Now, that phrase is something that gets flooring industry experts enthused because there are more environmentally friendly, or green, flooring choices than ever before.
And while green flooring options are still only a small percentage of the market in Jackson, it’s a trend that is growing rapidly locally and nationally.
“Sure, only five to 10 percent of customers come in here asking for green flooring right off the bat,” says Dan Griswold, president of Griswold and Dalton Carpet One Floor and Home, 2001 Lansing Ave., “but once they see there are materials that are more eco-friendly and will last longer, they start to think about that part of the equation.”
Griswold says, “there’s hardly a difference in the green product appearance or cost,” but “green” is a relative term because it’s important for consumers to be mindful of how long a floor will last when they buy it.
“If it’s been in your house 40 years before it hits a landfill, that’s probably going to be greener than a product that lasts five years and ends up there right away,” he says.
Ted Christoff, co-owner of Christoff and Sons Floor Covering, 109 S. Elm Ave., says eco-friendly flooring made from bamboo, cork and a bevy of recycled materials isn’t just en vogue on HGTV and in home-design magazines, it’s what he installs in his own house and recommends to customers.
Ask Christoff about green carpet options and two things will likely happen: His eyes will light up, and then he will proceed to showcase and explain hundreds of different eco-friendly style combinations that have become mainstream in the past five to six years.
There are a variety of recycled carpets made of 100 percent P.E.T. chips, which are essentially ground-up plastic pop bottles. But Christoff says the “crème’ de la crème” of green carpeting is SmartStrand Carpet by Mohawk Flooring.
SmartStrand Carpet is made with Sorona, a renewably sourced polymer created by Dupont more than 10 years ago. Almost 40 percent of Sorona comes from corn instead of plastic bottles. “From the field to the floor we say,” Christoff says.
Production of Sorona requires 30 percent less energy and emits 63 percent less greenhouse gases in comparison to creating the same amount of nylon, the industry’s standard, according to Mohawk’s website.
Carpet has traditionally been made from a high-concentration of oil, so the environmentally conscious Sorona production process helps control the costs as oil prices increase, Christoff says.
The product is not just better for the planet, by his estimation, it’s better for the consumer, too.
“An amazing thing they found out when they started making this is it’s 100-percent stainproof. Dog urine, bleach, food, ketchup, mustard, iodine — you can’t stain it,” he says. “That’s probably why 80 percent of our carpet sales come from this product.”
It’s also more durable and softer than nylon.
Griswold’s store also carries the SmartStrand product, as well as other products that have “10- to- 15 percent” of actual recycled carpet in them.
He expects to see more products with higher volumes of recycled carpet in the near future.
Eco-friendly hard surfaces
Bamboo and cork have become two of the most popular trends in the eco-friendly flooring movement. Just turn on a television — or better yet, check out local flooring stores where racks with dozens of styles of the regenerative natural product line the walls.
What’s unique about cork is it can be harvested every nine years from the same tree — a much faster rate of renewal than waiting for a tree to grow to full maturity. And bamboo is 13 percent harder than maple and 27 percent harder than northern red oak, so it lasts longer and can withstand more use than conventional hardwood floors.
“The trend is to create an eco-floor to fit the American desire,” Christoff says. “We don’t want oriental floors, we want a good old-fashioned hardwood (look and feel).”
The result is a wide range of cork and bamboo products that vary in thickness, color and design.
Cork of many different patterns is now being produced, including planks that mimic hardwood floors. Cork also wears down slowly and is soundproof.
Although the cost of bamboo and cork products are slightly more expensive — comparable to mid-level exotic wood flooring — the environmental perks often trump the dollar sign for many customers. For example, both cork and bamboo produce little off gassing, or the release of potentially harmful gases caused by flooring adhesives or some surfaces, Griswold says.
Another chic finish that is good for the environment, according to HGTV.com, is reclaimed wood floor.
The wood for the remanufactured plank floors was harvested anywhere from 100 to 300 years ago and was used to build railroad trestles, old barns, industrial warehouses and other structures.
“For all of this stuff, there are really higher-end and lower-end options depending on someone’s budget,” Christoff says. “We believe we have something to fit every style and every budget, while keeping it environmentally friendly with today’s selection.”
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on May 7, 2011