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5 Environmentally Friendly Flooring Options

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5 Environmentally Friendly Flooring Options

Homeowners in general, are looking for ways that they can make their home more environmentally friendly, especially if they are planning on doing any renovations.

If you are installing new flooring in your home, then you may want to consider using a sustainable flooring material. Don’t let the cost of using sustainable flooring deter you – in many cases, sustainable materials are actually more affordable – and even manage to add value to your home!

The following are five different sustainable flooring materials to consider:

1. Bamboo Flooring

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    Bamboo flooring has become a very popular alternative to hardwood, in part because of its environmentally friendly qualities. Bamboo is a very sustainable source. This is because bamboo is actually a grass – and a fast-growing one at that.

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    Additionally, bamboo thrives in practically any climate, which is why it can be found in many products such as bamboo sleep products, bamboo furniture, bamboo kitchenware, etc. But it’s incredible sustainability isn’t the only draw.

    The following are a few of the other benefits that bamboo has to offer:

    • Bamboo flooring has a similarly elegant aesthetic as hardwood, which is why it’s become such as popular alternative.
    • Bamboo is extremely durable and long-lasting, in some cases just as durable and long lasting as hardwood.
    • Bamboo flooring is surprisingly affordable considering its quality.
    • Bamboo flooring is easy to take care of as long as you sweep it regularly.
    • Bamboo flooring that is scratched or has become discolored can simply be refinished

    2. Cork Flooring

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      Cork is a relatively new type of flooring material that is slowly becoming a more popular option for homeowners. Cork is a material that is produced from the bark of a cork tree.

      The reason that it is such a sustainable material is that the cork tree doesn’t need to be killed in order to harvest the bark – it can simply be stripped from the tree. The bark will regrow within three years, which means it’s a renewable source. Not to mention that cork trees are commonly found throughout Mediterranean forests. In addition to being a sustainable material, cork has plenty of other benefits.

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      These advantages include:

      • Cork has anti-microbial properties, which means it’s perfect for anyone with allergies as it is extremely resistant to dust and toxin absorption as well as mold and mildew.
      • Cork is soft yet durable, making it comfortable to walk on.
      • Cork has insulative properties that help it to retain heat, which means your floors won’t get cold during the winter.
      • Cork has a very unique and beautiful look that makes it a good fit for contemporary and modern interior designs.

      3. Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring

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        Traditional hardwood is not very environmentally friendly. Even if you purchase your wood from a farm that practices sustainable growing practices, trees must be completely cut down in order to harvest the wood – and they can take decades to grow back into maturity. But hardwood has a certain allure to it because of its timeless quality. If hardwood is something that you have your heart set on, consider reclaimed hardwood.

        Reclaimed hardwood is hardwood that is reused from existing sources. For example, the wood siding from an old barn that was torn down. Basically, you’re salvaging wood for the use of your floors.

        The following are a few of the additional benefits of using reclaimed hardwood:

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        • Reclaimed hardwood provides a unique look to your home, not just because of its timeless quality but also because of the additional character that salvaged wood tends to have.
        • Reclaimed hardwood is extremely durable – more so than regular hardwood even. This is because the wood came from old-growth trees instead of first-generation forests that new hardwood typically comes from.
        • Reclaimed hardwood will last a lifetime. Once you’ve installed reclaimed hardwood, you can expect it to last as long as you live – provided that you care for it.
        • Reclaimed hardwood is easy to keep clean as long as you sweep and vacuum on a regular basis.

        4. Rubber Flooring

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          Believe it or not, but rubber flooring is a thing. It’s actually been used quite often in commercial spaces, such as gyms and hospitals, because of its durability as well as its ergonomics. But it’s also a very environmentally friendly choice.

          First of all, you can use rubber flooring produced out of recycled rubber products, such as tires. Secondly, rubber won’t hurt your indoor air quality since it doesn’t emit nearly as many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other carcinogenic substances as other flooring materials.

          Last but not least, rubber comes from a sustainable source – it’s a raw material that is produced from the sap that is extracted from tropical rubber trees. Rubber flooring has a lot of other things going for it as well. Some of its benefits include:

          • Rubber is low-maintenance since you can easily sweep or mop the surface and because it is resistant to stains.
          • Rubber has a naturally flexible nature that makes it a more supportive surface to stand on.
          • Rubber flooring is non-porous, making it resistant to moisture. This means that rubber flooring is a particularly good option for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.
          • Rubber flooring is available in all kinds of colors and patterns.
          • Rubber is extremely durable and long lasting due to its high density.

          5. Linoleum Flooring

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            A lot of people don’t realize that linoleum flooring is actually a very environmentally friendly flooring option. In fact, you might have even thought the opposite. This misconception often comes to be because of the idea that linoleum is similar to vinyl, which is a synthetic material that isn’t environmentally friendly in the slightest.

            However, linoleum is, because it is made out of sustainable materials that include linseed oil, tree resins, wood flour, cork dust, ground limestone and pigments. Not only are these materials natural, they are all biodegradable.

            In addition to coming from a sustainable source, linoleum flooring also provides the following benefits:

            • Linoleum flooring is extremely durable due to its coating, which makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic parts of the home as well as in commercial spaces.
            • Linoleum is a very visually flexible material because it can be manufactured to look like other flooring materials, including wood and stone.
            • Linoleum is one of the most affordable of all flooring materials.
            • Linoleum flooring is easy to maintain. You can sweep or mop it without worry since it is resistant to moisture, which is why it’s often used in kitchen spaces.

            While there are a lot of different factors to consider when choosing flooring material, one factor that you should really put some thought into is the sustainability of the material. These are five flooring materials that are not only environmentally friendly options, but that have numerous other benefits as well.

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            Last Updated on November 22, 2021

            Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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            Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

            Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

            During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

            But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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            Simplify

            I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

            Absolutely.

            And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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            If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

            • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
            • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
            • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

            Be Mindful

            You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

            Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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            Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

            Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

            Reflect

            As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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            Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

            But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

            So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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            Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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