This piece comes courtesy of Mark Iscaro, director of First Angle, an architecture and interior design practice in Victoria, Australia. Mark is also active on twitter; follow him @First_Angle. Mark looks at six flooring types and appraises their sustainability from the specifier’s point of view.
When it comes to being sustainable with your flooring, there are many options available. Some you would be well aware of, others you may not know about, and even those that you might believe are sustainable, which actually are not. So how do you determine what flooring is for you? Well, first you need to understand what is out there to choose from.
The list of sustainable and supposedly sustainable flooring is a long one, including bamboo flooring, recycled timber flooring, regrowth timber flooring, cork flooring, linoleum flooring and rubber flooring. So let’s take a look at these flooring options and see what the pros and cons are.
Now I know what you’re thinking– linoleum isn’t timber. Amazingly it is, as linoleum is made from pine resin, ground cork dust and wood flour amongst other natural ingredients. Created over 150 years ago, it has been a constant in domestic settings, and more recently has begun to be seen as a sustainable alternative to other types flooring.
It durable and comfortable, as well as being biodegradable, and is possibly the most cost-effective flooring around, but it doesn’t have the beauty of a natural timber floor.
Link: Compare lineoleum products on ESI.info
Bamboo flooring has in recent times hit the headlines as perhaps the most sustainable of flooring options. It is cost-effective, easy to install and has all the beauty of timber floors. There are numerous styles and options to choose from, ranging from natural-finish, strand-woven through to darker, char-finished styles.
The main issue with bamboo flooring is that the glues used in its construction are generally not good for the environment with most using formaldehyde. The use of low-VOC in bamboo flooring is yet to occur, making it a good choice but not a great choice. Other questions with bamboo flooring are its manufacturing and a lack of fair trade agreements. So although a somewhat sustainable option it is probably the least sustainable of all the timber flooring options out there.
Bamboo flooring: list of UK suppliers on ESI.info (more…)