Green design is a hot topic among architects, builders, and interior designers. Industry professionals also call this trend sustainable design because of its focus on sustainability of construction materials, environment, society, and economic factors. Green home designs are also becoming popular amongst homeowners. Wood flooring can qualify as a green building material if it meets certain criteria. This includes choosing reclaimed wood, fast-growing species, domestic hardwood, or certified sustainable wood. Green flooring is the perfect way to start redesigning your home into a sustainable dream.
Reclaimed wood flooring is found in many places such as vintage houses, barns, buildings, warehouses, and bridges. Most of these old structures were constructed of quality hardwoods and contain unique gems like hand-crafted oak flooring. There are also opportunities to keep damaged old-growth trees from cluttering city landfills by redirecting them for use as building materials. Using reclaimed or recycled wood provides builders with premium hardwoods while being kind to the environment. As an added bonus, this product has a lot of character due to nail holes and other surface markings. It is one of the best green flooring materials available.
Rapidly renewing plant species, such as bamboo, can also be used as green flooring material. It is becoming a hot trend in new green home designs and many interior designers like bamboo because of its durability and how well it tolerates humidity. Bamboo flooring is made from hardy bamboo stalks which are ready to harvest in only about five years. Solid bamboo flooring consists of long planks which can be installed with either nails or glue. Another option is engineered bamboo flooring which features a layer of bamboo adhered to a wood base.
Bamboo flooring planks are available in horizontal and vertical grain patterns. A horizontal grain pattern showcases the characteristic joints or nodes seen in bamboo stalks, while a vertical grain pattern shows the side of the bamboo strip for a sleeker appearance. Bamboo flooring comes in a natural finish and a darker shade called carbonized which results from a steaming process.
Domestic Hardwood and Certified Sustainable Wood
In keeping with green home design, wood flooring should be harvested from a domestic source, since it will take less energy and resources to transport the materials. When looking at flooring suppliers, make sure that they obtain their wood from a FSC-certified forest. The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit group which provides accreditation for agencies who grant forest certifications. This certification guarantees that foresters maintain sustainable growing and culling practices which ensure the lasting health of the forest. This means that choosing a domestic, certified source for oak flooring would qualify as a green choice.
Laminate wood flooring is an easy-to-install option when selecting real wood materials. Sometimes called engineered wood flooring, this product uses younger growth trees to create a consistent, reliable product with little waste. Engineered laminate wood flooring typically features a plywood base with pre-finished wood on top. Besides saving old growth trees, engineered laminate wood flooring is also sold in uniform planks that are easier to install than solid wood planks.