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What are the most sustainable flooring options?

Georgia Brown avatar
Georgia Brown
- 4 min read
What are the most sustainable flooring options?

Choosing flooring for your home can be a weighty decision, as it’s a major interior feature and one that you’ll likely live with for many years to come. That’s why it’s so important to consider the sustainability of the material you choose for your floors.

Not only is opting for sustainable flooring an environmentally responsible choice that can help you reduce your carbon footprint, it also has the potential to add value to your property and have a positive effect on your family’s health and wellbeing.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to sustainable flooring. Just be sure to do your research into how your supplier has sourced the materials being used in your home, to ensure your new flooring is as sustainable as possible.

Here are some of the most popular sustainable flooring options in Australia:

Bamboo 

Arguably one of the most sustainable flooring options, bamboo is a fast-growing renewable material that can be harvested without the need to replant the root system. For this reason, it is commonly seen as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional hardwood flooring that rivals its appearance and durability.

Bamboo is also resistant to pests, limiting the need for the use of pesticides during harvesting.

Cork

Also ranking high on the sustainability scale, cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, which grows back approximately every three years. It is a biodegradable material that has naturally insulating qualities, making it an attractive flooring option, particularly for those in cooler climates. 

Cork flooring will typically not be as durable as harder materials such as bamboo, so some may choose to avoid using it in high traffic areas of the home. However, in many cases it can be sanded back and refinished to correct any wear and tear it may sustain.

Linoleum

Linoleum flooring – or lino – often gets a bad rap due to its association with vinyl, which is a synthetic material made of harmful petrochemicals. However, unlike vinyl, linoleum is made from biodegradable materials including linseed oil, cork dust and tree resin, making it a sustainable choice.

Lino is a highly durable flooring option that is water resistant and easy to maintain. It is also an affordable choice compared to many other materials.

Engineered hardwood

Engineered hardwood is made with a solid hardwood veneer and a plywood core, resulting in a similar product to traditional hardwood flooring but with a reduced amount of slow growing hardwood required for production. Like traditional hardwood, engineered hardwood is one of the most durable types of flooring available, and can often add value to your property.

Some manufacturers make their engineered hardwood with a recycled plywood core, which further increases its sustainability factor.

Natural carpet

Carpet can be an appealing option for those who live in colder climates, as it offers excellent insulation qualities and is likely to reduce the need for the use of heaters.

While carpet can be manufactured using synthetic materials, which are not sustainable, there are plenty of alternatives available made from renewable resources. Some of these include wool, sisal, jute and seagrass.

What else should you consider?

Once you’ve settled on the most suitable sustainable flooring option for your home, it’s important to ensure the materials used in the installation process are also as environmentally friendly and low tox as possible.

Be sure to check the toxicity of any stains, finishes and adhesives used to install your new flooring, and carefully consider the products you use to clean and maintain it over time.

Financing your sustainable flooring

Installing brand new flooring throughout your home can be a costly project. If you’re looking for financing options, you might like to consider using a home improvement personal loan to help cover the expense.

RateCity’s personal loan comparison tools can take the hassle out of comparing your options and help you find a competitive product that suits your needs. 

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Product database updated 16 Jun, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.