If you want to incorporate sustainable building practices in your design, tile is your best flooring option.
When it comes time to choose the flooring for your home or business, there are many factors to consider. Obviously you want your flooring to be attractive, durable, and able to stand up to the wear you will give it. However, if you are interested in following green building principles, you will also want to consider the impact of your flooring choice on the environment.
To guide you in your decision, we’ve prepared this basic overview of the environmental impact of various flooring options.
Wood: When harvested responsibly, wood is a wonderful sustainable resource. This is especially true if a fast-growing wood such as bamboo is chosen. Solid hardwood flooring can last for up to 50 years or more, at which point it may still have potential to be reused or repurposed. The main drawback of wood as a flooring material is that it must be repeatedly refinished during its service life, and finishes often emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals) that can contaminate indoor air and cause issues with human health.
Carpet: Some types of carpet are made from recycled materials, which is excellent from a sustainability standpoint. However, carpet does have a short service life, needing to be replaced every 6 years on average. This high rate of replacement means a lot of energy is consumed producing new carpet. Another concern is that carpet requires a lot of energy to keep clean. Unlike an option such as tile that can be cleaned with just water and a mop, carpet needs to be vacuumed and shampooed which requires electricity. One final issue with carpet is that it can harbor allergens like dust mites and mold spores, which is bad for the indoor environment.
Vinyl & Laminate: Both vinyl and laminate flooring are considered durable flooring materials, and this long service life does help to reduce consumption of resources. However, certain types of vinyl and laminate may contain either VOCs like formaldehyde or phthalates, either of which can negatively impact human health.
Tile: Whether you are concerned about your indoor environment or the health of the planet as a whole, tile brings some very important benefits. When VOC-free grouts are used, floor tile does not release any kind of vapors or harbor allergens that could contaminate the air and cause health problems. Tile helps reduce waste because it is extremely durable and can last for 50 or 100 years without replacement if properly cared for. It has the potential to be reused or repurposed at the end of its service life. While it does take a lot of energy to manufacture tile, tile does not consume additional energy during its service life—it does not need to be stripped and sanded like wood or vacuumed like carpet.
To learn more about floor tile options, come to Mission Tile West’s showroom.