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Sustainable Flooring: Your Complete Guide

By Tobias Roberts Rise Writer
Apr 9, 2020

The flooring throughout the rooms of our house is an often underappreciated element of overall home sustainability. Many homeowners might limit their choices to the most appropriate color that complements the rest of your interior design. However, some flooring options can have severe environmental and health-related drawbacks. For example, some can have a substantial carbon footprint. In contrast, others can negatively affect your indoor air quality (IAQ) or might come from tropical forests that were unsustainably or even illegally logged. 

Below, Rise offers a complete analysis of the different flooring options available to environmental and health-conscious homeowners. We evaluate the pros, cons, and cost considerations for the most popular flooring choices in North America today.

Table of Contents

  1. What Type of Flooring Lasts the Longest?
  2. What Flooring Require the Least Maintenance?
  3. Analysis of the Pros, Cons, and Cost Considerations of Different Flooring Options 
  4. What is Hardwood Flooring?
  5. What is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
  6. What is Bamboo Flooring?
  7. What is Cork Flooring?
  8. What is Reclaimed Wood Flooring?
  9. What Is Polished Concrete Flooring?
  10. What Is Vinyl Plank Flooring?
  11. What Is Laminate Flooring?
  12. What Is Porcelain Tile Flooring?
  13. What Is Ceramic Tile Flooring?
  14. What Is Travertine Flooring?
  15. What Is Sandstone Flooring?
  16. What Is Limestone Flooring?
  17. What Is Marble Flooring?
  18. What Is Granite Flooring?
  19. What Is Linoleum Flooring?
  20. What Is Parquet Flooring?
  21. What Is Terrazzo Flooring?
  22. What Are Recycled Rubber Mats?
  23. What Is Suppressed Hardwood Flooring?

Before we dig into the pros, cons, and cost considerations of each flooring type, it is essential to consider the sustainability and health-related issues associated with these products.


Concerns Over Carpet

A quick analysis of a few of the main problems associated with carpeting for the home can help homeowners determine the most critical features of sustainable flooring for their homes. Today, just over half of all floors in U.S. homes are carpeted, significantly less than just a decade ago. 

Most carpeting options are made from synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon, or polyester glued to a backing. These synthetic materials are unnatural, but they also have a sizeable carbon footprint associated with the manufacturing process.

Carpeting can also be a significant source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the home. Though carpet itself emits relatively low amounts of VOCs, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that poorly maintained carpets can act as a "sink" for many types of VOCs. For example, the VOCs from that fresh coat of paint in your living room might be absorbed and released later by your carpeting. This reality can substantially aggravate VOCs' potential danger affecting indoor air quality by prolonging exposure times to VOCs, some of which might even be linked to cancer. Carpeting has also been linked to a buildup of allergens within the home through "trapping" pollutants, allergens, and other airborne contaminants such as dust mites and pets dander, cockroach allergens, particle pollution, lead, mold spores, pesticides, dirt, and dust.

Cheap, apartment-grade carpeting options are generally shoddily made. At best, these carpeting options will only last between 1-5 years before requiring replacement.

New Flooring Priorities

When searching for the ideal flooring for your home, then, homeowners should prioritize flooring options that:

  1. Are durable. Flooring installation is expensive unless you are a homeowner with extensive DIY construction skills. Even if they have a higher upfront cost, it is wise to opt for durable flooring options.
  2. Do not negatively affect your indoor air quality. Research shows that poor indoor air quality can be ten times worse than outdoor air pollution. We spend long hours of every day inside our homes. So, prioritizing VOC-free flooring options should be a priority for every health-conscious homeowner.
  3. Are as natural as possible. Homes made with natural materials generally have lower carbon and embodied energy footprints. The wood used in homes, for example, is usually "carbon neutral," as the trees used for making the lumber "captured" the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during its growth phase.

What Type of Flooring Lasts the Longest?

The most durable and longest-lasting flooring type depends on several factors, including maintenance, use, and other homeowner behaviors. In general, however, ceramic and porcelain tile floorings can be highly durable. This flooring type is generally resistant to scratches, dents, and other cosmetic or aesthetic damages that might require replacement. Unlike different flooring alternatives that we will explore below, ceramic and porcelain tiles are resistant to water and moisture.

The 2009 American Housing Survey of the U.S. Census found that 9.9 percent of houses in the United States experienced water damage due to exterior leaks. A further 8.1 percent of homes suffered moisture damage from interior leaks associated with plumbing systems. Many more homes could suffer from mold or mildew that negatively affects their flooring. If your household is at risk for water or moisture damage, ceramic or tile flooring is undoubtedly one of the longest-lasting options. However, hardwood flooring is also a very durable option in homes that are at less risk for water or moisture infiltration.

What Flooring Require the Least Maintenance?

Spending time sweeping, mopping, or polishing your floor is probably not one of most people's favorite household chores. For homeowners who want a flooring option that requires limited maintenance, ceramic tile, engineered hardwood flooring, and luxury vinyl tile are generally the easiest to care for. Besides sweeping up underneath your toddler's chair at the dining room table and occasional light mopping, these types of floors typically take care of themselves.

Analysis of the Pros, Cons, and Cost Considerations of Different Flooring Options 

Without further ado, below, we offer a concise breakdown of the pros, cons, and cost considerations of the most common (and a few unusual) flooring options. The cost estimates below do not include installation, which varies widely by region.

Hardwood Flooring

What is Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood flooring is made from wood species that are hard or durable. For this reason, hardwood flooring is one of the most popular flooring options and has been used for hundreds of years. Popular hardwood flooring species include oak, maple, cherry, walnut, and ash.

What Are The Pros of Hardwood Flooring?

  • Made of natural materials.
  • It can be carbon neutral.
  • Aesthetically pleasing and can come in a wide range of color profiles.
  • It can add value to the home.
  • It can be sustainably produced and manufactured. Make sure to look for hardwood flooring options that are FSC certified, which promotes responsible forest management worldwide.  
  • Hardwood flooring can also be relatively easily repaired through sanding and refinishing.

What Are The Cons of Hardwood Flooring?

  • One of the more expensive flooring options, especially if opting for rare, tropical hardwoods.
  • Hardwood flooring can lead to deforestation of sensitive tropical forest ecosystems, especially when the product is not certified.
  • It can also have a high embodied energy footprint, mainly if the flooring is sourced from lumber harvested in remote areas on the other side of the world.
  • Susceptible to scratching, especially in homes with pets or in areas that receive heavy traffic.
  • Water leaks and could ruin the floor.

What Is The Average Cost of Hardwood Flooring?

The cost of hardwood flooring varies widely from around $2 per square foot for pine to upwards of $13 per square foot for engineered white ash or certain tropical hardwood species.

Engineered Hardwood Shaw Floors
Engineered Hardwood. Photo Credit: Shaw Floors

What is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered hardwood flooring is a solid wood veneer of hardwood glued to multiple solid wood layers, commonly plywood. Due to this layering, engineered hardwood can only be sanded and refinished once or twice during its lifespan.

What Are The Pros of Engineered Hardwood?

  • Reduces some of the issues related to potential moisture damage that is associated with conventional hardwood flooring.
  • The several layers of construction add stability and resist moisture damage.
  • There is a minimal possibility of warping or scratches occurring.
  • Engineered hardwood flooring relies on a veneer. This means that the wood is sliced and not cut by saw, resulting in much less wood waste during the manufacturing process.

What Are The Cons of Engineered Hardwood?

  • Relatively expensive compared to other types of flooring like laminate.
  • Cheaper options have skinny veneer layers that can warp and cannot be sanded and refinished should scratches occur.
  • Cheaper options will use fiberboard for the core of the engineered flooring. This type of flooring will reduce overall lifespan and floor stability while increasing the risk of water damage.
  • Some engineered hardwoods use formaldehyde-based glues. Formaldehyde is often used as part of the adhesives used to bond the pressed wood together. It is a potentially dangerous VOC that has been linked to cancer. Be sure to check with the manufacturer that the product is free of added formaldehyde.

What Is The Average Cost of Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Higher-end engineered hardwood flooring options will cost somewhere between $8 and 12 per square foot, while some cheaper options might be as low as $5 per square foot.

Bamboo Flooring

What is Bamboo Flooring?

Bamboo is a type of grass instead of a tree that is highly processed. During manufacturing, the grass strands are sliced, shredded, and then pressed together with heat and glue. It's fast growth habits mean that it captures an enormous amount of carbon dioxide, purifies the surrounding air, and can quickly be regrown after harvest. Bamboo flooring falls into the hardwood flooring category but is often marketed separately due to its popularity.

What Are the Pros of Bamboo Flooring

  • The top quality bamboo flooring can be extremely durable.
  • Bamboo flooring can be bonded together horizontally, vertically, or through strand woven mixes. Each of these options offers unique aesthetics and creates a fresh, modernist feel to home interiors. 
  • Bamboo flooring can be FSC-certified to help homeowners source products from sustainably managed forests.

What Are the Cons of Bamboo Flooring?

  • All bamboo flooring is engineered. The process of slicing, shredding, and then gluing back the bamboo into flooring tiles or panels is energy-intensive.
  • Many bamboo flooring manufacturers, unfortunately, use formaldehyde adhesives to bond the bamboo pieces. This can release VOCs into the home.
  • Most types of bamboo flooring are harvested and manufactured in countries on the other side of the world. This results in a high embodied energy cost due to the energy expenditure of shipping heavy flooring.
  • Relatively few color options are available, though "carbonized" bamboo flooring does offer darker hues.

What Is the Average Cost of Bamboo Flooring?

The average bamboo flooring costs between $5 and $8 per square foot. Strand woven bamboo mixes are the most durable type of bamboo flooring and will be on the higher end of this cost.

Cork Flooring

What is Cork Flooring?

Cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork tree (mostly found in southern Europe). The bark of the tree is harvested once every nine years. It does not kill the tree, making this one of the most environmentally friendly, natural flooring alternatives.

What Are the Pros of Cork Flooring?

  • Cork flooring is naturally inherently antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. This makes it an excellent option for homeowners with allergy problems.
  • This flooring option is also soft on the foot. The "spongy feel" is less hard on your back.
  • The millions of tiny air pockets naturally found in cork make this flooring option naturally soundproof. At the same time, it adds additional insulation to your floor that can increase your overall energy efficiency.

What Are the Cons of Cork Flooring?

  • Cork flooring is sensitive to light. Care must be taken to stop the UV rays from the midday sun from premature fading.
  • Cork flooring also has to be finished with a polyurethane seal. Not only is this seal usually made from petrochemical ingredients, but it can require regular maintenance.
  • Cork endures regular foot traffic exceptionally well, though it is prone to scratching from more substantial furniture.
  • Cork is one of the most expensive flooring options, with the best cork flooring being more costly than some tropical hardwoods.
  • Because cork is harvested almost exclusively in southern Europe, it will also have a sizeable embodied energy footprint due to shipping's energy expenses.

What Is the Average Cost of Cork Flooring?

Cork flooring costs between $5 and $10 per square foot, depending on the overall quality.

Reclaimed Wood Floor

What is Reclaimed Wood Flooring?

Reclaimed wood flooring is one way to gives perfectly good wood a second life. Most reclaimed wood flooring comes from old barns, snow fences, or industrial factories that might have been made from virgin hardwood species. This type of wood will be much denser and more robust than the hardwood species harvested today. When properly cared for, reclaimed wood flooring can last for another lifetime (or two). The EPA estimates that over 569 million tons of construction and demolition debris was generated in the United States in 2017. Much of that debris was perfectly good wood that prematurely ends up in landfills around the country.

What Are the Pros of Reclaimed Wood Flooring?

  • This flooring option can give homeowners LEED credits for their sustainable home certification.
  • Reclaimed wood flooring can offer some truly spectacular color patterns. The aging process can create deeper and darker hues giving the wood a rustic yet refined character that tells its own story.
  • Reclaimed wood flooring will also be less "temperamental," meaning that it will be less prone to warping due to contact with moisture and sunlight. After having been exposed to the natural elements for decades, this wood is much more stable.

What Are the Cons of Reclaimed Wood Flooring?

  • The intensive refurbishing and manufacturing process can make this flooring more expensive than other options.
  • Inexperienced dealers might incorrectly identify the species of wood. While you might be told you're getting maple, the actual wood could be different when working with inexpert contractors.
  • Some reclaimed wood flooring that is not properly refurbished could have pests and insect infiltration, which could pose a threat to the woodwork's longevity.
  • Most reclaimed wood flooring products are kiln-baked to avoid problems with insects. While this does get rid of pests, it also requires a large amount of energy.

What Is the Average Cost of Reclaimed Wood Flooring?

The average cost of reclaimed wood flooring is $2 to $5 per square foot unless you are able to source and mill the wood yourself.

Concrete Flooring

What Is Polished Concrete Flooring?

A polished concrete floor is an alternative to traditional flooring, where concrete is poured into a flat slab and then polished once cured. It's easy to maintain, low-cost, and a great option for passive solar heating as it can absorb and release heat throughout the day.

What Are the Pros of Concrete Flooring?

  • Concrete flooring is relatively inexpensive compared to other flooring options.
  • Several different colors can be added to polished concrete, offering a sleek, modernist feel to home interiors.
  • Concrete flooring is easy to maintain, only requiring periodic sweeping and mopping. Its sleek surface will not collect airborne pathogens or contaminants.
  • It is also possible to add radiant heat to concrete floors in a safe manner. For homes that rely on passive solar heating, concrete can act as a thermal mass to store heat from the sun.

What Are the Cons of Concrete Flooring?

  • The cement industry is responsible for about 8 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Using this flooring option will increase the carbon footprint of your home.
  • Concrete flooring can be cold, hard, and slippery when wet. This makes it a less than ideal option for people who like to walk barefoot through their home on a cold winter evening.
  • Concrete flooring is susceptible to moisture, mold, and mildew.

What Is the Average Cost of Concrete Flooring?

There is a wide-ranging cost for concrete floors. Simple concrete floors (such as those for an unfinished basement) can cost as little as $2-$5 per square foot. Higher-end designs that incorporate different textures, colors, and even geometrical designs can cost upwards of $30 per square foot.

nighthawk vinyl plank flooring Home Depot
Nighthawk Vinyl Plank Flooring. Photo Credit: Home Depot

What Is Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Unlike thin layers of vinyl flooring, vinyl plank flooring is thicker and manufactured in long planks that snap or click into place with a tongue-and-groove system. Vinyl plank flooring can take on many looks, including wood, ceramic, porcelain, marble, and granite.

What Are the Pros of Vinyl Plank Flooring?

  • Vinyl plank flooring has a surface that is 100 percent waterproof. So, it is an excellent option for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, or other areas where water spills might be frequent.
  • This is one of the most durable flooring options and can easily withstand lots of foot traffic and wear and tear. It is one of the most common flooring types used in busy restaurants and office buildings for this reason.
  • Vinyl plank flooring incorporates rigid core construction and is much more dimensionally stable than earlier, thinner options.
  • This flooring option can be used on virtually any subfloor, and many of the commercially available products are DIY-friendly. This can help to reduce expensive installation costs.

What Are the Cons of Vinyl Plank Flooring?

  • Vinyl plank flooring is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Besides being a petrochemical industry product, burning PVC can lead to exposure to phthalates and chlorine, suspected endocrine disruptors.
  • Many types of vinyl plank flooring options are glued to the subfloor. This makes them close to impossible to remove, meaning that they will not be reused. 
  • The PVC in this type of flooring is non-biodegradable. 
  • Sharp objects can puncture vinyl plank flooring and susceptible to fading if regularly exposed to the UV rays in sunlight.

What Is the Average Cost of Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Vinyl plan flooring starts at under $2 per square foot, though higher-end options can cost up to $5 per square foot.

Laminate Floor Pergo
Laminate Floor. Photo Credit: Pergo

What Is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is synthetic flooring made by fusing multiple layers of material. Its popularity has increased lately due to its low cost to purchase, install, and maintain. Some laminate flooring manufacturers also add an antimicrobial resin layer for hygienic purposes.

What Are the Pros of Laminate Flooring?

  • Laminate flooring looks similar to real hardwood flooring but is significantly less expensive. Installation costs are also generally lower.
  • Because it is made from pressed wood, laminate is generally more resistant to scratches and moisture damage than regular hardwood flooring.

What Are the Cons of Laminate Flooring?

  • Certain types of laminate flooring can have artificially looking wood grain textures. They will rarely be as visually appealing as the real thing.
  • Not easy to repair or refinish if damage does occur.
  • Some laminate flooring products can release formaldehyde into the home. 

What Is the Average Cost of Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is usually costs between $2 and $4 per square foot.

Chateau Coastal Porcelain Wood Look Tile JC Floors Plus
Chateau Coastal Porcelain Wood Look Tile. Photo Credit: JC Floors Plus

What Is Porcelain Tile Flooring?

Porcelain tile flooring is made from dense clay that is fired at extremely high temperatures. It is an entirely natural flooring alternative that is usually less porous than regular ceramic tile.

What Are the Pros of Porcelain Tile Flooring?

  • Porcelain tile is extremely durable. Because it is thicker and denser than regular ceramic tile, it will generally last longer and is less prone to cracking or breaking.
  • These floors are also low maintenance and will not collect any allergens or other airborne contaminants, thus protecting your indoor air quality.
  • Porcelain tile flooring is also aesthetically beautiful, offering a colonial, Mediterranean-style tough to any home.

What Are the Cons of Porcelain Tile Flooring?

  • Porcelain tile is one of the more expensive flooring options.
  • The high heat required for cooking the tiles also comes with a high energy footprint.
  • The tiles' thickness and weight make installation costs higher, and repairs are also generally hard to do on the individual tiles.

What Is the Average Cost of Porcelain Tile Flooring?

Porcelain tile flooring usually costs Between $5 and $12 per square foot.

Ceramic Tile Refin
Ceramic Tile. Photo Credit: Refin

What Is Ceramic Tile Flooring?

Ceramic tile flooring is a flooring type made from a mixture of water, sand, and clay. Like porcelain tiles, ceramic tile flooring is an all-natural and durable flooring alternative.

What Are the Pros of Ceramic Tile Flooring?

  • Ceramic tiles are also very water-resistant, vital for homes prone to water or moisture damage.
  • This type of floor is also easy to clean and maintain.
  • Ceramic tiles are generally much less expensive than porcelain.
  • Repairs are usually inexpensive as individual tiles can be removed and replaced.

What Are the Cons of Ceramic Tile Flooring?

  • Ceramic tile floors are colder than other options such as wood or cork flooring. They can also be slippery when wet.
  • Tile floors are hard and can be damaging to your back if you stand for extended periods.
  • If manufactured far from your home, the heaviness of ceramic tile will also add to the embodied energy footprint.

What Is the Average Cost of Ceramic Tile Flooring?

The cheapest ceramic tiles can cost as low as $1 per square foot, though the average price range is between $4 and $6 per square foot.

Natural Travertine KleanSTONE
Natural Travertine. Photo Credit: KleanSTONE

What Is Travertine Flooring?

Travertine flooring is made from natural stone that was originally sourced from parts of Europe. Besides being naturally beautiful, this stone flooring can be manufactured into different finishes, including brushed, matte, polished, or tumbled.

What Are the Pros of Travertine Flooring?

  • Compared to other types of stone flooring such as marble, travertine is less expensive to purchase and install. 
  • This flooring type only requires minimal manufacturing, making it one of the most environmentally friendly stone floor options with the lowest carbon and embodied energy footprints. 

What Are the Cons of Travertine Flooring?

  • Travertine flooring is naturally porous due to the structure of the stone. Regular maintenance requires using powders and other sealants to keep the holes from enlarging due to daily use.
  • This flooring is prone to staining from acidic substances (like that morning cup of orange juice). This also means that you can't use vinegar as a natural cleanser for mopping up your floor.
  • Travertine flooring, like most types of stone floors, is much more expensive than other types of flooring explored above.

What Is the Average Cost of Travertine Flooring?

Travertine flooring often costs between $5 to $15 per square foot. The quality and finish can impact this flooring type's average cost, with a natural finish being the least costly and a polished or sealed finished being the most expensive.

Sandstone Floor Tiling Tips
Sandstone Floor. Photo Credit: Tiling Tips

What Is Sandstone Flooring?

Sandstone flooring is a natural flooring with earthy tones of tan, sand, gold, red, and brown. This flooring type mimics the look of beach or desert sand and is quarried from the earth in large slabs later cut into smaller pieces for manufacturing.

What Are the Pros of Sandstone Flooring?

  • Sandstone tile is another natural flooring option that offers a unique aesthetic quality to any home.
  • Sandstone is extremely durable, though it is more forgiving than harder stone flooring alternatives like slate.
  • If tiles do crack or break, replacement is relatively easy.

What Are the Cons of Sandstone Flooring?

  • Sandstone tiles have limited color options, though the natural white, yellow, tan, and red colors offer a natural beach or desert feel to the home.
  • Because sandstone is naturally porous, it is much more prone to stains and can also suffer damage from molds or mildews.
  • This porous nature also means that sandstone tiles can absorb certain types of bacteria and might require a sealant if used in kitchens or bathrooms. 
  • This stone flooring alternative can also suffer from scratches, especially in households with pets.

What Is the Average Cost of Sandstone Flooring?

Sandstone flooring costs between $5 and $8 per square foot. The quality and distance for shipping can impact the average cost.

Limestone Floor SS Tile and Stone
Limestone Floor. Photo Credit: SS Tile and Stone

What Is Limestone Flooring?

Limestone flooring is usually one of the most affordable natural stone flooring alternatives and is made from sedimentary rocks found at the sea's bottom. Limestone flooring is pressurized due to its origins making it a durable option ev4en though there are aesthetic signs of pores.

What Are the Pros of Limestone Flooring?

  • The earthy tone offers a natural and rustic ambiance to the home. Because the individual tiles are not uniformly manufactured, each limestone floor will be different and unique.
  • While limestone flooring needs to be regularly sealed, homeowners can quickly be done, thus keeping down maintenance costs.
  • The natural, earthy look of limestone tiles can increase the resale value of your home.

What Are the Cons of Limestone Flooring?

  • Limestone flooring requires regular maintenance, including proper sealants that might need to be reapplied every couple of years.
  • Limestone is also relatively fragile and prone to chipping and cracking. It is not recommended for areas with heavy foot traffic.
  • If the sealant is not applied correctly, limestone can absorb water and lead to mold and mildew problems on your floor.

What Is the Average Cost of Limestone Flooring?

Limestone flooring costs between $4 and $12 per square foot. The cost varies based on finish, color and thickness.

greecian white marble tile taracarra Home Depot
Greecian White Marble Tile. Photo Credit: Home Depot

What Is Marble Flooring?

Marble is a natural quarried stone from the limestone family that is made from metamorphic rock. Through a naturally occurring process called metamorphosis, limestone, along convergent plate boundaries, is subjected to heat and pressure, causing calcite in limestone to recrystallize. Characterized by various colors, patterns, and swirls, marble has been used to make flooring, countertops, sculptures, and buildings for thousands of years.

What Are the Pros of Marble Flooring?

  • Marble flooring is stunning and will enhance the beauty and attractiveness of any room in the home.
  • This 100 percent natural stone material is also easily polished.
  • Marble is also good at conducting heat, meaning that it is a good option for homes with radiant floor heating systems.
  • Due to its stunning appearance and durability, marble flooring will undoubtedly add resale value to your home.

What Are the Cons of Cons of Marble Flooring?

  • Marble flooring is one of the most expensive flooring options available to homeowners.
  • Despite its appearance, marble is actually soft and somewhat porous. Highly polished marble tiles can be prone to chipping or scratches when not adequately maintained.
  • Due to its alkaline nature, marble flooring can also suffer from stains when high-acidic materials such as vinegar or lemon juice are accidentally spilled.
  • Standing or pooled water can infiltrate and discolor marble, though regular mopping or periodic exposure to water poses no risk.

What Is the Average Cost of Marble Flooring?

Marble flooring costs between $8 and $20 per square foot, though specialty marble flooring can run as high as $40 per square foot.

Granite Floor Tile Paradise Granite
Granite Floor Tile. Photo Credit: Paradise Granite

What Is Granite Flooring?

Granite flooring comes from igneous rock. The slow process of volcanic combustion beneath the Earth's surface means that granite flooring can be found in a wide variety of naturally-occurring colors, including white, black, beige, brown, blue, and red.

What Are the Pros of Granite Flooring?

  • Though granite is a common option for countertops, granite tile flooring also offers superior durability and beauty.
  • Granite tiles are virtually impervious to liquids, meaning that no water or moisture damage is not a concern with this type of flooring.
  • Granite is naturally hypoallergenic and easy to clean.

What Are the Cons of Granite Flooring?

  • Granite flooring is one of the more expensive flooring alternatives.
  • Due to its weight, installation costs are also generally higher.
  • Granite flooring needs to be regularly resealed.
  • Though granite is compatible with in-floor heating, it is cold underfoot with no heating.

What Is the Average Cost of Granite Flooring?

Granite flooring costs $2 o $10 per square foot depending on size, color, and the quality of the tiles.

UZIN Linoleum Floor
Linoleum Floor. Photo Credit: UZIN

What Is Linoleum Flooring?

Linoleum flooring is made from natural materials, such as wood flour, powdered cork, ground limestone, rosins, jute, linseed oil, and pigments. This eco-friendly flooring type can take on many different styles, textures, and colors and does not emit VOCs. Contrary to other flooring types, linoleum has a cushioning feel when walking.

What Are the Pros of Linoleum Flooring

  • Linoleum flooring might sound old-fashioned but is enjoying a resurgence as a natural, bio-based flooring alternative.
  • Linoleum, when properly cared for, is extremely durable and can last for up to 40 years.
  • No VOCs are emitted with linoleum, though new linoleum flooring will have a smell of linseed oil that usually goes away in the first couple of weeks.
  • The pigments in linoleum penetrate throughout the thickness of the flooring instead of being concentrated in the surface layer. This uniform pigmenting means that minor scratches and dents can easily be camouflaged.

What Are the Cons of Linoleum Flooring?

  • Sharp objects can dent or cut through linoleum.
  • Excessive exposure to linoleum can cause it to "amber" or turn darker or yellowish hues.
  • Linoleum flooring is prone to water damage and is not an excellent option for areas with spills or high humidity levels, such as basements, laundry rooms, or bathrooms.

What Is the Average Cost of Linoleum Flooring?

Linoleum flooring usually costs between $3 and $4 per square foot.

Bruce Solid Hardwood Parquet Home Depot
Bruce Solid Hardwood Parquet. Photo Credit: Home Depot

What Is Parquet Flooring?

Parquet flooring offers a mosaic pattern of geometrically arranged wood pieces providing a truly unique aesthetic quality to any home. It is often made from reclaimed, solid, or engineered wood. The type of wood used also influences how the flooring is manufactured.

What Are the Pros of Parquet Flooring?

  • As with most wood flooring alternatives, parquet flooring is easy to clean and maintain.
  • Natural, hardwood parquet flooring might be more expensive, though it is also the most durable.
  • Parquet flooring remodeling projects can use reclaimed wood. Any time you can add recycled materials to your home, your home automatically gets a few extra sustainability points.
  • The visual appeal and durability of parquet flooring can add resale value to your home.

What Are the Cons of Parquet Flooring?

  • There is a wide variety of quality within parquet flooring options. The cheapest type of parquet flooring is made from particleboard covered with wood veneer. This option is much less durable, prone to water damage, and may emit VOCs into your home.
  • Many types of parquet flooring are also prone to scratching and moisture damage.
  • Long-term exposure to sunlight can also cause fading.

What Is the Average Cost of Parquet Flooring?

Depending on the type of wood used, parquet flooring can cost anywhere between $3 and $12 per square foot.

Terrazzo Floor Mandarin Stone
Terrazzo Floor. Photo Credit: Mandarin Stone

What Is Terrazzo Flooring?

Terrazzo flooring has long been a staple of elite homes of the wealthiest people around the world. Small granite and marble chips are uniquely set into a resin or concrete binder, leaving your home with a beautiful mosaic style flooring.

What Are the Pros of Terrazzo Flooring?

  • Besides their innate beauty, terrazzo flooring tiles are also one of the most durable types of flooring alternatives and are close to impossible to chip or crack. 
  • Terrazzo tiles are also effortless to clean and maintain and can resist any stains. 

What Are the Cons of Terrazzo Flooring?

  • Terrazzo flooring is perhaps the most expensive flooring option on the market. The highest-end terrazzo tiles can cost upwards of $70 per square foot.
  • Terrazzo tiles can also be cold and slippery when wet, potentially presenting a threat for households with babies or older adults.

What Is the Average Cost of Terrazzo Flooring?

Terrazzo flooring costs between $15 and $70 per square foot. Prefabricated terrazzo flooring is often less expensive than a terrazzo floor poured on site. While the cost is high, terrazzo floors require little to no maintenance.

EZ Flex Recycled Rubber Mats Costco
EZ Flex Recycled Rubber Mats. Photo Credit: Costco

What Are Recycled Rubber Mats?

Recycled rubber mats are made from recycled rubber and are often viewed as a low-cost, high-quality flooring option. They can withstand high traffic levels, are durable, easy to clean, and are water-resistant.

What Are the Pros of Recycled Rubber Mats?

  • Recycled rubber mats for flooring are an increasingly popular option due to their durability and comfort.
  • Rubber flooring mats can be made from 100 percent recycled material.
  • This type of flooring is also naturally hypoallergenic and will not harbor dust mites or other allergens.
  • It can be made from natural rubber for homeowners wanting to avoid synthetic materials in their homes.
  • Recycled rubber mats can come as tiles or sheets, are easy to install, and are highly slip-resistant.
  • Rubber flooring is a natural insulator and will increase the thermal performance of your home.

What Are the Cons of Recycled Rubber Mats?

  • Rubber flooring is rather unattractive and does not have a natural look.
  • Both synthetic and natural rubbers will leave a smell that can last for several years after installation.
  • Tire-derived rubber flooring has also been shown to release high amounts of potentially dangerous VOCs into the home.
  • Grease can leave stains, making rubber a lousy option for kitchens.

What Is the Average Cost of Recycled Rubber Mats?

The average cost of rubber mats is between $1.50 and $4 per square foot, depending on the thickness and quality of rubber.

What Is Suppressed Hardwood Flooring?

Suppressed hardwood flooring is similar to the other hardwood floorings reviewed above. However, the lumber is specifically sourced from trees that grow in the understory of mature forests.

What Are the Pros of Suppressed Hardwood?

  • With this sort of forest management, the larger, healthier trees in the forest canopy are left intact. This type of flooring protects animal habitat and maintains forest ecosystems intact.
  • The trees harvested for this flooring type are also explicitly selected to mitigate the risk from forest fires.
  • Even compared to other hardwood flooring types that are FSC-certified, suppressed hardwood flooring is widely considered to be the most environmentally friendly wood flooring alternative.

What Are the Cons of Suppressed Hardwood?

  • It can be challenging to find suppressed hardwood flooring alternatives, though FSC-certified wood is an excellent place to start.
  • This flooring type will also generally be comparatively more expensive due to the extra costs associated with the selective felling of trees.

What Is the Average Cost of Suppressed Hardwood?

Suppressed hardwood costs between $3 to $8 per square foot. The price is impacted by the source, species of wood and manufacturing process.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2022-02-24T13:08:18+0000
Tobias Roberts

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Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.