Bamboo, cork, and reclaimed hardwood are most frequently cited as the go-to flooring materials for eco-friendly homes. While these floors are all excellent options, they are by no means the only choices available to eco-conscious homeowners. Many homeowners in the Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point areas do not realize linoleum floors also minimize environmental impact. In fact, because it tends to be more durable than other eco-friendly options, linoleum is arguably the greenest and most practical flooring material of all.
Linoleum vs. Vinyl
Linoleum and vinyl have a few aesthetic similarities, but beyond that, the two flooring materials are quite different. Vinyl is a manmade, non-renewable material constructed from petroleum. Its production necessitates the extraction and processing of chlorine. Linoleum’s chief component is not chlorine, but rather, all-natural linseed oil. Despite these stark differences, linoleum and vinyl are often mistaken for one another. Homeowners who think of vinyl and linoleum as one and the same are often surprised to learn that, unlike vinyl, linoleum is composed of all-natural materials.
Linoleum is constructed from a mix of sustainable materials, including ground limestone, powdered cork, linseed oil, jute, and wood flour. Interestingly enough, this recipe is very similar to the one that Frederick Walton used when he patented linoleum over 150 years ago. Today, however, recycled linoleum is frequently used to create new floors, lending even more credence to its status as an eco-friendly material.
Durability is often an underrated aspect of eco-friendliness. Sustainable materials are important, of course, but frequent replacement and use of chemical treatments can have nearly as adverse an impact on the environment as the use of nonrenewable resources. A durable flooring material can go years, even decades without needing to be treated or replaced, and infrequent replacement leads to significant energy savings. Linoleum is well known for its durability, with many homeowners reporting several decades of heavy use. Even the flooring’s patterns hold up nicely over the years, in part because the dye is infused throughout the entire floor.
Linoleum flooring may be incredibly durable, but it doesn’t last forever. Fortunately, at the end of a linoleum floor’s life, it can be recycled and used to create a brand new and even more beautiful kitchen or bathroom floor. Linoleum is also completely biodegradable, so if it is scrapped, it will not spend hundreds of years in a Greensboro landfill.
Linoleum is not appropriate in every situation. While it is durable and eco-friendly, it is also susceptible to moisture damage. However, when used in the correct capacity, it can add great beauty to any home while also making homeowners feel good about their eco-friendly home improvement practices. Call Floor Coverings International Triad today to schedule your free estimate, and let us help you find your dream floors.
Photo: © KUPRYNENKO ANDRII