As a parent, you have to put up with A LOT of stuff going on in your home. But if you think about it, your kitchen floors have even more to deal with, so consider yourself lucky. Not only do kitchen floors have to withstand sliding chair legs, dropped slop, pet toenails, slipped and chipped dishes, the weight of the family and the occasional roller skate, tap shoe and cleat, but nowadays we want them to be green, too.
Luckily, manufacturers, retailers and contractors alike realize that we mean business when we inquire about eco-friendly kitchen floors. Today, there are many choices for environmentally responsible flooring that can put up with all the activity our busy lives shuffle through our kitchens.
Wood is among the warmest and most durable material you can choose for your floor. It’s not always green, though. If you’re remodeling the kitchen, consider looking for reclaimed hardwood, barn wood flooring or responsibly harvested products. Also, make sure your wood flooring doesn’t contain stains or finishes that will emit VOCs.
Some of the most popular choices for the kitchen right now fall under the rapidly renewable species list. This means that the wood used in the product grows back so quickly that harvesting it isn't detrimental to the environment. Such products include cork, bamboo and eucalyptus.
It’s amazing what innovative people can do with old junk. Recycled content flooring comes in many varieties (things your parents could've never imagined stepping over). And they're all extremely green. Recycled content tiles are a good choice for eco-friendly kitchen floors. They are cool to the touch and resemble traditional ceramic or porcelain tiles, but contain materials like recycled glass, ceramic and feldspar tailings (a byproduct of mining).
Salvaged stone is another option. Many fear its hardness, claiming stone can take its toll on the back, feet and legs when you’re standing on it for extended periods, but others like the natural beauty of it. Many salvage yards and stone yards carry reclaimed stone in large slabs that can be made into kitchen floors.
Another popular choice for kitchen flooring, and a more old-fashioned standby, is laminate. These floors are generally put together in tongue and groove fashion and are not attached to the subfloor, so they are “floating.” Although the manufacture of these products and the materials they’re comprised of aren’t exactly green, they can easily be taken back up and reinstalled elsewhere, making them recyclable in a manner of speaking. They are also more affordable than many other flooring options, a benefit that’s hard to overlook.
Virtually every home, or so it seems, has had a linoleum kitchen floor at one time or another. Although it may not seem like a green product with it’s plasticy appearance, many companies are now making it responsibly. It's more durable, bio-degradable, and made with natural ingredients, making it a low-VOC option as well.
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