After touring the TreeHouse, I learned of several green options for flooring. Reclaimed wood is made of 100% recycled materials, making it very eco-friendly but also very expensive ($9.39 sq/ft). Linoleum is durable, biodegradable, and fixed on a plant backing, and is relatively cheap at $3.50 sq/ft. Bamboo is fire repellent and made from plants (bamboo), but has to be shipped from Asia, which takes gas and isn’t local. Having to import it from Asia also makes it expensive, at $8.00 sq/ft. Wood that’s sustainably harvested is another option, at $7.00 sq/ft. Cork comes from the bark of a tree and is easy to clean and soundproof, and is moderately priced at $6.30 sq/ft. Carpet comes from the wool of sheep (which doesn’t harm/kill the animals) and has plant backing and is biodegradable. It costs $4.75 sq/ft, but the synthetic version is only $2.50 sq/ft. I never knew there were so many “green” flooring options!
Based on our budget and previous research I had done, our team has decided to go with linoleum flooring (a.k.a. marmoleum, the trademarked name of the largest linoleum manufacturer, Forbo Nairn). It is one of the few floorings made primarily from natural raw materials, consisting of linseed oil, rosins (from pine and various conifers), and wood and cork flour. The backing of linoleum is also plant-based, particularly with jute, a long vegetable fiber that can be spun into strong threads (and is also one of the most affordable natural fibers, besides cotton).
Linoleum is also non-allergenic, and comes in a variety of colors. Our team is considering black and white tiles, to make a checkered pattern mirroring the popular floor pattern of the 1970s. Additionally, the floors are also non-toxic, have bacterial and anti-static properties that prevent microorganism growth and reduce electric shock risk, and spills do not sink in or stain the tiles.
As far as affixing the flooring, there are two low-cost methods. One is the floating floor, which uses tiles that click together and are pressed along the floor, but aren’t permanently fixed to it. This method is the easiest to install and if there is water damage under the tiles they can be easily removed so the subfloor can be cleaned. The other method is gluing, which would probably be better for the trailer, since the trailer will be traveling and the floor may shift.
Most websites I’ve checked have prices for linoleum around or a bit higher than $3.50 sq/ft, with Forbo Marmoleum Real priced at $3.98 sq/ft, Cool Green Floors at $3.72 and Altera Solids Tile at $4.61 sq/ft. We would need to order about 70sq/ft of flooring, which means the cost would be around $245 to $323.
There are also various designs of linoleum, which varies between manufacturers. Personally, I like the first image, since there isn’t a lot of white mixed in.
This research opened my eyes to all the “green” possibilities we have for flooring, which I previously thought were limited to sustainably harvested wood and bamboo. I believe linoleum is the best choice for my group because it is inexpensive, made of nearly all raw materials, and comes in colors that will help give a 1970s feel. Figuring out the best flooring for the Ventura trailer has made me even more excited to work on this project!