Changing your floors: eco friendly materials to consider

Having eco-friendly home interiors is something decomag readers strive for. One of the best places to start is your floors and we have plenty of ideas that are sustainable and give your home the wow factor

Quick step laminate is a good choice of eco floor

Pictured above: Laminate flooring is quick and easy to install, it looks clean and fresh and it's got a good amount of recycled content in it!

Laminate is one of the most popular flooring materials as it has tremendous powers of mimicry. Laminate flooring is made up of four separate layers with the main component being a HDF core (high-density wood fibre). HDF is made from compressed wood fibres extracted from wood chips, while the 'pattern' you see on the flooring is essentially a photographic image printed onto a top layer of paper. The manufacture of laminate floors does not involve the harvesting of old-growth hardwoods, indeed product cores are comprised of at least 74 percent pre-consumer recycled waste (ie sawdust from mills and wood chips from log processing). This minimizes the need for new raw materials, whose harvesting often depletes natural resources. Most good quality laminate floors are recyclable too. Laminate is extremely durable and easy to clean and works well with underfloor heating. Quick-Step laminate offers a wide range of products to choose from, which is great if you're after a particular shade to suit your décor. 

Solid wood
Solid wood is a composite material made from a combination of wood strands. Wood is a renewable resource that is perfectly recyclable and environmentally friendly. Not only that, but having wooden floors in your living room or kitchen is extremely practical due to being low maintenance and easy to clean -  if you spill a drink on a wooden floor just wipe it up and there's no problem, whereas liquids can damage carpets and make them difficult to clean...think red wine on a pale carpet, agh! Other benefits of a solid wood floor are:
    • Solid wood can match all interior designs due to the huge variety of shades available
    • Your home will look more modern
    • Solid wood is long-lasting 
    • The quality of air in your house will be better

Vinyl flooring is made from the plastic PVC and it's become a fully recyclable product. Many brands of vinyl tiles also contain pre and post-consumer content. Coupled with its great longevity and ease of maintenance, vinyl floors have an excellent sustainability profile. Vinyl can be extremely affordable and cost-effective, while it looks very smart and contemporary. It too has great powers of mimicry, from stone to wood, so if you want a specific look check out luxury vinyl click flooring from Quick Step. And with thin 'boards', vinyl flooring is very straightforward to install.

Ceramic tiles
Ceramic tiles are used widely in bathrooms, kitchens and hallways because they're waterproof, hardwearing and easy to clean. Being made from clay, a truly abundant natural resource found the world over, they're eco-friendly and of course they're inert should they ever end up in landfill. Ceramic tiles come in many shapes and sizes and in every colour and pattern you could wish for. There is also a growing number of textured tiles which add interest to your walls. Porcelain tiles have been perfected to look indistinguishable from real marble or limestone and they have the advantage over these expensive stones which have to be quarried in that they're not porous and require no regular maintenance.