Sustainability has become a focal point for homeowners and builders alike. One important aspect of designing an eco-friendly home is choosing the right flooring. Paired with a proper underfloor insulation installation, sustainable flooring not only contributes to a healthier planet but also improves the overall wellbeing of those living in the space. Following are 8 sustainable flooring options.
Sustainable Flooring Options
Cork flooring is derived from the bark of cork oak trees. The trees can live for several centuries, and their bark regrows after harvesting, making it an exceptionally sustainable material. Cork flooring provides a soft and comfortable surface underfoot, making it an excellent choice for living spaces. Its insulating properties also contribute to temperature regulation within a room.
While cork is resilient, it can be susceptible to scratches and dents, especially in high-traffic areas. Placing protective pads under furniture legs and using rugs can help mitigate this issue.
The cost of cork flooring, including the materials and installation, can range anywhere from $70-$150 per metre, depending on the complexity and size of the installation.
Recycled and reclaimed wood
Opting for recycled or reclaimed wood flooring is an environmentally responsible choice. This type of flooring utilises wood from old structures, such as barns, factories or warehouses, giving it a second life. This not only reduces the demand for new timber but also prevents old materials from ending up in landfills. Reclaimed wood flooring can be cheaper or more expensive than other sustainable flooring types, depending on the type and quality of the wood and the level of work involved in restoring it into a smooth and attractive finish.
Bamboo has gained popularity as a sustainable flooring choice due to its low price, rapid growth and regenerative properties. Unlike traditional hardwoods that can take decades to mature, bamboo reaches maturity in just a few years. Harvesting bamboo doesn’t require replanting, making it a highly renewable resource. Furthermore, bamboo flooring has a warm and natural aesthetic that can complement various interior styles. Just be aware that it usually has a shorter lifespan (around 10-25 years) and may absorb water more than other flooring types, so spills should be wiped up fast!
Linoleum is making a comeback as a sustainable flooring option. Made from natural materials like linseed oil, wood flour and cork dust, linoleum is biodegradable and has a low environmental impact. It is also an excellent choice for those wanting anti-allergenic and antimicrobial floors. Although linoleum is a sustainable flooring option, it comes with a few drawbacks, including susceptibility to scratches and dents and that it may fade overtime if exposed to direct sunlight. Installing it in lower-traffic areas (e.g. pantries, storage rooms and home offices), moving furniture with caution and using window coverings to intercept direct sunlight can all help mitigate these risks. If you aren’t on a tight budget, double glazing your current windows can help reduce the heat of the sun too.
A linoleum flooring installation costs around $35-$70 per metre.
Hemp wood flooring
Hemp flooring has the potential to gain popularity for its eco-friendly attributes and rapid growth. Hemp grows around 100 times faster than oak and is as tough as hardwood! It’s renewable, 100% non-toxic and biodegradable, making it an excellent, long-lasting choice for environmentally conscious consumers. Experts claim hemp is one of the best sustainable flooring materials out there.
Eucalyptus wood flooring
Eucalyptus flooring is sourced from eucalyptus trees, which are known for their rapid growth. This makes eucalyptus a highly renewable resource. The wood is hard and resilient, making it suitable for high-traffic areas – it’s about 20% harder than Northern red oak!
Coconut wood flooring
Coconut wood is a byproduct of the coconut industry, using the wood from old coconut palm trees that no longer bear fruit. This not only prevents the unnecessary cutting of new trees but also repurposes existing resources. Coconut wood flooring is known for its distinctive grain patterns, making it a sustainable alternative with a unique aesthetic appeal. As with linoleum, coconut wood flooring is quite soft and more prone to dents and scratches. As of early 2024, it’s also not very popular in Australia, and may be hard to find.
Sustainable Floor Materials
Rising energy costs have prompted the need for more environmentally-friendly practices. Sustainable flooring not only reduces our ecological footprint but also provides a healthier and more comfortable living space. Before you decide on a certain sustainable flooring material, conduct deeper research to see if it will meet your needs.
Insulating Underfloors for Comfort and Sustainability
With the right R-value, insulation acts as a barrier, preventing heat from escaping during colder months and entering during warmer months. To ensure your house is truly sustainable, make sure you get insulation installed as soon as possible. If you have old or damaged insulation that needs to be removed first, it’s best to book in an insulation removal.
Call one of our insulation specialists on 0450 858 568 or text us requesting a call-back at a convenient time. We look forward to hearing from you and improving your home’s comfort and sustainability.