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Which Kitchen Floors are the Most Sustainable?

Jan 20, 2016 | by Carrie

A professional kitchen design should always include sustainable kitchen floors. And, when we say "sustainable," we mean in multiple ways. You want a floor that can sustain through the ample wear-and-tear experienced by today's family kitchen just as much as one that helps to sustain our planet's most valuable resources.

Durability is a Major Key to Sustainability

Most experts agree that as long as a flooring materials are made conscientiously, durability is the most sustainable asset you can invest in. The longer a product lasts, the less resources are spent maintaining and or replacing it. So that's why durable flooring selections are often considered the most eco-friendly kitchen flooring choice.

The caveat:

  • FSC Certification: The hardwood must be harvested sustainably. Proof includes FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, which is a third-party approval that the wood has been harvested in a responsible manner.
  • Locally sourced. The lower the shipping fuel costs, the more sustainable the product is. Source your wood products as local as you can.
  • Hardness rating. The Janka rating is used to rate the hardness of wood, ranging from 0 to 4000. The harder the wood, the better beating it can take in terms of wear and tear - keeping in mind that all hardwood must be properly maintained. Options for wood kitchen floors should be at least 1500 if you want to reap the benefit of a floor that lasts for decades.

Other wood-type flooring options also have high durability ratings.

Reclaimed lumber. This is beautiful option that uses everything from broken down warehouse pallets to falling-down-barn lumber and re-mills and finishes it for interior furnishings. Using reclaimed lumber gives wood a new leash on life, but just make sure the wood is finished sustainably.

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rustic wood kitchen flooring

Engineered Hardwood. Engineered hardwood is an increasingly popular choice among builders and homeowners because it installs much quicker than sand-and-finish hardwood and can be walked on immediately. Look for the FSC certification and low-voc finishes.

hardwood kitchen floor

Sustainable Non-Wood Flooring Options

Linoleum. This always shocks people but linoleum - true linoleum - is made with natural materials, like linseed oil, and is antimicrobial to boot. The range of artistic patterns available in linoleum and marmoleum products is pretty unbelievable - and some products come with warranties as long as 25-years.

Cork Kitchen Floor

Cork and Cork-Rubber Blends. Yes, cork is typically a wood product - but it's one that is rapidly renewable and can be blended with recycled rubber for an even softer approach. People like cork due to its sustainability, beauty and comfort on the feet. Cork is available in tiles or planks, cork/recycled rubber hybrids are available in tiles or rolls.

Tile. Tile floors have lasted for hundreds of years all over Europe so who are we to argue the sustainable factor? They are cool and hard on the feet so use area rugs and comfort mats in front of food-prep areas and the sink. There are plenty of styles available, from traditional colored tiles to colorful combinations that use recycled content, including glass. Other tiles are screened with prints that look just like natural stone.

tile kitchen floor

Natural Stone. This one can all depend. Some stones are more earth-friendly than others, depending on where and how they were extracted from the earth. There are plenty of recycled tile and composite flooring options that replicate the look of natural stone.

Sustainable kitchen flooring options range from expensive to completely affordable, so there's a stylish option for every budget. Working with an experienced kitchen remodeler makes it easy to select the best products for you kitchen's style, use and budget. Visit us at Kitchen Magic for a up-close look at your options.

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Topics: Kitchen Design Kitchen Floors