Today, I want to delve into a topic that’s close to my heart – sustainable materials for building and renovation. The field is broad, and the dynamic nature of technology and advancements necessitates constant updates. However, I will try to touch on some of the key aspects that often come up when deciding between products, specifically in the context of flooring.

Hardwood flooring typically stands out as the most ecological choice for most households. While it might initially be more expensive, its longevity and capacity to be refinished make it a worthwhile investment for the next 50 to 100 years. Other popular options include tile and luxury vinyl flooring.

If I were to choose, based purely on value for money and personal preference, I’d opt for hardwood. This isn’t just advice; I’ve implemented this choice in my own house.

Over 20 years ago in North America, we were cutting down more trees than we were planting. Thankfully, this trend has reversed recently, and we’re now planting more trees than we’re cutting down. This sustainable approach makes the use of hardwood flooring a guilt-free option, unlike two decades ago.

Reflecting on historical missteps, Vermont was once almost entirely stripped of its forests. However, we’ve learned from our past and now ensure sustainable forest management. For every tree cut down, two to three are planted in its place, promising a greener future.

In terms of other flooring options, tile would be my second choice. Porcelain tile, in particular, stands the test of time. It’s my go-to for areas like mudrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens due to its durability.

One thing to remember when choosing tiles is the difference between ceramic and porcelain. Ceramic tile, while made from a similar clay base, is softer and more likely to scratch. Therefore, it is better suited for walls rather than floors.

If we return to the topic of hardwood, not all “hardwood” flooring is created equal. Many Vermont farmhouses, including mine, have pine floors. Despite being softwood and prone to scratches, the charm of these wide pine floors is their thickness, which allows for multiple refinishing jobs over their lifetime.

However, if you’re looking at installing new hardwood flooring, you might find that engineered hardwood is a popular choice. It tends to be thinner (half to three-quarters of an inch) and cheaper than traditional hardwood, but the trade-off is that it’s less resilient. Once scratched or damaged, the chances of repairing it are slim.

In conclusion, when choosing materials for your renovation or remodeling project in Vermont, consider their sustainability and longevity. Hardwood flooring remains a top choice for me due to its eco-friendliness and durability. However, each project is unique, and the choice of materials should reflect your personal needs and aesthetics.

Remember, every choice we make in our homes can contribute to a more sustainable future. So, choose wisely and happy renovating!

About the author 

Bill Wockenfuss

Bill is a Remodeling and General Contractor located in Colchester VT Serving the Greater Burlington Vermont Area 

%d bloggers like this: