If you're undertaking a kitchen renovation, most likely you're looking at a new floor. But you might be wondering: Are there sustainable flooring options? Indeed there are! We've put together a list of the top six materials—bamboo, cork, linoleum, wood, tile and stone—and a list of the distributors/stores where you can buy them:
- Bamboo: While there is concern about the amount of energy it takes to ship bamboo, bamboo flooring remains an extremely durable, renewable resource. Look for bamboo products that are FSC-certified and have no added formaldehyde. Distributors: Foundations Strand, EcoTimber, Teragren, Duro Design, and Plyboo.
- Cork: Cork is made from the bark of a cork oak. It's easy to clean and has good foot support and sound absorption qualities. It's a rapidly renewable resource, hypoallergenic, non-toxic and naturally mold and pest resistant. Distributors: See Where To Buy Cork: The Top Suppliers
- Linoleum: Real linoleum is an all-natural flooring option made of linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, tree resins, ground limestone and pigments, all pressed onto a jute backing. It's long-lasting, easy to clean, and often contains recycled content. Distributors: Forbo Marmoleum, Nova Linoleum
- Wood: Wood is a classic and durable flooring option. Just make sure that the wood you choose is Forest Stewardship Council certified, or salvaged/reclaimed wood. Avoid products with added formaldehyde, which are sometimes used in engineered/pressed wood backing or sublayers. Also look for sealers and cleaners that are environmentally benign and low-VOC. Distributors: EcoTimber, TerraMai, Trestlewood
- Tile: Tile is beautiful and durable, and you can find companies that make their tile products with up to 100% recycled glass or ceramic. Distributors: TerraGreen Ceramics, Trend, Eco Friendly Flooring, Quarry Tile Company
- Stone: Look for locally (or at least domestically) mined and fabricated stone, but avoid buying imported stone in order to reduce transport-related energy. If you need to use a sealer, make sure it's a low-VOC product (less than 200 g/L of VOCs, per SCAQMD Rule 1113). Distributors: Eco Friendly Flooring
(Image: Bamboo flooring at the Kettle Brook Lofts)