Many people these days are thinking about the environment and their impact on it. How does that translate into flooring you ask? Simply put -- some flooring options are "green" and eco-friendly. There are plenty of options too, so you have a variety of types to browse.

Speaking of versatility, wood floors can be very broadly defined. Reclaimed Heart Pine Riverwood, reclaimed lumber from old buildings or barns, recycled shipping pallets into flooring and wall options, scraps of rosewood and teak are showing up as the new parquet floors or wall tiles. So many wonderfully unique things from nature we don’t always think about when it comes to flooring.

Take bamboo, for example. It’s technically a grass! But next time you go shopping, check out the kinds of things that can be done with bamboo. Bamboo grain can run lengthwise with the plank or perpendicular for very different looks and textures revealed by growth bands or bamboo “knuckles.” Bamboo can be colored, too, either by heating which turns it different colors of brown from tan to deep honey, or by staining; blues and greens are stunning.

On the other side of the coin is a product that is actually wood but which we often don’t think of as being wood. It’s cork! You can find cork for floors in either solid tiles or in engineered planks for superior stability and quick installation. Look for cork in natural tones or in a new rainbow of colors.

As flooring or other architectural design material, cork is unique in that it is a resilient wood product. That means it “gives” and springs back when you walk on it making it very comfortable underfoot. Cork is also known for its sound and thermal insulation qualities between floors, and it’s naturally waterproof, insect repellent and resistant to mold and mildew. So, cork helps you keep your environment safe and healthy.

From a “green” perspective, natural cork is regularly harvested from the bark of trees which are carefully grown and government protected so it remains a continually self-renewing resource. Remember, it is the bark and not the actual tree that is harvested. The bark is harvested around every 8 years. Cork flooring, if properly maintained, can literally last for 100 years or more. Did you know the Library of Congress has had the same cork floor down for over 150 years? Recently, during renovations, the Library of Congress added a new wing; they of course chose cork to be their flooring option.

Green or sustainable flooring options can be as unique as you are. The design possibilities are endless. Ask your flooring retailer to show you sustainable flooring options.