Extreme Green Flooring Tips and Tricks

29 Jan
Published by Alex Wayne

If you’re a homeowner who strives to keep unnecessary toxins out of your home, you should strongly consider avoiding ready-made flooring and looking for sustainable, recycled materials that can be made into beautiful, durable “green” floors.

By scavenging frequently discarded material and seeking out raw materials that are easily re-grown like cork and bamboo, you can create a DIY project to cover up old and unsightly floors and create one-of-a-kind floors that are a fraction of the cost of conventional flooring. No special tools or construction skills are required to install these eco-friendly floors, just careful planning and plenty of elbow grease! Here are some novel ideas.

Bottle Caps

An easy-to-acquire flooring material that makes for a very unique look is the bottle caps from soft drinks, beer and juice bottles. Spend some time prepping your bottle cap collection by straightening any bent tops or crimped edges. Then just install them like they were small mosaic tiles by preparing your sub floor with thin-set mortar and setting them face up with the rims embedded in the mortar.

Floor made with used bottle caps 

You can let your imagination run wild to create a beautiful mosaic style patterns with the different colors and shapes of the bottle caps. Once the mortar is dry, fill in the gaps with grout; allow drying for 24 hours, and then finishing it with a couple of coats of polyurethane sealer.

Wine Corks

Collect up used wine corks to create a resilient new floor in the kitchen, bathroom or entryway!

You can either leave corks whole and lay them end-to-end, or slice them into disks and arrange them like penny tiles. Either way, figure on gluing about 72 corks per square foot, using premixed ceramic tile adhesive to stick them to the sub floor and firing a small trim nail into each cork to keep it from slipping. Once the glue is dry, finish off the flooring with a couple of coats of polyurethane to seal the air holes and create a smooth surface.

Cork floors are durable, soft underfoot, antimicrobial, easy to clean and insulate beautifully against temperature and sound, which also makes them a good choice for attics and basements.

Bamboo

Eco-friendly, sustainable and inexpensive, interlocking bamboo flooring can be found new from $2.00 per square foot and up. The tongue-and-groove design makes bamboo flooring “float” which means you don’t have to fasten it to your existing sub floor so it's a perfect covering for hard existing surfaces like concrete and tiles.

Clean and thoroughly dry the existing floor while you calculate the number of planks needed. Then cut the bamboo planks as necessary for a proper fit and snap them together by sliding the tongues into the grooves. No messy glue or nails are required and you can work from the corner out, using half-inch spacers to maintain an even edge around the baseboards. Once the floor is covered, remove the spacers and finish the job with matching bamboo trim and molding.

Bamboo flooring is available in colors and pliability that ranges from soft blondes to dark hardwood-like finishes and are excellent in humid conditions like bathrooms, pool rooms, outdoor workshops and basements.

Reclaimed or Salvaged Wood

Give old wood new life by scavenging used flooring planks from salvage yards, scrap piles and demolition sites.

You’ll first need to prep your existing floor while calculating how many square feet of lumber you need to collect. When the sub floor is sanded smooth and all molding and light socket covers have been removed, tack builder’s felt over the sub floor’s surface and place half inch spacers along two adjoining walls.

Start laying the flooring by slipping grooved planks under the spacers along the wall and nail each board in place. Use a soft mallet to tap the boards from the next row snugly against the secured boards and nail them promptly into place. Repeat in even rows until the flooring covers the desired space. Gently pry the spacers away from the wall and insert trim molding and replace all electrical covers.

You can let your imagination run wild to create a beautiful mosaic style patterns with the different colors and shapes of the bottle caps. Once the mortar is dry, fill in the gaps with grout; allow drying for 24 hours, and then finishing it with a couple of coats of polyurethane sealer.

Author Bio:

Alex Wayne is a full-time home improvement, green living, HVAC and plumbing blogger who works with a variety of experts to turn the knowledge of the pros into informative blog posts and articles for homeowners. He is the in-house blogger for http://www.mtbmechanical.com.