There are different types of flooring available on the market today such as cork, concrete, wood flooring and more. Whichever you choose, your floor will surely print an atmosphere and an identity to your home. Do not decide too quickly, especially since the cost is generally high! The two main criteria you should consider are the life and the absence of toxic fumes. Here are some ideas for healthy and sustainable floors:

Engineered wood flooring

The “engineered wood” is made of wood: plywood together with a layer of hardwood. It is often used in multi-housing above subfloor soundproofing.

Pro: This product is solid and stable.

healthy and sustainable floors
healthy and sustainable floors

Cons: This wood compound may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the lower layers. It is less durable than floor that consists solely of solid wood.

Cost: $3 to $12 / ft2

Hardwood flooring

Wood “tongue and groove” used as is.

Pros: Hardwood flooring takes a local FSC certified wood, and so your choice will be quite environmentally friendly. For a more sustainable choice, choose the hardwood (oak, cherry, maple) rather than softwoods (pine, spruce). It generally contains low VOC.

Cons: There is a risk of damage in the places where the passages are more frequent. If you choose the oil finish than varnish, then repairing will then become more easily!

Cost: $3 to $12 / ft2

Ceramic tiles

Pros: The product is durable, highly resistant to water. It is healthy, but if you are sure that the mortar and grout have low VOC.

Cons: Colors and patterns can become obsolete quickly! These products are all imported and require significant embodied energy in their production.

Cost: $3 to $12 / ft2


Pros: Cork is a good thermal insulator of noise and vibration. It is resistant to water. Just make sure that the selected cork comes from the bark of cork oak and is not a substitute for plastic base. It is a renewable resource, which the bark is just removed and the tree is not cut.

Cons: It comes from Europe, and its carbon footprint is low. It often contains VOCs emanating from under the cork layer, usually made ​​from high density fiber panels. You must explicitly request a product without VOCs.

Cost: $5 to $10 / ft2


Pros: This is a renewable, dense and durable wood floor. It is now available in FSC and / or glue without formaldehyde release.

Cons: It always comes from Asia with a negative carbon footprint. Moreover, the countries in which it is cut and processed are fairly fussy about the working conditions of workers and the use of chemicals.

Cost: $3 to $8 / ft2

Recovered floors

Pros: This is the ultra-environmentally friendly wood flooring, which the waste is reused and helps save resources.

Cons: Requires a lot of labor for its restoration. Hence the high price of recovered floors is found in commerce (barn wood, etc.).

Cost: $1 to $12 / ft2


Pros: If the floor is none other than your foundation slab, then this choice is very affordable! Assign smoothing cement, allowing a nice uniform finish and a contemporary look. The concrete is inert (no toxic fumes) and it is an excellent thermal mass (heat retention).

Cons: The concrete is not an environmentally friendly material in its manufacture.

If your concrete floor does not coincide with your foundation slab, it will be more expensive. Finally, note that the smooth floors should be sealed with products that may contain VOCs. So check before you buy.

Cost: $1 to $12 / ft2