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Sustainable Flooring for an Orange County Home

Answered by Jeffrey ~ March 15, 2011 ~ Comments

I love the look of bamboo flooring. Is that the most "green" wood-type flooring available? Is commercial bamboo farmed, or is it so abundant and fast-growing that that's not necessary?

Jamie A. ~ Orange County, California

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Jamie. I don't know that I would classify bamboo flooring as the most green flooring you can use, but it is definitely a sustainable building product. Bamboo is actually a grass and can be grown anywhere the winters are mild and summers are warm and humid, but without too much rain. There may be bamboo farms near your location in Orange County, California. I know there are some to the north of you in Oregon and Washington State.

Bamboo also grows in the wild and is harvested, but much of the bamboo used in building products comes from farms and is like any other crop such as corn or wheat.

I'm not sure what area of your home you're installing flooring, but cork might be another option. Cork is harvested from the bark of Cork trees without damaging the trees and is considered a very green flooring product. If you are installing over a concrete slab or in an area that you'd like to add a little sound insulation, cork can be a good choice.

If you like the look of wood flooring materials, it may be difficult to find a more green product than recycled or reclaimed wood. There are companies that specialize in touring the country, and sometimes the world, in search of old building that are slated for demolition. They salvage the vintage wood in the old buildings or houses, take it back to their facility, and remove all of the nails and debris. The wood is then turned into flooring or other wood building products.

About any type of wood you have ever heard of is available and probably a few species you aren't familiar with such as Heart Pine. The reclaimed flooring materials can be as refined and elegant or rustic as you desire. In many cases you even know the origin and history of the building where the wood was salvaged.

All three of these options would be excellent choices for green flooring in your California home. You should be able to find all of them fairly close to Orange County.

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