The best products...
- Are not made from PVC (vinyl)
- May be biobased or made from recycled plastic
- May be made of natural rubber (not tire-derived) with Greenguard Gold certification
- Meet CDPH Standard Method emissions standards
- May be certified Cradle to Cradle Silver or higher
But watch out for...
- Vinyl flooring, like LVT
- Any flooring requiring ongoing maintenance with harsh chemicals
- Rubber flooring made from recycled tires
Products we like
Note: Manufacturers don’t pay to be listed here, and our publications are not sponsored nor supported by ads. BuildingGreen experts curate this list of products that best reflect the guidance listed above.
Linoleum is durable and low maintenance. In contrast with sheet vinyl, which is sometimes generically called “linoleum,” true linoleum is made from rapidly renewable linseed oil and jute, and renewable wood flour.
- Forbo Marmoleum
- Tarkett Harmonium
- Liquid Lino
PVC-free plastic flooring
These products maximize the use of biobased or non-PVC plastics that are extremely durable and do not require extensive maintenance.
- Armstrong Migrations BBT
- Upofloor Zero
Natural rubber flooring
These products have Greenguard Gold certification; this is currently the best way to guarantee low total VOC emissions for rubber flooring.
- Artigo rubber flooring
- Nora rubber flooring
Behind the recommendations
Resilient flooring is often made from PVC, which BuildingGreen does not recommend due to potential life-cycle impacts. Once installed, emissions from frequent stripping and floor cycles can hurt indoor air quality.
- Although most manufacturers have phased out orthophthalate plasticizers, check an HPD or Declare label for these, some of which are hazardous.
- Rubber flooring can have excessive indoor emissions that are not captured by FloorScore. This is the case regardless of whether it is made with virgin rubber or recycled materials.
- Tire-derived flooring is made from discarded tires and provides a highly durable, resilient, slip-resistant, anti-fatigue surface—but select it with care. The rubber and its binders or additives may be sources of indoor pollutants, including VOCs and heavy metals.
Resilient flooring is available in linoleum, vinyl, rubber, and other materials, all of which have unique environmental profiles. LVT and vinyl sheet flooring are widely used and have a low initial cost. However, maintenance requirements and costs can be high, and there are significant environmental and health concerns from the PVC’s life cycle and maintenance.
Look for additional green features, such as recycled content, rapidly renewable materials, reduced maintenance (and associated emissions), installation without adhesives, or end-of-life manufacturer-takeback programs.
Cradle to Cradle looks at the life cycle of resilient flooring and does a thorough analysis of material health. We prefer full C2C certification rather than just C2C Material Health certifications.