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Learning Center > Flooring > 

Flooring

Flooring

Learn about our beautiful, non-toxic, eco-friendly flooring, made from sustainably harvested, recycled or reclaimed sources at a great price.
Flooring-115524-CAT-LEARN-MDX.jpg
Flooring

Flooring

Learn about our beautiful, non-toxic, eco-friendly flooring, made from sustainably harvested, recycled or reclaimed sources at a great price.

How to Buy a Green Floor: 7 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The seven costliest mistakes:

  1. Assume a floor is eco-friendly because the salesperson or website told you so
  2. Assume a floor is sustainably harvested because there’s an FSC logo
  3. Forget to consider all the costs involved
  4. Do it yourself without the knowledge or tools
  5. Assume all green floors are equal
  6. Refuse to read the installation instructions
  7. Forget to research daily maintenance, refinishing and disposal costs

This article will save you hundreds of dollars and lots of headaches.

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Why Is Our Flooring Different?

Green Building Supply is a company that carries only natural and certified sustainable flooring products. We do not supply unsustainable floors along with a few that are sustainable.

Green flooring was not something added to our product line because the market suddenly demanded it or because it became fashionable a few years ago. For the past 24 years we have offered only green flooring because that's who we are.

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The Greenest Floor May Be the One You Already Have

Tired of the old oak floor or carpet in your living room and want something greener? Buying a new eco-friendly floor like bamboo or cork may seem like a good idea, but are they better than an old wood floor that's refinished? Are they any healthier for you and the planet? Do they help indoor air quality or reduce greenhouse gasses?

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Why Should You Consider Radiant-Heated Floors?

by Joel Hirshberg on March 12, 2011 Average reading time: about 1 minute
There are numerous benefits of a radiant-heating system. Here are the significant advantages — beyond sheer comfort — along with links for more information to aid your research. Read More

I'd like hardwood floors. What do I need to consider? Is bamboo "green?"

by Joel Hirshberg Originally published July 15, 2011 in the Green Home Guide, a service of the U.S. Green Building Council

Q: I'd like to put in hardwood floors and I'm considering bamboo. What do I need to consider? I don't want faux wood, and I read that some bamboo is treated with formaldehyde.
— Asked by Murkey, Alexandria, VA

A: Although Google provides comparative pricing, product descriptions and basic specifications, most websites don’t tell us what is best for our specific needs. We always have to sort out one product from another and make the best choice we can with the information we’ve found. That assumes we know the right questions to ask. This article is all about the right questions to ask.

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Eco-friendly Flooring Guide

a download from EcoTimber

Flooring Guides to download

Download these popular articles as a PDF Read More

Can you recommend a source for healthy and natural carpet/rug padding?

by Joel Hirshberg Originally published January 2, 2013 in the Green Home Guide, a service of the U.S. Green Building Council

Q: Can you recommend a source for healthy and natural carpet/rug padding? Most pads I have found contain either PVC or some kind of foam, and the "natural" rubber versions smell so badly that I wonder whether they contain other chemicals. I read with interest your article on natural wool batting and down-proof ticking and would like the same level of information on rug pads. Thank you.
— asked by R. Meyer New York, NY

A: Your specific questions are answered below within the context of underlayment in general. Due to the many considerations, it’s helpful to have a general framework of understanding when choosing the right carpet pad.

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Is there such a thing as "green" vinyl flooring?

by Joel Hirshberg Originally published September 12, 2013 in the Green Home Guide, a service of the U.S. Green Building Council

Q: I am looking at "loose lay" vinyl plank flooring for my basement due to the ease of install. Is there such a thing as "green" vinyl? I want a flooring that is easy to install, economical and warmer; softer than ceramic tile. I want to be able to install myself, and the loose lay wood-look planks seems to be a perfect solution, but I do worry about off gassing.
— asked by Terry Edinboro, PA

A: Luxury vinyl flooring has recently become popular today due to its durability, price and unique looking surfaces. However, it is made of vinyl which is Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC. PVC has become known as one of the most environmentally hazardous consumer materials produced. Although vinyl may seem useful to us as flooring for a short time, we have to think long term as to how our decisions will affect our environment and future generations. If your answer is, “that matters to me," then keep reading.

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What is the safest and most durable finish for wood floors?

by Joel Hirshberg Originally published March 6, 2013 in the Green Home Guide, a service of the U.S. Green Building Council

Q: We are refinishing our white oak floors and want to use the safest and most durable materials. Street Shoe? Bonakemi? Rubio monocoat? We have boys and a dog and have not found anyone in our area who uses Osmo.
—Asked by Shmuel, Takoma Park, MD

A: To my knowledge, there is no cross testing that shows which product is safest or most durable. However, I have used two of the three plus AFM Safecoat Polyureseal BP, AFM Naturals Oil Wax and Bioshield Aqua Resin Floor Finish and can provide some insight based on my experience.

In our house, our Labrador lived outside, so I can’t say how well these finishes would hold up to dogs, but we entertain 30-40 people each month in our home and had a normal teenage son. We do remove our shoes when we enter the house which helps immensely to keep out dirt and avoid scratching.

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Is there an affordable and eco-friendly floor for my basement?

by Joel Hirshberg Originally published April 9, 2013 in the Green Home Guide, a service of the U.S. Green Building Council

Q: I want to replace my floors. I'm trying to avoid a lot of chemicals and I would like something eco friendly. The problem is the greener the product, the more expensive it is—most products are out of my price range. I've read that you can't put real wood on a concrete slab but I think the wood I have now is real. The carpet guy said it looks glued down. I read that laminate floors off-gas quite a bit and that they weren't eco-friendly, then I'm seeing floor companies that carry "greener" laminates that are made from recycled materials and use low chemical glues. I'm finding so much conflicting information that I am thoroughly confused. Help.
—asked by Terry, Mount Holly, NJ

A: Your confusion is valid. Understanding the chemical nature of various flooring requires much research and skill. It seems you almost need a PhD in chemistry to decipher the cryptic language as well as the hype. There are several questions here; let me try to answer them in order.

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Will a bamboo floor work over my radiant floor?

by Joel Hirshberg Originally published January 31, 2012 in the Green Home Guide, a service of the U.S. Green Building Council

Q: We have a radiant floor in our kitchen that now has a linoleum flooring. Will a bamboo floor work over the radiant heating system?
—Asked by Polly D, Concord, NH

A: The short answer is that radiant heat works well underneath certain types of linoleum, ceramic tile, stone, hardwood, bamboo, cork or carpeting as long as the floor temperature is not too high, the flooring is designed for radiant heat and is acclimated properly before installation.

Most flooring manufacturers require certain conditions prior to, during and after installation of their floors for their warranty to be valid over radiant heat. Now for the long answer.

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What no VOC sealer can we put on our gypcrete floor?

by Joel Hirshberg Originally published October 3, 2012 in the Green Home Guide, a service of the U.S. Green Building Council

Q: I would like to put a sealer on our gypcrete floor before we move in because we don't have enough money to cover the whole floor. The heating is in the floor. Later we would like to install tile in some areas and click together wood like flooring in others. We live in Interior Alaska there for have the additional difficulties and have fewer places to shop for products in stores and when shipping the cost and freezing conditions come into concern.
—Asked by James Sharp, Healy, AK

A: Gyp-Crete, an underlayment manufactured by Maxxon, was not designed to be used as flooring by itself as it is too soft and porous. It’s a light weight concrete used primarily as an underlayment for sound control and fire resistance in multi-family buildings, but is also used in residential areas to smooth out rough subfloors or to provide a substrate for radiant heated floors.

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Can you waterproof and floor a basement without using scary chemicals?

by Joel Hirshberg Originally published July 3, 2013 in the Green Home Guide, a service of the U.S. Green Building Council

Q: Can you waterproof a basement and install a floor without using as many scary chemicals as everybody else? Try to stay true green? Not sure if the walls or floor get damp or wet. Want to install a laminate or other floor in a basement. Maybe walls, sheetrock or woodpanel. Not sure looking for most natural way to go.
—Asked by HelenJay, Manorville, NY

A: The quick answer is yes, there are some excellent non-toxic sealers that prohibit moisture penetration in concrete walls and floors.

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