Lily and Aaron at eFloor took time out of their incredibly busy schedule to show me around the eco-friendly flooring options they carry. While eFloor isn’t a “green” store per se, they do carry several options in green flooring in addition to their other flooring products. Lily also educated me on the difference between high and low quality carpets. The bottom line is, like almost anything, spending more means you’re going to get a carpet that lasts for years and years, and therefore needs replacing less often which in and of itself is a “green” choice.
What to look for when purchasing a carpet: Buying a cheap, 100% polyester carpet usually has a lifespan of 2 to 5 years. Heavily trafficked areas will shows signs of flattening, pilling and stain retention very early. You’ll have to spend more money on carpet replacement, and most likely that carpet will end up in landfill (although we’ll talk about alternatives to landfill for carpets in another post). Any fiber with resilience, such as wool, will have a much longer lifespan than a 100% polyester carpet. Plus, the tighter and closer together the weave, the longer lasting the carpet will be. Finally, a woven carpet will wear much longer than a tufted carpet, but woven carpets are considerably more expensive. Note: you can tell if a carpet is woven by looking at the backside. A tufted carpet needs a backing and will usually be backed in synthetic or natural latex.
Below are a few of the eco-friendly flooring options eFloor offers:
- Ecotimber: This company, based in Denver, CO, is one of the first companies to offer exclusively all its products from Forest Stewardship Council certified managed forests. The company researches every forest that supplies its products from the Brazilian Cherry to Hickory and Bamboo. All wood is sourced from sustainably managed plantations. Approx. Cost: Hardwood: $9.39-14.32/square foot, Reclaimed Hardwood: $11.65/sq. ft., Bamboo: $5.19-9.39/sq. ft. (all prices are for product only. Exclude installation, prep work and sub-floor).
Bamboo, Cork, Linoleum and Sisal:
US Floors Ecofloors Collection:
- Natural Bamboo: Bamboo flooring harvested from plantations after 6 years of growth. A thicker stalk means it will be more durable. Flooring is prefinished with several coats of solvent and formaldehyde free aluminum oxide for a low-VOC product. Flooring can be installed “floating” or glued into place. 25 year residential warranty for wear. Approx. cost: $4.90-6.85/sq. ft. plus installation.
- Natural Cork: Cork is a renewable resource that is the bark of the cork tree. Harvested by hand from trees in Portugal, harvesting can occur every 9-11 years. Cork trees trees live for well over 100 years. Natural cork tiles and planks come in a wide variety of colours and styles and can be installed by clicking the tiles together without glues. Floors can also be dissassembled and resused. They can be installed directly over concrete. Finish is water-based, low VOC, and has a lifetime residential warranty. Approx. cost: $8.45-9.09/sq. ft. plus installation.Forbo:
- Marmoleum Click: The first flooring that has been certified by the American Allergy and AsthmaFoundation as being “asthma and allergy friendly” meaning it’s a good flooring option for people with asthma or allergies (not, as the term implies, that it promotes asthma and allergies!). Marmoleum is known to be one of the best choices for flooring from an ecological point of view. It’s all natural, made from rapidly renewable resources, and manufactured in ecologically sensitive way. It’s also extremely durable and has been around for over 100 years. Marmoleum Click is a floating floor option that snaps together without use of glues. Approx. cost: $5.50-6.50/sq. ft. (excluding installation).
Sisal, Seagrass and Jute Carpets labelled “Grown Green” by the company — meaning they are grown sustainably, without fertilizers and pesticides and are also completely biodegradable (backings are either natural rubber or latex). There are many different styles and colours available. Approx. cost: $5-13/sq. ft.
Earthweave: is a premium carpet line developed for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. All carpets are 100% wool with natural backings of jute, latex or rubber. Carpets are untreated and undyed and completely non-toxic. Carpet weight ranges from 30 oz. to 44 oz. At end of life it can be put shredded and put in your composter. approx. cost: $13-14/sq. ft.
eFloor is located at 687 Caledonia Road, Toronto, ON, Phone: 416-630-8855.