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posted: 8/1/2014 6:00 AM

Make your home more eco-friendly with a new floor

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Want to help save the planet and update your home's flooring at the same time?

The floors in your home have more of an effect on the environment -- and your home's value -- than you may think.

"New floors can definitely boost the salability of your home and its perceived value among buyers," says Michael Parent, president of the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors and vice president of operations for Burnet Title's Chicago region. "That's especially true of eco-friendly options such as bamboo and cork that are more popular than ever before."

Here are some eco-friendly options to consider for your home:

• Hardwood floors allow you to keep a classic look. By using reclaimed or salvaged wood as your hardwood floors you can help prevent deforestation. You also can check to see if your lumber is coming from sustainably managed forests through the Forest Stewardship Council website, Sustainably managed forests promote regeneration of trees, conservation of biodiversity and preservation of water and air quality.

• Cork is becoming a popular floor choice. Cork is a hypoallergenic, fire-resistant option and a natural insect repellent. Cork flooring is taken from oak tree bark that grows back every three years, which is much better than the decades it takes most trees to regenerate. Cork is also easy on the feet and provides great acoustic and thermal insulation. Any marks left from shoes or furniture are also easily removed. Plus, these floors tend to last between 10 and 30 years.

• Bamboo has a longer life than regular hardwood. While bamboo can have physical similarities to hardwood, it is naturally resistant to water and mildew, and is one of the most popular flooring options today. It is easy to customize bamboo to make it fit in with your home. The bamboo tree reaches full maturity in about three to five years and grows in abundance, which makes this flooring eco-friendly.

• Tile and linoleum add some color to your home's floors. Recycled glass tile is mildew and mold resistant because it is non-absorptive and allows you to put old bottles to good use. Linoleum is naturally biodegradable and hypoallergenic, which is why it is used in many hospitals.

If you want to change up the look of a favorite room and want to make your home greener at the same time, consider using one of these eco-friendly flooring options.

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