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Flooring Options



Reclaimed or Certified Sustainable Wood

$6--20 per sq. ft.

Warm, durable surface that can be refinished over time

Wood comes from re-sawn salvaged lumber, logs reclaimed from river bottoms, or urban salvage trees that are removed due to storm damage or similar hazard

New wood that's been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is responsibly harvested and processed

Finish wood with a water-based or plant-based (e.g., products with linseed oil, beeswax, etc.) product or order it factory finished

Wood Flooring From Rapidly-
Renewable Species:




$6-20 per sq. ft.

These species replace themselves in one third to one half of the time that it takes hardwood trees to mature

Appearance is warm and rich like traditional wood flooring

Species have the density, resilience, and durability of hardwoods

Can be finished with low VOC sealers

Homogenous products can be sanded and refinished

Recycled Content Tile

$10--100 per sq. ft.

Durable ceramic or porcelain tiles are even greener when they contain recycled materials; glass, re-ground ceramic, and feldspar tailings (a byproduct of mining) are all available as tile composites

Look for local manufacturers

Small tiles usually cost more per square foot than large tiles and are more labor-intensive to install

Salvaged Stone

$6--20 per sq. ft.

Stone is hard-surfaced; this makes it durable but more fatiguing on legs than softer surfaces

Building materials salvage yards often stock a variety of stone (e.g., slate, marble, and granite) appropriate for the kitchen

Look for local sources of stone

Seal stone with low-toxic, water-based sealers

Select stone of uniform depth (gauged) to reduce hazard


$10--20 per sq. ft.

Also called floating floor, this product usually consists of a layer of laminated color or pattern over a tongue-and groove base of engineered wood; wood strips are connected to each other (along the tongue and groove) but not secured to the subfloor, creating a single piece of flooring that floats above the subfloor over a thin pad

Floating floor systems may not be as durable as other choices and have little environmental benefit

Laminate flooring with recycled content is available, as are versions with bamboo and cork wear layers

Select products that snap together rather than those that are glued, to facilitate removal and reuse


$6-- 15 per sq. ft.

Linoleum is a durable floor covering made from solidified linseed oil that has been available for over a century

Install with low-VOC adhesive

A good variety of colors is available

Can be installed as continuous sheet goods or in tiles

Source: Green Home Remodel/Kitchen, City of Seattle.

Content updated on 9/29/2006

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