New Eco-Conscious Countertop and Flooring Trends

by Bryn HuntpalmerJuly 1, 2016

counter1
About a decade ago, choosing to design your home with eco-friendly products could be quite limiting. But the green revolution has led to countless eco-conscious materials and style options. Whether you’re remodeling or working on a new construction, your home can be beautiful, functional, affordable, and responsibly designed. Let’s take a look at some options for two features that make big first impressions: countertops and flooring.

Green Countertop Options

The kitchen is a central aspect of your living space. It has to accommodate some of life’s most chaotic moments, resisting abuse from utensils and spills. When you see “paper” and “glass,” you may think these eco-friendly products can’t take the heat – but these products function just as well as manufactured stone:

End-Grain Bamboo – If you like the look of butcher block countertops, a bamboo counter may suit your style. Bamboo grows much faster than trees, so it’s a wiser use of resources. This material can be easily sanded when needed, and there are various grains, thicknesses, and colors to meet your needs. The price is comparable to traditional countertops.

Recycled Glass – Though recycled glass is a little more expensive than some other eco options, it brings rich character to your kitchen and the joy of knowing you’ve re-purposed waste materials and put them to good use. The colorful glass is diverted from streams and is then mixed with cement or resin to turn it into this practical product. If you want to take it to the next level, look for recycled glass that’s mixed with fly ash, a waste produced from burning coal.

Paper Stone – Countertops made from paper seem may seem like a stretch, but paper stone products resist heat, scratches, and stains just like traditional stone. Post-consumer recycled paper is mixed with a resin base to create this innovative product. With a lower price tag than bamboo or glass, this is ideal for those who want to be eco-friendly on a budget.

Green Flooring Options

floor2
Is there anything that makes a prospective buyer run away faster than hideous flooring? So much of a home’s first impression relies on what lies underfoot. But some problems go deeper than the surface. Many flooring materials give off harmful chemicals that can impact your family’s health and the environment. Thankfully, there are plenty of gorgeous sustainable options that will have everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing rather than coughing and complaining of headaches.

Cork – This natural material is harvested from Cork Oak Tree bark, and extracting the cork does not cause any harm to the trees. Does it get any better than that? Yes. Cork is a resistant, flexible, and non-toxic. It can come in planks or tiles and comes in a variety of natural colors that you can mix for a more dynamic look.

Reclaimed Wood – Whether your wood flooring comes from the bottom of a lake or and old barn, you can rest easy knowing that the gorgeous product does not result from harmful logging practices. There are as wide a variety of styles available. Some products ship unfinished, leaving your the freedom to choose a healthy, eco-friendly finish for your flooring.

Recycled Materials – Materials like glass and stone can be re-purposed to make tiles, while recycled rubber makes the perfect flooring for a home gym or kids’ playroom.

Make sure to do your research when choosing eco-friendly home products. Any company can claim that their products and manufacturing processes are “green.” Make sure to read the fine print and look for official green credentials such as the approval of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the FloorScore air quality certification.


Homes.com is the place to dream and discover your ideal home! Are you starting to get the itch to look for your first or next home, but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! Browse our real estate and lifestyle blog for home buying tips, mortgage guides, DIY ideas, interior design, lifestyle topics, general home inspiration, or just some homes fun. We are sure you can scratch that itch and find all the information and tools you need to help in your home search. Want to start looking at available real estate right now? Head to our home page and check out homes for sale or rent listings all over the country.

Happy house hunting!

Shares 0
About The Author
Bryn Huntpalmer
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.