When homeowners think about eco-friendly flooring, they’re often led to options such as cork and bamboo. While these are truly sustainable options, there’s also another choice that most people don’t even consider: laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is environmentally sustainable and affordable. Even better, it’s also extremely affordable and very easy to install.
Laminate Uses Recycled Products
Many laminates actually use recycled products in their production, thereby making the product itself very sustainable. The more recycled products are used, the fewer resources need to be stripped away from the environment. Different brands of laminate will use a different amount of recycled materials — and different grades of laminate will as well — so a homeowner may want to check the precise quantities.
Laminate Consists of Renewable Resources
Nearly all of the fiber sources that are used in the production of laminate are renewable resources, making laminate a more sustainable option than some hardwood flooring options and other non-renewable resources. Like bamboo and cork, renewable resources make the entire production of flooring more sustainable; the supply of these fibers can be replenished either faster or as fast as we can use them. With other options, such as exotic woods, it’s possible that we could run out.
Laminate Can Mimic Other Floors
One of the major benefits of laminate is that it can mimic less sustainable flooring options. As an example, laminate is available as Brazilian cherry wood. Though Brazilian cherry wood may not be sustainable and could potentially run out, laminate never will; therefore, using laminate can directly preserve the supply of certain materials in the environment.
Laminate Lasts a Long Time
Not everything about going green is about product sourcing. It’s also about product waste. Laminate lasts a long time — and that means that it doesn’t have to be replaced quickly. The less often a product has to be replaced, the less the environment has to provide these resources. Laminate — especially high quality laminate — can last decades because it’s so durable. The new types of laminate plank flooring and thicker laminates can last decades, on par with other flooring types.
Not all laminate is made equal. Some laminate is more eco-friendly than others, because the manufacturers specifically produce their laminate in low VOC environments and source their laminate from suppliers that follow rigorous environmental standards. Homeowners interested in a “green” home may want to inquire about the eco-friendliness of their specific product.
Photo Credit: Iriana Shiyan