood floors are made from floor boards that were previously used in other homes. Some look essentially brand new, while others have a worn, vintage look that's perfect for a rustic home.
When you're trying to design the most eco-friendly home possible, wooden floors should be on your list of elements to include. Yes, trees have to lose their lives to build a wood floor, but when you compare wood to the alternatives and make sure you choose from a responsible buyer, such as Flooring Gallery, you find that it's really one of the safest, most natural choices around.