It's what we walk on....
And sit on, and lie on, and jump around on, and, and, and. It can make or break a room, and it most certainly contributes to the look and feel of it. So, needless to say, picking out flooring for your home is a task that requires a goodly deal of forethought. With so many things to consider (cost, material, environmental impact, room placement, etc.), we thought an easy-to-read guide was in order. As you read on, you’ll learn the basics of commonly installed flooring, listed in order of most durable to least.
Starting with the most durable, we have provided floor type, general cost, environmental impact and several other factors when applicable.
Cost: average $2 to $6 per square foot
Concrete is very durable and if properly sealed, can last indefinitely. It is a composite material made of cement, water, and aggregate. It’s versatility allows for use in any room, including highly-trafficked kitchens, living, and dining, and it can be stained any color. That said, cement is one of the top three producers of carbon dioxide, and is therefore not a very green choice for flooring.
Cost: average $4 to $8 per square foot
Bamboo is a natural and renewable resource, and if you look for products that are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve made a “green” choice. It’s durability and visual appeal make it an ideal option for any room in your home.
Cost: average $4 per square foot
Also, a natural and a renewable resource, wood is a beautiful, green choice for your home. Again, look for FSC certified wood if you have environmental concerns. Take it a step further with salvaged or reclaimed wood.
Cost: $3 to $10 per square foot
Stone is a natural but finite resource, a factor that contributes to its costliness. It’s excellent for entry ways, kitchens, living rooms, and other entertainment rooms. For environmental concerns and to minimize toxins, use a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) sealant.
Cost: average $1 to $8 per square foot
Ceramic tiles are made from clay that are shaped and fired at a high temperature in a kiln. This flooring does not burn, nor does it emit toxic fumes, and is great for any room in the home.
Cost: average $15 to $45 per square foot
Carpet, usually made from the natural fibers of wool or cotton or a man-made fiber such as polyester, can be a durable choice, but the quality ranges widely. Carpets purchased with The Green Label will ensure the carpet, adhesive, and cushion products are made with the lowest VOC emissions currently possible. It can make any room in your house feel warm and cozy but is probably best suited for bedrooms, living rooms, and hallways.
Cost: average $2 to $2.50 per square foot
If you have a very restricted budget, linoleum is the best choice. On a positive note, it is generally made from renewable and abundant materials, is recyclable, biodegradable, and no VOC emissions. In other words, linoleum is nearly as green as you can get. Color and pattern options are endless, so it’s easily matched. The downside is that it’s susceptible to nicks and tears, necessitating more regular replacement.
Cost: average $3 to $6 per square foot
Also a renewable resource, cork is a very green flooring choice. It has excellent thermal and acoustic qualities, it is hypoallergenic, and it’s fire and insect resistant. The durability increases with additional sealant, but punctures by sharp objects and heavy furniture is still a concern. With this in mind, cork should be saved for a specialty room or a room with low traffic.
As you can see, there is much to consider when selecting the appropriate flooring for your home and your lifestyle. Choose with care and feel comfortable walking, sitting, lying, and jumping about for many years to come!
Guest Post Courtesy of Home and Remodel sponsor, Manchester Green Homes in Oklahoma City