Best Green Flooring - Stone Flooring
Stone is a natural and durable resource.
Choose locally or domestically mined and fabricated stone to avoid
transport-related energy use and pollution. You should opt for stone
that does not have to be sealed, but if you do use a sealer, use a low
VOC product. Stone flooring is easy to clean and highly durable.
Unfortunately, the main drawback is that stone is a finite resource.
Also, mining and fabricating stone requires a great deal of energy-use.
Stone flooring can cost you between $3 - 10 per square foot.
Best Green Flooring - Tile Flooring
highly durable material, tile is often made from recycled content, but
you should again look for locally manufactured products. Tile is also
very easy to clean. Like stone flooring, tile too requires a great deal
of energy to produce. It generally costs $1 - 6 per square foot and is
recommended for your kitchen, bathroom, entryway, or fireplace.
Best Green Flooring - Wood Flooring
FSC Certified Wood Flooring
is a natural, renewable resource which is fairly durable. Look for
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood or salvaged/reclaimed
wood. Also, ask your retailer for a chain-of-custody certification. As
always, avoid sealers with high VOCs and added formaldehyde, although
wood does contain some natural formaldehyde. Wood flooring will run you
$3-6 per square foot and is ideal for most rooms in the home.
Natural oil-based stains and water-based finishes.
Eco-Friendly Floor Stains & Finishes
Water-based stains are great for small projects, but covering
an entire floor with a water-based stain won't work well. Natural
oil stains derived from plants can be costly, but they are free of the
many chemicals contained in acrylic and urethane stains, which the USGBC
Green Home Guide claims can pose potential dangers. However, oil-based
as well as water-based finishes, are great to use for floors. The site
contends that water-based finishes available on the market now wear well
and are easy to apply. Most importantly they produce low emissions.
Although all finishes do contain some toxic chemicals, these are still
safer than the alternatives. Oil finishes may need more frequent
reapplying or have lingering odors, but are still more eco-friendly than
synthetic urethane finishes.
Dispose of unused products and applicators properly.
Stains and Finishes are Hazardous Materials
materials used when staining and finishing flooring should be treated as
hazardous materials, and this includes sponges, rags, and applicators.
Also consider that many of these materials are highly flammable.
I look forward to bringing you more about building with a green ethic.
Sources: Green Home Guide