Are you looking for a floor that matches your green, earth-friendly lifestyle?
Laying down a new hardwood floor is one of the most significant remodeling choices you can make. It has consequences for both the home’s value and the immediate environment.
You work hard to avoid bringing potentially toxic products into your home. You choose paper over plastic, diligently recycle, and choose organic food whenever possible. Shouldn’t your choice of floor reflect your lifestyle too? There is more to an environmentally safe floor than just the wood. You must consider the finish and the installation method.
We’ll show you the healthiest options for hardwood flooring that you can use over a concrete sub-floor.
Hardwood is Sustainable, Renewable, and Recyclable
Oak is the most common hardwood for floors. It is grown and harvested in Asia, North America, and Europe just to make floors. Oak makes a durable, beautiful floor for any room. A solid wood floor can last 100 years or more.
Another eco-friendly flooring option is reclaimed wood salvaged from old boxcars, factories, or homes. After sanding and refinishing, it still retains the scars of its former life. It may show nail holes, stains, and other imperfections from the past, adding a unique character that new floors can’t match.
The finish preserves the beauty of the wood from foot traffic, water, and other light wear. If you want a non-toxic environment, you’ll need to choose ones with no or low VOCs.
A Floating Hardwood Floor is the Easiest for DIYers
A floating floor is not a magic carpet. It means that it’s not attached to the sub-floor using glue or nails. The weight of the wood flooring holds it in place. The two best types are solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floors. However, solid hardwood wears better, and you can refinish it multiple times.
Floating floors use a built-in fastening system. That’s an advantage if you are installing a floor for the first time. You won’t need to bother with adhesives or nail guns. These floors are also the best option for covering concrete floors because they won’t puncture the moisture barrier.
About Finishes and Adhesives
Most finishes give off fumes called Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. Do you know the smell of a freshly opened can of paint or the aroma of a new car? Those are VOCs you smell from petroleum-based products. The process is called off-gassing, and it can last for months, depending on the product.
Stains and protective finishes come in oil-based or water-based options. The best ways to avoid VOCs from flooring are:
- Select Pre-Finished Wood – At the factory, they use a sped-up curing process. The finish dries quickly, using dryers or UV light. Most of the off-gassing happens before you receive the wood.
- Look for water-based finishes – Water-based products produce far fewer VOCs than petroleum-based.
A pre-finished, floating floor will have almost no VOCs regardless of the finish. It had time to cure before reaching your home.
You Must Put Down a Moisture Barrier Over Concrete
When installing a floor over concrete, you must install a moisture barrier first, typically plastic sheeting. Otherwise, moisture wicking up through the porous concrete will eventually destroy the wood.
A floating floor is the best choice to lay over concrete because it won’t penetrate the moisture barrier. It’s an environmentally-friendly option because, without the adhesives, there is no out-gassing or wasted plastic containers to throw away.
The Easiest Hardwood Floor to Install or Uninstall
For the ultimate in eco-friendly flooring, take it with you. One company, Easiklip Floors , created a floating, pre-finished floor that you can take with you if you move. You need only buy it once to save you money and save more trees.
It’s incredibly easy to install or remove because it assembles using aluminum clips. Each board is pre-finished and VOC free, so it’s safe for your family. Reputable companies use only sustainable white oak and reusable aluminum clips. It’s easy to install for inexperienced DIYers who want an environmentally-friendly flooring solution for their homes.