Green – and gorgeous – flooring

Remodeling? Consider the latest in green flooring options – from carpeting to cork

  • Carpet Carpet Made of 100 percent wool, Arbrash by Woolshire is a striated plush created from a unique yarn process that gives it a handcrafted appearance. This line features five colors within each carpet, tone on tone for a subtle effect. Wool is a natural, renewable resource, produced using environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and safe methods, and it’s recyclable and biodegradable. Wool is also naturally durable (due to strong, resilient fibers), non-allergenic and does not promote bacteria growth. Woolshire has joined CRI-Green Label Plus and now offers an eco-friendly carpet backing composed of recycled soda and beverage containers and domestically grown soy beans.
  • Carpet Carpet Enhance the look of your home with the modern charm of the Camael Collection from the popular Tigressa series. Thanks to its tone-on-tone abstract pattern and cut and loop surface, this carpet brings contemporary eye appeal to any room. Advanced yarn engineering and recyclable nylon fibers increase the softness and resilience, and a patented color enhancement system keeps the challis finish true. Tigressa SoftStyle carpet can be recycled again and again making it a viable green option for your home. Tigressa meets rigorous standards for environmental safety and human health, and has earned the Green Select label.
  • Bamboo Bamboo Teragren bamboo flooring is made from only Optimum 5.5 Moso bamboo known for its dense fibers. Teragren requires that the bamboo is sustainably harvested at maturity, every 5-1/2 to 6 years, which helps avoid problems like cupping and warping associated with young, soft and often inexpensive bamboo that is harvested too soon. Featuring intricate artisan textures and colors, the Portfolio collection (shown here in ‘hewn tawny’) is a snap to install – just drop and lock each plank into place with the glueless, self-locking system.
  • Cork Cork Corkcomfort from Wicanders brings to life ceramic, stone, metal and leather patterns, enhancing cork's role in interior design. With the use of advanced texturizing, painting and bevelling processes, Corkcomfort provides depth and intensity to any space. (Shown here: Traces Spice)
  • Tile Tile Reflecting the same design leadership as Shaw’s other eco-friendly offerings, Shaw offers stunning tile products that contain up to 40-percent recycled content. Lunar is a line unique to Shaw, offering a dramatic design inspired by images of the moon's surface. Randomness is achieved by advanced technology and numerous glazing steps for a look that's very natural. From earth, the moon can take on many shades, and the Lunar collection pays homage to this variation by offering four richly detailed color choices. (Shown here in Lunar Beige.) Many of Shaw’s introductions are produced in domestic factories that focus on environmental responsibility by reducing waste, using natural resources, reusing waste and recycling waste back into new tile product.
  • Hardwood Hardwood Shaw Floors’ Grand Canyon hardwood commands attention with 8” wide hickory planks and a uniquely hand-scraped surface texture. Offering the ambiance of a historic cabin, Grand Canyon is the first wide-width solid hardwood made from 100 percent wood by-products, which otherwise would have been burned or sent to landfills. Although the planks appear to be made from one 8-inch-wide piece of wood, they are actually composed of strips of wood waste that are just 2-3” wide. The manufacturing process joins the wood strips together using an advanced gluing procedure, creating the 8” visual. In fact, because the Grand Canyon planks are made of the smaller wood strips, they are less susceptible to cupping, crowning and warping than traditional wide-width solid hardwood products.
  • Cork Cork Carpet One Cork is a perfect choice for kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and entryways. Now you can get cork flooring in gorgeous hardwood looks, some even featuring wide planks and beveled edges on all four sides.
  • Linoleum Linoleum Armstrong linoleum is made of the same renewable raw ingredients as it was in the early 20th century, including wood powder, linseed oil, limestone, organic pigments and jute backing. (Shown here: Marmorette in parchment beige, parrot green, oak brown and mango.)
  • Marmoleum Marmoleum Marmoleum is a renewable flooring option made of natural ingredients. The beautiful colors of Marmoleum are achieved by using environmentally responsible pigments. The backing of Marmoleum is woven with natural jute fibers, and even the adhesives used to install it are environmentally responsible and free of solvents. At the end of its long life, Marmoleum is biodegradable. For a healthier indoor environment, this flooring contains naturally occurring anti-microbial properties that inhibit the growth of many micro-organisms, including allergen producing dust mites and the MRSA strains of bacteria. It also has natural anti-static properties that repel dust and dirt, making it easy to maintain a clean and hygienic home. Available in 30 colors. (Shown here in white marble, barley, dove grey and shell.)
  • Hardwood Hardwood The floors in the Vineyard Collection by Kahrs Original are stained in selected design colors to create a sense of warmth, harmony and history. Available in more than 10 wood species, the planks are brushed and micro-beveled to enhance the wood texture. Kahrs floors are installed using the Woodloc method, producing tight, secure joints without the use of glue, and they use only environmentally friendly stains and finishes. Kahrs exclusively works with suppliers who are able to demonstrate that they operate environmentally aware timber procurement.
  • Tile Tile Crush from Fireclay is a handmade, American-crafted glass tile created from 100-percent recycled glass. The name “Crush” stems from the fact that Fireclay sources the raw waste glass from within 20 miles, crushes and processes the glass in its local San Jose, Calif. manufacturing facility, and then transforms the material into stunning recycled glass tile. With 40 colors, 2 finishes, and 17 different size formats, the creative design possibilities are endless. Ideal for projects seeking a LEED certification.
  • VINYL…with a green conscience? VINYL…with a green conscience? Want vinyl flooring with a green conscience? Consider Mannington resilient vinyl floors – it’s the only residential sheet vinyl made with recycled content. These floors offer other environmental attributes too: • FloorScore certified, complying to strict indoor air-quality standards • Contributes to credits for green building systems, like LEED • Award-winning ultra low VOC water-based inks • Made in the USA • Won’t trap dust, pet dander and other allergens • Most spills clean up with gentle soap and water
  • Carpet Carpet Bigelow Prestige Carpet combines artistic patterns, beautiful wovens, warm wools and natural, sustainable fibers, all adding up to luxurious style for home interiors. Made of wool, it’s naturally green: easily renewable and completely sustainable. (Shown here: Zoey) Bigelow is manufactured by The Mohawk Group, the largest recycler in the flooring industry, diverting more than 3 billion pounds of pre- and post-consumer waste from landfills each year. More than 500 Mohawk products currently contain recycled material – from soda bottles to corn sugar.
  • Hardwood Hardwood Tesoro Woods offers unique and beautiful wood floors, including its American Woods Collection (shown here in Walnut). This engineered line offers American red and white oak, maple, cherry and walnut in 3" and 5" widths. Many of the company’s floors contain FSC-certified, recycled or reclaimed components bonded by eco-friendly adhesives making these floors not only some of the most attractive available on the market today but also some of the "greenest."
  • Tile Tile The Kendal Slate Collection from American Olean’s glazed porcelain line uses Reveal Imaging technology for an incredibly detailed look that’s nearly indistinguishable from natural stone. But unlike natural stone, Kendal Slate’s porcelain construction makes the tile extremely durable and easy to clean. Made from pre-consumer recycled material content.

A growing number of homeowners are looking for earth-friendly materials for their homes, and green flooring choices are topping their wish lists, for good reason. Green flooring has a gentle impact on the environment and your health. And today, the market is ripe for the picking -- from beautiful cork and bamboo flooring to more traditional tile or hardwoods.

First, let's take a look at some of the benefits of choosing green flooring:

  • No Toxic Substances. Both the materials and the installation process are eco-friendly to ensure no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air that might harm the health of people and the environment.
  • Hypo-Allergenic. Many green flooring materials, such as bamboo, hardwoods and cork, don't attract dust, dirt, pollen, dander and other allergens, making them safer for those prone to allergy attacks and other respiratory problems.
  • Biodegradable. Since green flooring materials are 100-percent natural, they are also biodegradable which means they can be easily recycled at the end of their life and used as fuel, or in other flooring projects.
  • A Sustainable Resource. Sustainable flooring materials come from well-managed forests, governed by strict laws preventing them from being depleted.
  • Formaldehyde-Free. Some flooring products contain formaldehyde that off-gasses and can cause eyes to water, burning sensations in the throat, nausea and difficulty in breathing. High concentrations may trigger attacks in people with asthma. Many green flooring options are formaldehyde-free.

Now, let's look at some of the beautiful choices in green flooring:


Hardwood flooring is a natural product of the earth that is constantly being renewed. It is completely biodegradable, and can be easily recycled at the end of its life and used as fuel, or in other flooring projects. Make sure that the wood you choose is FSC-certified - a guaranty that the wood comes from a sustainable source.


Carpet is making a come-back in an environmentally conscious way. The best choice is carpet made from natural materials such as wool and cotton blends or carpets made from recycled goods. Additionally, more carpet manufacturers are meeting industry standards for low VOC emissions. Those products carry a "Green Label" from the Carpet and Rug Institute.

VINYL…with a green conscience?

In past years, vinyl flooring gained popularity for its low cost, easy care and the way it mimics more expensive floor coverings. But vinyl has come under fire by those concerned with the environment and indoor air quality. Vinyl flooring is made with synthetic materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) known for off-gassing toxic chemicals that may increase respiratory sensitization and asthma. Also of concern is that this flooring is seldom recycled, and when burned, whether in landfills or by factories disposing of overruns, PVC emits toxic gasses.


Ceramic tile is one of the most environmentally friendly floor covering products due to its extremely long life (60 or more years), zero VOC content or emissions, and low maintenance requirements. Recycled glass tile is another beautiful option. These tiles are made from recovered glass waste such as discarded bottles and broken windows. Their use prevents these non-biodegradable materials from ending up in a landfill. Available in many colors and styles.


Did you know that linoleum flooring is eco-friendly flooring? Linoleum is made from oxidized linseed oil which is produced naturally from flax plants. The material is widely available and highly renewable. As a flooring material, it's extremely durable, puts up with major abuse, and can last 25-40 years. It's also hypo-allergenic – making it ideal to use in health care facilities and the homes of allergy sufferers. At the end of its life, it's biodegradable.


Cork is harvested from the cork oak tree's bark which regenerates over time. Now available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, it's an excellent choice where softer more comfortable flooring is desired. Bonus: Cork is an excellent noise absorber too.


Bamboo is a unique sustainable product for flooring as it grows quickly and abundantly. Bamboo regenerates about eight times faster than hardwood and harvesting does not kill the plant. Hard and durable, it's naturally resistant to water and mildew as well as being nice to look at. Bamboo flooring is available in a wide variety of patterns and colors. Some bamboo is made with formaldehyde, so be sure to ask your dealer about formaldehyde emissions levels before you purchase.

Sources: Florcraft Carpet One, MacCheyne's Carpets Plus, Alaska Wholesale Flooring, Super Floors of Alaska LLC