A Laminate floor is considered an eco-friendly alternative to just about all other flooring options.
The harvesting of trees to make a hardwood floor and the clearing, digging and quarrying of large plots of ground to extract natural stone has a significant detrimental effect on the environment. These activities also require huge energy inputs which results in a significant amount of pollution.
Carpet and vinyl are synthetic materials created using chemicals that are harmful to the environment. The manufacturing of these chemicals alone, results in large amounts of waste and pollution. Both carpet and vinyl also rely largely on petroleum as an input in their manufacture which is a non sustainable product.
Although chemicals, natural resources and energy are used in the manufacture of a laminate floor, the quantities are far less than that used in the manufacture of other flooring materials and their environmental impact can be reduced even further by purchasing laminate floors than are manufactured using a percentage of recycled materials. Some manufacturers use eco friendly fiber board which is manufactured using waste wood materials and even recycled paper.
The main component of a laminate floor is the core. The core is made of either medium or high density fiber board which is made from soft woods such as Pine or Spruce. Softwoods grow quicker and can be felled at a much younger age compared hardwood, 25 years as opposed to 60 years, and are thus better for the environment in terms of sustainability.
Sustainable Timber Growing
Real hardwood floors, as the name suggests are made using hardwoods. The most environmental damage is done when exotic hardwood's, from environmentally sensitive areas, are felled to manufacture hardwood floors. These exotic hardwoods can take hundreds of years to grow and are often taken from heavily forested areas which leads to deforestation. On the other hand, softwoods are specifically grown for their timber in controlled environments and replenish fast once felled. In most cases, exotic hardwood's are not replenished.
Laminate floors are installed using a click and lock system and therefore no glue is required, thus saving the environment the damage that would have occurred by manufacturing chemical adhesives.
You can additionally reduce the environmental footprint of your floor by purchasing underlayment made from non-toxic sustainable materials such as cork, rubber or recycled fibers.