Flooring gets green with cork

<p>Environmentally sensitive and energy efficient flooring can add beauty to your home and save you money. Going green doesn’t mean you have to give up style or functionality. Think of cork as an example. Although we may think of cork as a new “green” product, it has actually been in use since the end of the 19th century.</p>

 

Cork, bamboo part of new home trend


 

 

Even flooring is going green.

 




Environmentally sensitive and energy efficient flooring can add beauty to your home and save you money.





Going green doesn’t mean you have to give up style or functionality. Think of cork as an example. Although we may think of cork as a new “green” product, it has actually been in use since the end of the 19th century. Cork farming is strictly controlled so that cork can only be harvested from mature trees. Cork is also a renewable resource.





Cork is known for its sound insulation properties. It will decrease noise levels in the room it is placed in. It will also retain heat. Visually, cork is a warm material that comes in a variety of colours and lovely patterns. What should be remembered with cork is that it could be allowed to “rest” in the room it will be installed in for about 72 hours before it is laid down. As well, it should have a good quality underpadding as that is where its durability will come from. Additionally, it will need to be sealed.





Cork works best in ground or upper-level floors. It does not do well in basements where it may be damp. As in any floor covering, you should look for a warranty. Cork floors can last as long as 25 years.





Bamboo is another renewable natural resource. Like cork, it comes from strictly controlled farms and the material is made from the bamboo stalks that are shredded. This flooring is shaped into laminate planks, as well as tongue and groove planks just like wood flooring. It is very durable and easy to install. Another benefit is it has low levels of VOC or volatile organic compounds; in other words, the gases released by new building materials. Like cork, bamboo has to “rest” in the room it is to be installed in for 72 hours.





The room bamboo is installed in should have a temperature of between 16 to 21 C, and the room’s temperature should not vary by more than 15 degrees. The humidity of the room should remain between 40 and 60 per cent.





Recycled rubber flooring is another option for the home. This versatile product works well in basements, laundry rooms, workshops, garages, mudrooms and breezeways. This flooring can look quite minimalist and stylish, as well as easy to look after. You would never know by looking at a recycled rubber floor that it is made from recycled tires.





Salvaged wood flooring is another decorating option. Taken from old barns, houses, factories and churches, salvaged wood has wood planks in widths that are hard to find in regular flooring stores. This wood tends to come from old growth forests so the wood is denser, the planks thicker and you can find wood types that are not available anymore.





Salvaged wood does not mean cheap, however. Because this wood had a previous life, nails may have to be removed from it along with paint. This adds to the cost. However, using reclaimed wood keeps it out of the local dump and it also means you get a wood floor with instant character.





Concrete is a chameleon. It can be styled and coloured to look like stucco, tiling or stone. It is very easy to clean and wears well. For the energy-conscious homeowner, it brings an added benefit as it absorbs heat during the day and radiates it back at night.





Flooring today can be good for the environment, as well as for your home.





Consider going green and gorgeous.





For more information: visit www.SustainableBuilding.com, go to Links section, and then go to: Green Building Materials.


 
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