As a discerning homeowner, every choice you make involves a variety of factors. And floors are no exception. You have to love how it looks, like how it feels on your feet, trust that it cleans up without too much effort and lasts a long time – and since you care about the planet that we live on….it needs to be healthy for your family and eco-friendly, too. Is this too much to ask?

Happily, the answer is no. Actually, there are so many eco-friendly flooring choices available now that you may have a hard time deciding which alternative to choose. We’ve simplified your search by highlighting some great options in this handy product showcase.

Choosing a supplier who knows their products and can share their expertise will save you from costly mistakes. That is why we have partnered with Green Building Supply to showcase some of their favorite flooring products. For over 25 years, Green Building Supply has stocked a wide selection of eco-friendly products. Each product is tested by their experts before it is added to their lineup. You can even order samples of most of their flooring to check out the look and feel, as well as testing for any sensitivity you might have to the product. And probably most importantly, your Green Building Supply Eco Advisor is knowledgeable and will take the time to answer your questions. In fact, they might answer questions that you didn’t know to ask!

This curated set of gorgeous flooring options is a great place to start your search.

BAMBOO FLOORING

Fast-growing bamboo is a great choice for flooring. You might have heard that they are not as durable as wood floors, but in reality, they can last just as long. The choice of type of bamboo product will affect its hardness and therefore durability. It is possible to achieve different looks with horizontal grain, vertical grain, strand, solid, engineered, and carbonized bamboo. It is also important to understand the manufacturing process and the finishes used in your bamboo flooring. The best choices are high-quality water-based and non-toxic finishes. These will not off-gas toxic chemicals or delaminate. And don’t forget the importance of choosing the right underlayment.

Your salesperson can guide you into the best choice for your lifestyle and budget.

ECOFusion

ECOFusion specializes in strand bamboo. This creates a product which has the look of hardwood with the benefits of using rapidly renewable bamboo and scrap wood. Even more impressive, strand bamboo is as hard, or harder, than most wood floors.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Durable Moso bamboo, harvested after 6 years is the prime component.
  • ECOFusion strand bamboo comes in at an incredible 3271 on the Janka scale! That is even harder than Brazilian Cherry.
  • ECOFusion manages their own plantations and can therefore grow with minimal impact on the natural ecosystem and without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers.
  • All ECOfusion products are manufactured with adhesives that contain no added urea-formaldehyde.
  • Zero-VOC finishes won’t off-gas toxins, and is safer for your family.
  • Eligible for LEED credits.
  • Drop and lock installation is a straightforward choice for the DIY crowd.

USFloors

Just like the name says, USFloors products are manufactured in the US at solar-powered manufacturing facilities. They come in many different styles – strand bamboo, horizontal, vertical, handscraped, and dyed. You will surely find a product that matches your vision for your home.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Uses durable Moso bamboo, harvested after 6 years.
  • Greenguard Gold certified.
  • 6 coats of aluminum oxide finish is hard wearing and low-VOC.
  • Eligible for LEED credits for low-emitting floors and meets the European EO standard for formaldehyde.
  • Dust from the manufacturing is used as biomass fuel.
  • Onsite solar power generation in their manufacturing plants.
  • Made in the USA.

WOOD FLOORING

Yes, solid or engineered hardwood floors can be sustainable. Think of it this way, wood is actually sequestered carbon. But not all wood is eco-friendly. You need to know the answers to a number of questions to evaluate which is the right product for you. Was it sustainably-harvested? Were only non-toxic finishes used in the manufacture and processing? What green certifications does the product achieve? Does it use recycled or reclaimed materials?

Don’t forget the appropriate healthy underlayment for your wood floor.

Make sure that your distributor knows the answers to these questions before you buy.

Kahrs

Kahrs has been around for over 72 years. They are committed to healthy and sustainable products as well as fair wages and eco-friendly manufacturing. They invented floating floors with multi-layer, cross-ply construction. This makes their products more stable in variable humidity and temperatures.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Many gorgeous options in species, finish, patterns, design.
  • Long-lasting in any climate.
  • Uses certified sustainably-sourced wood.
  • Partners with agencies and non-profits to support sustainable worldwide forestry.
  • Floating installation is easy for the pro or DIY.
  • No hazardous chemicals are used in the products.
  • Suitable for use with radiant heating.

Tesoro Woods

Since 1992, Tesoro Woods (formerly EcoTimber), has been a leading proponent of sustainability in the sourcing of their wood, cork, and bamboo flooring and in utilizing finishes and glues that minimize adverse impacts on indoor air quality and health. They offer solid and engineered wood flooring in many different species, grades, grains, and finishes.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Renewable, responsibly-harvested materials from certified well-managed forests.
  • Uses glues and binders with no added urea-formaldehyde.
  • Non-toxic surface finishes.
  • Committed to transparency – makes public all available information on their flooring products.
  • Many choices can be used with radiant heating.

CORK FLOORING

Cork is one of the very best of eco-friendly choices – renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable! The cork raw material is sustainably harvested from cork oak trees. This does not damage the tree and in fact, gives farmers an economic reason to keep forests and their carbon sequestration benefits. Cork oak forests also help to regulate the water cycle and combat desertification.

As a flooring material, cork has natural thermal insulating properties, is a noise barrier, and is oh-so-comfortable on your bare feet. There are also great non-toxic choices for adhesive and moisture barrier.

Wicanders

You almost won’t believe that this is cork. Wicanders offers engineered cork solutions that look like wood, stone, and cork. Their products are durable, low-maintenance, and suitable for chemically-sensitive people.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Most products retain more CO2 than they emit in production meaning they have negative global warming potential.
  • They use their own industrial waste products to create biomass which is then used to power their production.
  • Protective surface offers impact resistance – a hard surface that is not hard on your feet.
  • Indoor air quality certifications such as Greenguard and A+.
  • A wide range of gorgeous finish options.
  • Hydrocork line for high moisture areas.
  • Affordable options for any homeowner.
  • Easy click installation options for the do-it-yourselfer.

Natural Cork by USFloors

USFloors is the leading importer/producer of sustainable, eco-friendly floors including cork, bamboo, FSC®-Certified hardwood, and other unique and sustainable floors.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Plank or tile options available.
  • Cork Canvas floors offer the look of stone or wood with the advantages of cork.
  • Greenguard Gold certified.
  • Dust from the manufacturing is used as biomass fuel.
  • Onsite solar power generation.
  • Cost-competitive.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Can be used for LEED credits in the Rapidly Renewable Materials, Recycled Content, and Low-Emitting categories.

MARMOLEUM

This is NOT your grandmother’s linoleum. Marmoleum is made using time-tested, natural ingredients and is eco-friendly in manufacturing, use, and disposal. And as anyone who has been around knows, linoleum is virtually indestructible. In fact it becomes stronger over time. But what is making Marmoleum so on-trend these days is the range of different looks available now. Designers are mixing and matching colors, patterns, and orientation to create a mood – everything from traditional to eye-popping. This product can do it all.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Huge range of styles and colors lets you customize your look.
  • Uses rapidly-renewable and recycled content.
  • Biodegradable.
  • Natural ingredients – linseed oil, limestone, tree rosin, wood floor, mineral pigments, jute.
  • Through body color means that scratches are less noticeable.
  • Topshield2 finish has naturally antibacterial ingredients – hygienic and easy to maintain.
  • Unlike ceramic tile, it is warm underfoot.
  • No health issues caused in the manufacturing, life, or disposal.
  • Electricity used in manufacturing comes from 100% renewable sources.
  • No off-gassing toxic fumes. Approved by Allergy UK, healthy indoor environment.
  • Declare labeling, SMART-certified, suitable for LEED Credits.

Be sure to select non-toxic adhesives and underlayment for your flooring.

Forbo Click

Forbo Marmoleum Click floating tiles and planks click together easily. There is less preparation and a fast install, simplifying the process so that you can focus on creating the look you want.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Current look and feel – planks and squares.
  • Mix and match patterns and colors for a custom design.
  • Quick and easy installation.
  • Floating floor requires no adhesive, minimizes tear out in renovations.
  • Suitable for radiant heat.
  • Competitively priced.

Forbo Sheet

Traditional Forbo Marmoleum Sheet is glued to your subfloor. This may require professional installation.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Extremely durable.
  • Comes in hundreds of colors and styles.
  • Cut shapes, mix and match for a custom look.
  • Seamless look.
  • Suitable for radiant heat.
  • Affordably priced.

Forbo Tile

Glue-down Forbo Marmoleum Tile is an eco-friendly alternative to vinyl composition tiles.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Mix and match patterns and colors for a custom design.
  • Very little waste in the install process.
  • Easy to swap out a single damaged tile.
  • Suitable for radiant heat.
  • Affordably priced.

WOOL CARPET AND AREA RUGS

Wool has so many great eco-benefits it is hard to know where to start. Wool rugs feel great underfoot. By nature (pun intended), it is stain-resistant, fire-retardant, non-toxic, soft, warm, renewable, biodegradable, insulating, allergen-filtering, sound-deadening, and durable. Wool can be crafted with many stylish textures and comes in many lovely natural colors or can be safely dyed using organic ingredients.

There are also a variety of great sustainable choices for non-toxic wool or rubber pads for your carpet.

Earth Weave

At Earth Weave, they say that they are “Focused on Health.” They create 100% natural fiber carpets and area rugs. They use natural colored wool pile, hemp and cotton backing, jute secondary backing, and natural rubber adhesive. The colors are either naturally-pigmented or make use of organic dyes. There are NO added chemical treatments needed.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Wool does not off-gas.
  • Wool filters allergens and dust.
  • Wool is naturally stain-resistant and is durable
  • Product is biodegradable.
  • No toxic adhesives or backings.
  • No chemical treatments.
  • The company has been in business for 20 years.
  • Can be serge bound using the same yarn on the face of the carpet to create a lovely area rug.
  • Eligible for LEED points.

Nature’s Carpet

Nature’s Carpet offers over 60 styles and colors of 100% wool pile carpets. Their product lines balance the consistent and unshakable demand for a stylish, durable, high-quality flooring choice, with the increasing sensitivity of consumers to the sustainability of raw materials and biodegradability of the final product.

WHY WE LIKE THIS PRODUCT

  • Wool does not off-gas.
  • Wool filters allergens and dust.
  • Wool is naturally stain-resistant and is durable
  • Product is biodegradable.
  • Ultra-low or low-toxicity products.
  • Premium product lines use 98-100% renewable resources.
  • Manufacturer has been in business for over 30 years.
  • Nature’s Carpet can also be bound into an attractive and eco-friendly area rug.
  • Eligible for LEED points.

Working with a trusted and knowledgable supplier takes a lot of the guesswork out of shopping for eco-friendly building materials. Be sure to find someone who will listen to your requirements and explain your options from the standpoint of potential health risks and benefits, as well as sourcing and end of life.

You will find a wide range of sustainable flooring options and expert advice by visiting our sponsor

Learn more about eco-friendly flooring options on Elemental Green!

Our team researches products, companies, studies, and techniques to bring the best of green building to you. Elemental Green does not independently verify the accuracy of all claims regarding featured products or manufacturers. Additionally, product and brand mentions on Elemental Green do not imply endorsement or sponsorship unless specified otherwise.