Ceramic tile is a natural material, and some types of tile are made from recycled glass (including the products listed below). When buying tile (especially imported tile), just be careful not to buy tiles with lead-based or radioactive (often cobalt blue or burnt orange) glazes. Also, use non-toxic adhesives, mortars, and grouts for installing the tile.
When nailing subfloor plywood, snap chalk lines on the plywood to indicate the position of each joist. This gives a nailing target to ensure that nails hit the joists for good holding.
For certain types of rooms and some aesthetic tastes, exposed concrete flooring is a nice option. You can get concrete with a pigment color integrated into the material, you can paint the concrete, or you can simply use a clear (non-toxic) sealer for a more modern or industrial look
Here's an easy way to protect hardwood floors during home remodeling and construction. Recycle used wall-to-wall carpet pieces by turning them upside down on your hardwood floors. Secure the carpet pieces in place with strips of duct tape. The inverted carpet will protect your floors from scratches, gouges, and heavy traffic during remodeling projects.
In kitchen and bathroom areas where vinyl flooring is often used, natural linoleum can be used instead. (Vinyl flooring is sometimes generically referred to as "linoleum," so be sure to request "natural linoleum.") Natural linoleum is made of linseed oil, pine resins, and jute. It was used for decades before vinyl flooring became available, and it's making a comeback. Natural linoleum can be bought at almost any flooring or home improvement store.
Here's how to protect precious woodwork during home remodeling and construction. Recycle used carpet pads removed with wall-to-wall carpet. The pieces are soft and flexible enough to wrap around banisters and other delicate woodwork. Secure the pads in place with strips of duct tape. This way, your wood will be safe from scratches, gouges, and heavy traffic during remodeling.
Many people find bamboo flooring very attractive. It looks similar to regular wood flooring, but it is harder and more durable. Bamboo has a short growing time, so it is a rapidly renewable resource. Most bamboo flooring contains trace amounts of formaldehyde; one brand that does not is Bamboo Hardwoods, and Teragren contains very low levels.
When comparing bids from contractors, be sure that the amounts allotted for flooring and lighting are realistic.
If you plan to replace your floor covering and throw out the old rug you may decide to leave it down as long as it doesn't make it impossible to paint the floor trim. In most cases you will want to use drop cloths and tape them down over the floor covering using removable masking tape.
When installing new carpet, be sure to open your doors and windows. Increasing the amount of fresh air In the home will reduce exposure to most chemicals released from carpet. During and after installation, use window fans and room air conditioners to exhaust fumes to the outdoors. If you have a ventilation system, be sure it is in proper working order. Operate it during installation, and keep it running for 48 to 72 hours after the new carpet is installed.