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Buying Green Flooring

How do you know if the floor you are buying really is green or eco–friendly flooring? There are many questions to ask as well as variables to consider when it comes to determining how green your floor really is. For example, what is the material, where was it harvested, at what point was it harvested, how was it manufactured, what chemicals were used in the production, how was it transported, how far was it transported? These are just a few of the important things to consider when choosing eco–friendly flooring.

Selecting Your New Green Floor

Deciding which green flooring is best for you may depend of a few factors. What is most important to you? Is it important to have the greenest floor available or just that it's relatively eco–friendly flooring? Is price the number one factor when choosing your green flooring? No matter what the priority may be, our Flooring Types section will help you evaluate relative green flooring factors with popular flooring types.

After you've done your green flooring research and have a general idea of the flooring type you want, use the search function on our home page of™ to find a flooring store in your local area.

Questions to Ask Your Flooring Retailer

Whether you consult a flooring professional by phone or in person, these are some important questions you should ask:

  • What raw materials were used to make the flooring? Are they sustainable resources (e.g. cork; latex; bamboo) or non–renewable (e.g. petroleum used in the manufacturing of some carpet types and synthetic rubber)?
  • Does the manufacturing process involve the use of high–intensive machines or materials containing VOCs*?
  • Are any chemicals used to make the final product? Some floors contain toxic chemicals that pollute the air and contribute to global warming.
  • Where was it manufactured? Flooring produced close to where it will be sold may have a smaller carbon footprint (in regard to transport) than bamboo or hardwood that's shipped from overseas.
  • Does it off–gas during its useful life? For example, vinyl flooring can outgas polyvinyl chloride for years after it's installed.
  • How is the floor disposed of after its useful life? Can it be recycled?
  • Does the product carry a green certification?

*VOCs (aka volatile organic compounds) are carbon–based, chemical compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. VOCs are commonly associated with nose, eye and throat irritation, and believed to increase one's cancer risk.

Shopping for Green Floors

Before shopping for your new eco–friendly floor, visit the™ buying guides. Our buying guides cover eleven major floor types including hardwood, bamboo, linoleum and more. By using the above green–friendly questions to ask your retailer along with our flooring buying guides, you are sure to find the best eco–friendly flooring for your needs. The buying guides give specific recommendations per flooring type regarding foot traffic, pets, room suitability, care, maintenance and more.

It's important to do your research. Many flooring types may appear to be green when in fact, due to production or installation materials and methods, they are not environmentally friendly at all. A little homework, plus asking the right questions at the point of purchase, can help you get that environmentally friendly floor you really want.