Green Carpeting Options For The Environmentally Conscious Homeowner
If you are looking for eco-friendly flooring options, you may have written off carpet completely in favor of hardwoods or natural stone tiles. Most modern carpets, in order to be stain resistant and long wearing, are made with many synthetic dyes, man-made fibers, and volatile organic compounds. However, certain types of carpet can actually be a great choice for an environmentally conscious home. Carpet provides luxury, warmth, insulation and comfort. Learn about these green carpet types before giving up on the benefits of carpeting for your home.
Wool carpets are among the most common and popular green carpeting options. Wool is a renewable resource, as sheep do not need to be killed in order to harvest the raw material. As long as sheep are raised and sheared humanely, supporting wool carpeting is a low-footprint option for any homeowner. Some synthetic fibers in carpets, like nylon, are more stain resistant, but wool is dirt-repellent. Because the fibers are very dense and opaque, wool carpeting hides dirt well and cleans easily. Furthermore, wool is durable to heavy traffic while remaining soft and hypoallergenic.
There are some downsides to wool carpeting. The first is the price. Wool carpeting is more expensive to manufacture, and therefore presents a higher original cost. Also, staining can be a problem with wool carpets. Wool accepts dyes easily; a carelessly placed glass of red wine could permanently mar a woolen rug.
Though it might sound odd, corn is being used to make all kinds of building materials, like drywall, and now corn sugar is being used to enhance the synthetic production of carpet, making it longer wearing while reducing the cost and resources used in production. In fact, deriving synthetic fibres from corn takes 40 percent less energy than deriving them from petroleum, which used to be the crux of creating synthetic, stain resistant materials. Even though your carpet will not be as natural as carpet made from wool, you can feel good about choosing a product that uses less fossil fuels and breaks away from the production of materials that use up non-renewable resources.
What could be more natural than grass? Seagrass carpeting is arguably one of the the most earth-friendly carpeting solutions. It grows in marshes and can be woven into yarn, which can then be woven into carpet. Also, because the carpet is made from grass, it decomposes completely when thrown away, which means that your carpeting, should you decide to replace it, will not take up room in any landfills and will even give back to environment once it has served its purpose. Seagrass is also water, stain, and dirt resistant, and it is less likely to harbor bacteria.
However, when you do choose seagrass, you do have to make a few compromises. First, seagrass does not dye well, so you can't deviate very far from the natural tone of the grass itself, which can range from brown to light tan to khaki green. Secondly, seagrass is not as compatible with humid environments -- the carbon rich nature of the grass allows for susceptibility to mold growth. Finally, the carpeting will not be as soft as wool or synthetic carpets are.
These are just a few of the greener options available to homeowners today. If the above carpeting suggestions are not what you are looking for, talk to your local flooring shop about other sustainable solutions, like cork floors instead of hardwood or softwood, or carpeting made from recycled plastic bottles. Green options for home building are everywhere, and you can support their production and availability be becoming part of the demand.
Contact a company like McNamara's Flooring Studio for more information on flooring options.