Wood flooring definitely offers a timeless beauty and elegance that many are attracted to. The problem is that some hard woods take a very long time to grow, are rare and are not ethically harvested. There are however, several alternatives that are earth friendly and can offer the same look as exotic hardwoods.
Sustainable Flooring Options:
Reclaimed Wood Flooring (salvaged from another property)
Vintage wood will add value to your home, is aesthetically pleasing, generally very durable, and can be painted, white-washed or stained any colour. However, it must be examined thoroughly and could amplify sound, but this could be mitigated with the use of rugs.
Bamboo (a quick-growing grass that can be worked into hard-wearing floorboards)
Bamboo is quite easy to clean, water resistant, inhospitable to dust mites, repels dust and pollen and strand-woven bamboo is tougher than oak flooring. It can be prone to scratching and some types have an adhesive containing formaldehyde that could release over time, so be sure to do your research.
Cork Flooring (bark of the cork oak tree that is safely harvested and made into flooring)
Cork is an excellent insulator, absorbs sound, non-absorbent for dust or mites, durable and shock-absorbent, and naturally resistant to mould and mildew. However, it is unlikely to last as long as hardwood, subfloor needs to be properly prepared (clean, dry and level) and as it is relatively soft, can be scratched. This could be a great option in bathrooms.
Is another natural option that may be considered ‘retro’ by some but is having a massive comeback with its large range of choices in patterns and designs. It even includes marble, stone-look and flecked patterns.