Sustainable Flooring is produced from materials that reduce demands on
our ecosystem during its life-cycle. This includes harvest, production,
use, and disposal. Many believe that sustainable flooring creates safer
and healthier buildings. It is very popular with hypoallergenic homeowners.
Currently, two popular types of sustainable flooring used in homes are
bamboo and cork flooring.
About Bamboo Flooring for Your Home
You may have seen bamboo flooring before with out even noticing it. It
has been commonly seen in gym floors and looks just like hardwood flooring.
Bamboo is the currently the fastest growing plant in the world and it
is a highly recognizable renewable resource in a multitude of industries.
Bamboo can be typically harvested every three to six years for construction
purposes while, traditional hardwoods can only be harvested every 25-50
years depending on the type of wood. It is extremely hard and stable and
is known to be two and a half times harder than the common oak wood. Today,
most of the bamboo supplied for flooring comes from China and some parts
of Asia. Bamboo is very interesting, because is does not need to be replanted
since the root system is left intact when it is harvested.
Within five years, a sustainbly harvest forest is harvested completely.
Each year only 20% of the forest is harvested, allowing for regrowth.
Maintaining your bamboo floors is important. Just like hardwood flooring,
bamboo should be swept or vacuumed regularly. When mopping, remove dust
with a dust mop. Never use a wet mop on the floors even though bamboo
is water-resistant, it can potentially harm any finishes on the flooring.
When using a cleaner, make sure it will not leave any residue they will
inhibit the floor bonding. The best type of long term maintenance is to
apply a urethane finish to the bamboo floors.
Pictured above: Bamboo flooring Post & Beam Design\Build installed
in customer’s home
The Benefits of Cork Flooring
Cork is another environmentally sound material that has numerous natural
features that appeal to homeowners. Since cork is made using only the
bark of a cork oak tree, the trees are not damaged during the harvesting
and creation of the cork planks. Cork trees are very slow to grow and
can live to upwards of 170-250 years. They can be harvested multiple times
throughout the tree’s life and harvesting occurs every 9-12 years.
Cork oak trees can be harvested up to 16 times in its life. The trees
are harvested after when the sapling reaches 25 years of age or any time
the trunk reaches a circumference of about 70cm.
Cork is a great flooring choice for several reasons: its softness, resiliency,
natural ability to maintain a warm temperature, natural fire retardant,
and it is a hypoallergenic. Cork has a honeycomb-like web of cells that
retain air, which gives it the ability to float and re-expand after compression.
This provides the softness under your foot. Along with its softness, cork
possesses resilience which is great on one’s joints and gives the
flooring the ability to bounce back when something of size and weight
falls on the floor. Cork also naturally maintains a warm temperature.
The air in the cork’s cells provides an insulation which acts as
a thermal insulator. With this, homeowners with cork flooring can potentially
reduce their heating and cooling costs. Cork is known as a natural fire
retardant because it contains suberin, which is a waxy substance that
is a natural fire inhibitor and will even repel termites. Lastly, because
cork does not absorb dust or allergens it would be a great option for
homeowners who have asthma or suffer from airborne allergies.
Maintaining cork flooring is easy and very low maintenance. It is recommended
like any other wood flooring to vacuum and sweep regularly. Cork can be
cleaned with a damp mop and a pH-balanced or very mild detergent. Using
harsh cleaner will ruin the cork flooring and can potentially void the warranty.
Contact Post & Beam Design/Build today if you have questions about which flooring is right for you and