The best products...
- Are not made from PVC (vinyl)
- Meet or exceed the performance requirements of the application based on ASTM testing
- May contain biobased content
- 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
- Kährs Upofloor Zero
- Teknoflor CS Sheet and CS Tile
- Mannington Mills Cirro
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, some of which are hazardous, check an HPD or Declare label to be certain.
- Biobased polyurethane is available and has advantages, but note that the polyurethane is still isocyanate-based. Isocyanates are problematic because they are powerful asthmagens and respiratory sensitizers; although they are not present in fully cured products, they pose a risk to workers during manufacturing. Polyurethane is also very difficult to recycle.
- 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, there are significant environmental and health concerns from the PVC’s life cycle.
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.