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  • Stephanie Donnelly

Sustainable, Hard Surface Flooring

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

The flooring in your home can play a big role in the aesthetic of your home as well as comfort and sustainability. There are multiple kinds of hard surface flooring that are popular choices when it comes to meeting the standard of health qualifications you have for your home as well as achieving the look you desire. Each of these materials are long lasting which makes them a highly sought after flooring choice.

Wood - Solid & Engineered

There are two main types of wood flooring which consist of the classic solid wood flooring and the engineered wood flooring. Both are excellent options, and each have their benefits.

Solid wood flooring comes in long planks are are usually made of a hardwood species. It is milled with tongues and grooves on opposite edges so that the boards interlock when installed. It is always nailed down to the subfloor which is a process that requires some skill. Because it is solid wood, this flooring can be sanded down several times over its life and refinished more times than engineered wood, but it is more expensive.

Engineered wood flooring looks very much like solid hardwood, but its construction features a relatively thin layer of hardwood bonded over a premium-quality plywood layer that gives the flooring very good stability. A good-quality engineered wood floor typically lasts 25 to 30 years.

Wood is a softer flooring option to stand on for longer periods of time, and although it is more expensive, it will last a long time with the proper care. One thing to avoid with wood floors is humidity or sitting water, so cleaning up spills quickly will cause less damage to the flooring. Wood floors can dent or scratch, but the great thing about this flooring is that once it gets damaged enough you can simply sand, repair, and refinish it again for a brand new look. There are many species of woods, colors, lay patterns, and sizes available to choose from when selecting wood flooring along with sustainable and non-toxic options. Look for the label FSC certified (Forest Stewardship Council) for wood that is sustainably harvested from responsibly harvested forests and non-toxic adhesives and stains.


Made from all natural and renewable ingredients, cork floors are highly versatile, beautiful and sustainable. Cork is a unique hard surface flooring type that offers both thermal and acoustical properties. It is an ideal material choice as it is lightweight, warm to the touch, hypoallergenic, fire and insect resistant, moisture resistant, and easier to stand on for long periods of time. Another great thing about cork is that it comes in "wood look" options which mimic the appearance of wood flooring instead of looking like cork board. It can also be repaired if it gets scratched over time and can last anywhere from 50 - 75 years in most applications.


Bamboo Flooring offers a distinct choice for any home, creating a perfect balance of the best features of traditional hardwood floors and refreshing style options. It offers many options for non-toxic, formaldehyde-free materials with zero VOC contaminants. This makes bamboo a very eco-friendly flooring option for another wood look alternative that can also be repaired. Bamboo is an affordable choice in natural flooring, while still providing the incredible strength you’d expect from an expensive luxury floor.

For more information on the health of your home and the chemicals and materials that are used in your home, be sure to visit our Health page!

~This blog was brought to you by S. Donnelly Interiors. Learn more about the interior design project process by following Stephanie Donnelly and her interior design services in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and the surrounding areas!


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