Sustainable Types of Home Flooring: Environmentally-Friendly from the Ground Up

environmentally-friendly types of home flooring

Environmentally-friendly and sustainable flooring is rising in popularity on the contemporary home improvement market.

You shouldn’t let a bunch of tree-hugging environmentalists just walk all over you unless, of course, you are environmentally friendly flooring. Sustainable flooring is rising in popularity among the different types of flooring on the contemporary home flooring market.

We’re not surprised. The assorted types of flooring that comprise the “environmentally friendly flooring” group make it a snap to satisfy nearly any taste in color, style, or texture. Whether your aging home needs a thorough detox or just a patch of new home flooring here and there, types of flooring considered green and sustainable are readily available. There are even some sustainable flooring materials that are quite exotic.

Some of our favorite types of environmentally-friendly flooring materials include:

Cork Types of Flooring

Showrooms for kitchen floors feature more and more cork tiles. Made from the bark of a species of Oak, durable cork is environmentally friendly flooring at its finest. Cork is processed from bark; the tree renews its bark after it has been stripped. Alternatively, cork floor tiles can made from recycled materials, such as the stoppers from wine bottles.

Although tough, Cork is also soft. It has more “give” than a hard tile surface. Anyone spending long hours in the kitchen on a daily basis knows how important this is. Cork tile is waterproof, antibacterial, slip-resistant, and comes in a rainbow of colors.

Linoleum Home Flooring

Hah! You didn’t expect to hear about linoleum in this column, did you? Most of us confuse linoleum and vinyl types of flooring, thinking the names synonymous and the material identical. The opposite, however, is true.

Natural, recyclable materials are the primary ingredients of linoleum. Unlike vinyl, it is not a petroleum product. Not to be confused with vinyl flooring, true linoleum comes from renewable, natural materials.

No petroleum products are constituent to linoleum. Armstrong, for example, makes its linoleum from natural resins, jute fiber, natural pigments, cork powder, linseed oil, limestone, and wood powder. The manufacturer does not stop there, either, as both the wood and cork powders derive from postindustrial waste made by other industries.

Recycled Rubber Floors

Given all the damage to the rainforests that one way or another involves the rubber tree, one might not want to regard rubber as source of environmentally friendly flooring. However, recycled rubber certainly is.

Why throw good rubber away? Recycle it. In addition, rubber flooring rarely requires harsh chemical detergents to stay clean. Just as they do in commercial kitchens, take’em out back and hose’em down- which is easy to do, because rubber tiles require no adhesive to remain in place.

Bamboo and Eucalyptus Types of Flooring

Bamboo trees grow quickly, far quicker than the trees comprising hardwood flooring. Many people doubt that bamboo, due to its light weight, can make a quality floor product; however, this sustainable flooring material certainly does. Bamboo floors can withstand everyday punishment, and they are simple to keep clean, without the use of harsh chemicals- you can put to use many of the techniques we discussed as natural carpet cleaning solutions.

Eucalyptus, too, grows quickly, enhancing its reputation as high quality sustainable flooring. Eucalyptus is hard and dense enough for kitchen applications and its receptivity to a variety of finishes commonly applied to hardwood floors is making Eucalyptus a favorite among consumers of environmentally friendly flooring.

Home Flooring from Reclaimed Scrap Wood

I’ve saved my aesthetic favorite for last. A whole industry has grown around wood reclamation, or recycling wood from other structures. Often, these woods are gorgeous hardwoods. You can save them from destruction or a slow, rotting, senseless demise by shopping one of the numerous dealers in reclaimed wood around the country. It will take more work to complete your floor, as the planks will need to be leveled and refinished but, in some cases, and for a price, you can even buy wood from structures of historical interest, such as the homes of famous people, or landmark buildings.

To showcase your green philosophy from top to bottom, start with environmentally-friendly home flooring!


  1. Wow cork floors are a thing now? When think of corks I automatically think of wine bottles or champagne bottles. It’s pretty amazing that they can be used as an environmentally friendly floor. Its tough, waterproof, antibacterial, and even slip resistant! You really can’t much better than that.

  2. Great article. I actually own a carpet and flooring store in Ann Arbor MI I am seeing a rise in the number of people asking for these types of floors. ie.. cork, linoleum, bamboo. Maybe this environmentally friendly floor thing is going to take off! Thanks for the info…….

  3. As a realtor in Ocala, I am starting to see more Environmentally-Friendly flooring in the new homes that are being built.

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