Question

I am looking for eco-friendly options to replace my vinyl floor. What do you suggest?

Asked by Laurie Asperas Valayer
Melville, NY

I am renovating an old house and it has layers of vinyl flooring in very bad condition. The vinyl tile is coming up in places.

Answer

Randy Potter

Answered by Randy Potter

Santa Clara, CA

EarthBound Homes

July 28, 2011

While extremely cost competitive, vinyl flooring is perhaps one of the worst products you can use on your floor from an "eco friendliness" standpoint.

  • I provided further details on the ills of cheap vinyl flooring in my past post, "Is the Tundra flooring from Ikea safe?"
  • Almost anything that you use for flooring will be more "eco friendly" than vinyl -- the problem is that it will also be more expensive.

I think you first need to determine what type of flooring you want from a look and feel standpoint. If you don't mind a harder floor, then hardwood or bamboo would be your best bets.

If you want to ensure that the finish on your new floors is going to be as safe as possible and not offgas and create bad air in your home, then you should have your floors installed unfinished and finish them on-site with a safe and durable product such as Bona Traffic, which is water-based and is used primarily for commercial applications, so it lasts a long time and can stand up to abuse.

If you prefer a softer-feeling flooring, consider cork or a natural version of laminate-type flooring such as Marmoleum, which is made of natural materials rather than vinyl but can have the same laminate flooring look.

  • Cork works great for any room and is warm, beautifully natural looking, relatively durable and, if bought in floating floor panels, can be very easy to install.
  • Make sure you buy cork from a reputable supplier, as many of the low price-point products on the market today can be very low-quality and contain bad offgassing chemicals.

We like natural cork from US Floors.

Tagged In: cork flooring, natural wood finish, wood flooring

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