How to Choose Environmentally Friendly Flooring

cat lying on environmentally friendly flooring

Every aspect of your home, from the paint you put on the ceilings, to the type of flooring you choose, can provide you with opportunities to live in a more sustainable way.

A few years ago we had both a washing machine flood AND a chimney fire within 2 days of each other – you couldn’t it up! Sadly our downstairs floor was completely ruined and had to be replaced. Here are some of the options we considered:

Wooden floorboards

Wooden floorboards are made from natural materials, but how sustainable are they? If you buy floorboards from a DIY merchant, then make sure they are FSC certified, which means the wood comes from certified forests.

An even better option, and one which adds a little history to your home, is to buy reclaimed floorboards.

Instead of toxic varnishes, you can use oils such as linseed oil to finish the surface.

Bamboo flooring

Growing between three to 16 inches a day, bamboo is sustainable and renewable. It is the strongest and fastest growing plant on earth and doesn’t need any pesticides.

To top it all, it is naturally anti bacterial, making it ideal for flooring in a kitchen, in a home with pets or for your young children to crawl around on!


Cork is a sustainable, natural material which comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. Cork is biodegradable, sustainable and non-polluting.

Once the tree is mature, it can be harvested every nine years without being damaged. The bark simply regenerates itself.

Cork is an excellent insulating material for noise and warmth, so is ideal if you have children.

Terracotta tiles

You can purchase reclaimed terracotta tiles, making them a really eco friendly choice. They look beautiful and can bring a stylish ‘Mediterranean’ feel to your home.

The only challenge with these is that if you drop glass or crockery on them, the objects will smash easily!

You will need to choose an eco friendly, water based sealant for tiles.


Natural linoleum is durable and scores high on the eco credentials. It is made from linseed oil, cork dust and a jute fibre backing. It is fully recyclable and a sustainable product.

Cheaper vinyl linoleum is made up of a synthetic petroleum-based materials and is best avoided.

Linoleum is warm to the touch and softer to walk on than wooden floors.

What about you? What is your preferred choice for flooring?