When you consider the amount of time your tactile senses come into contact with various surfaces of your home, your feet meet the floor more often than all others. Not only is flooring of tremendous visual importance, it also provides a surface for your feet, one which must be cleaned regularly and one which must be above all, durable. This is why there are so many options to choose from: from sustainable cork and reclaimed wood, to fly ash concrete and traditional brick and tile. Each has its benefits.
While my traditional favorite, wide plank hardwood flooring comes in various forms (sustainable, laminate or traditional and expensive), durable and sustainable materials are also available including cork and fly ash concrete. Let us not forget the tiles, more traditional brick and even flagstone for a timeless, and hardworking floor.
Pictured Above (From Left to Right)
1. Flagstone Flooring
A bit more non-traditional and less uniform than other flooring options, a natural flagstone floor brings the outside in with a durable and textured finish that you can be sure won't be too slippery. Make sure your foundation is up to the task of supporting the extra weight.
2. Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring
Green and beautiful, no two reclaimed hardwood floors are alike. Vintage details including stress cracks, original saw marks, nail holes or solid knots give the flooring a very unique character. Often salvaged from historic barns, old buildings or other flooring specimens, the history, detail and authenticity is unmatched.
3. Cork Flooring
One of the greenest flooring options available (besides making do with what you've already got), cork is a sustainable product that will last a very long time. In fact, the Library of Congress boasts cork floors. Available in a plethora of finishes and designs from thin cut veneers to granule cork-board type finishes, cork maintains better insulating qualities for both heat and sound, and provides a cushioning that's easier on your joints.
4. Fly Ash Concrete
Fly ash, a waste product derived from coal fueled electric power plants, when combined with concrete makes a stronger, more durable and more resistant concrete product. The end product also serves to sequester the waste and keep it out of landfills--a win-win for coal power plants and the concrete benefactor.
5. Brick Flooring
Another flooring product not used in many modern day home, it was popular in the 70's and 80's. The thermal conductivity and slow heat dispersion properties of brick make it good for passive applications and is easy to repair.
And, one more, shown below:
6. A Wide-plank Engineered Hardwood by Armstrong (below)
5" thick boards are engineered for a more uniform and easy to install product. Guaranteed for 25 years, you'll probably grow tired of it before its end of life but it won't last forever.
Images: 1. ATSF's Weathered Grey and Yellow at the Kennedy St. Residence; 2. AppalachianWoods; 3-4. Trent Johnson; 5. Elmwood Reclaimed Timber; 6. Armstrong Flooring)