Traditional hardwood floors or carpeting have been the go-to floor coverings for generations.  But in the last 10 years, more materials have been gaining popularity as alternatives to the old standbys.

Hardwood floors may always be the most popular flooring choice. However, there are growing categories of flooring that add warmth, comfort and durability to many homes.   Bamboo, cork and even reclaimed wood are becoming increasingly popular as homeowners look for unique choices in their kitchens, baths and living spaces.

Reclaimed wood, often taken from old farmhouses and barns, makes a great, durable floor covering for vintage homes.  At the same time, it can provide a nice balance in a contemporary remodeling project.  Reclaimed wood is inherently “green”.  No new trees are harvested to create reclaimed wood.  There are a wide range of woods to choose from as well, including beautiful white pine and durable chestnut.

Bamboo, mostly supplied from China, is a very hard flooring material, as durable as white oak and rock maple.  Bamboo is also very green.  Bamboo is harvested in the same was as you mow your lawn.  It is essentially a grass-like plant that regrows very quickly.

Cork, usually from Spain or Portugal, is another very sustainable flooring option.  The bark of the tree is harvested instead of the wood of the tree itself.  The bark regrows quickly, making it a great choice for environmentally-conscious homeowners.  Cork makes an ideal floor covering for kitchens.  It’s soft, making it very comfortable to stand on and very forgiving to a dropped plate or bowl.

Cork, bamboo and reclaimed wood may be slightly more expensive, but their durability, comfort and low impact on the environment make them very popular alternatives to traditional hardwood or carpeted floors.