Home improvement projects can be overwhelming, and flooring is no exception. Whether you’re remodeling one room or an entire home, there are many critical decisions to make.

Among them is choosing between professional or DIY flooring installation. DIY is cost-effective and ideal for basic flooring materials, but it requires time, effort and a certain skill level. Professional installation brings expertise, precision and peace of mind.

1. Energy

Homeowners have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to their home improvement projects. Which materials are best, what style fits their design vision, and how do they want to use the space? There are also a variety of practical considerations, including installation difficulty and cost. Choosing to hire a professional flooring contractor or go the DIY route can significantly impact the time, money, and effort invested in your project.

Hiring a professional team to install new floors can save a significant amount of time, allowing you to return to your normal routine sooner. Considering professional epoxy flooring contractors through their map listing can provide easy access to reputable and experienced professionals for a hassle-free installation process. Additionally, the quality of professional work can be more reliable than a DIY project, meaning you won’t have to worry about a botched job that requires additional repairs.

Another important factor to consider is the energy used in the flooring itself. Some types of flooring require a substantial amount of energy to produce, while others require very little. The energy needed to produce vinyl and linoleum flooring is primarily fossil fuel-based, which is not very sustainable, while wood is a renewable material that uses very little energy to create.

Many homeowners choose to go the green route when it comes to their flooring, but there are a lot of variables that affect sustainability. Choosing materials that can be recycled at the end of their life cycle is critical, as it closes the loop and avoids waste. It’s also important to research and scrutinize certifications to avoid falling victim to greenwashing, which is a deceptive practice in which manufacturers exaggerate or misrepresent environmental benefits. Using tools like the Greenwash Free Filter can help you assess and verify sustainability claims.

In addition to being a more environmentally responsible choice, energy-efficient flooring can significantly lower your utility bills and carbon footprint. This type of flooring is designed to retain heat in the winter and absorb cooling air in the summer, reducing your dependence on heating and cooling systems that use a lot of energy.

While it’s true that installing green flooring is more expensive than traditional options, the cost of materials and the time saved can offset the initial investment. Plus, by opting for a professional installation, you can reduce your carbon footprint even further and enjoy the benefits of your beautiful new floors for longer.

2. Water

There are few home improvement projects as transformative as new floors, and it’s easy to see why they’re popular. But DIY flooring, like other home renovation projects, can have a significant negative impact on the environment. This is especially true when it comes to the materials used in your project.

While most people don’t consider the environmental impact of the flooring they choose, every material has its own unique footprint. Some materials, such as carpet and vinyl, are not biodegradable and can end up in landfills. Others, such as hardwood, are sourced from renewable resources that can be recycled and repurposed in the future.

Another factor to consider is the impact on the environment of the manufacturing processes. For example, the production of vinyl produces dioxins, which are harmful to human health and can contaminate the surrounding environment. Dioxins can be produced during any process that involves incineration of organic material, but the largest producers are forest fires and volcanic eruptions.

The production of hardwood flooring also has a large environmental impact. When trees are harvested using sustainable practices, the surrounding ecosystem benefits from maintaining healthy forests. However, in less ethical situations, the clear-cutting of entire forests can have negative effects on the local wildlife, water quality, and soil stability.

Choosing a hardwood floor made from wood sourced through FSC certified sustainability practices can minimize this effect. This type of flooring requires less processing and uses lower toxicity glues than its non-FSC counterparts. The scraps from this type of flooring are also recycled into sawdust or burned for clean energy rather than being sent to landfills.

Many homeowners are drawn to DIY projects because of the perceived cost savings. However, the time and labor required to successfully complete a DIY flooring project can often be more costly than hiring a professional. This is particularly true for flooring projects, which require specialized tools and knowledge of the installation process.

Additionally, a poorly installed floor can lead to structural problems that can affect the rest of your home. This is often a more serious issue than the initial costs of the materials, as it can increase your maintenance costs and potentially decrease your home’s value. Moreover, improperly installing a floor can pose safety risks for you and your family members.

3. Materials

When it comes to upgrading your home, few renovation projects have a greater impact on the environment than new flooring. That’s why more and more homeowners are seeking environmentally-friendly options that can fit their aesthetic and budget. Whether you choose hardwood, bamboo, cork, or a manufactured floor like engineered wood or LVTs, look for those that are made of sustainable materials and avoid toxic glues that contribute to air pollution.

Wood is a natural, renewable resource that’s harvested with sustainability in mind. It’s also a carbon-neutral material that absorbs carbon dioxide during its growth and releases oxygen, helping mitigate climate change. Choose wood floors that are FSC-certified, and be sure to check for formaldehyde-free construction and finish. Choosing locally-sourced wood, salvaged wood, or flooring made of recycled or reclaimed materials can also help lower your carbon footprint, as can products that are made from recycled plastic bottles and other sources.

Linoleum is another sustainable option that’s made from a mix of natural materials, including linseed oil, wood flour, and cork dust. It’s durable and offers a wide range of color and pattern options to suit any style. Terrazzo flooring is made of a mixture of recycled glass, marble, and other aggregates embedded in a binder, and it can be finished with an assortment of colors and patterns.

Lastly, consider the lifespan of your floors. Choosing those that are long-lasting will reduce the need for frequent replacements, further reducing your environmental impact.

A growing number of flooring manufacturers are offering greener choices, especially in the area of vinyl. However, a recent report by Material Research Laboratory L3C and the Autocase Economic Advisory reveals that polyvinyl chloride (PVC), commonly known as vinyl, has a much higher carbon footprint than previously believed. PVC is produced from fossil fuels and emits harmful chemicals that pollute the air and water, harming fenceline communities around the world.

Be wary of claims that products are “green,” as many companies use the term misleadingly. A true green product must meet high standards across its entire life cycle, from harvesting to manufacturing to disposal. Look for certifications like Green Label Plus, LEED, BREEAM, and FloorScore that can help guide your decision-making process.

4. Waste

As with most DIY projects, mistakes are a part of the process. This can mean re-doing sections of flooring or even starting over altogether, which is costly to both the homeowner and the environment. When you hire a professional contractor, the work is guaranteed and any damage or waste is covered by the contract, saving you money from having to redo parts of your home or purchase new materials.

Another way DIY flooring can be costly to the environment is in terms of the waste that it produces. Tools, nails, glue and rough sections of flooring can take up a lot of space and make your house feel cluttered and disorganized. When you hire a professional contractor, they can handle the whole project in one day and leave your home clean and tidy.

The type of flooring you choose also impacts the environmental impact of the installation. Carpet releases volatile organic compounds that can harm air quality, whereas hardwood floors are durable and add value to your home. Laminate flooring is a wood-based option that can be made from recycled materials, while tile and vinyl are eco-friendly as well thanks to their recyclable contents.

No matter what flooring you choose, it’s important to consider the manufacturing, sourcing and disposal options available. Look for sustainable and eco-friendly options, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about any claims a company makes regarding their green credentials. It’s also important to avoid “greenwashing,” a deceptive practice in which manufacturers tout green benefits that don’t apply to their entire business model or production process.

While it is possible to recycle a portion of your old flooring, the majority of it will have to be thrown away, which has its own set of issues. Hardwood flooring, for example, takes up valuable space in landfills that could be used for other waste products or even left undeveloped. It’s a good idea to choose an eco-friendly company that recycles flooring waste and transforms it into raw materials for the creation of new products. SVB Wood Floors, for example, provides a dumpster to collect all of the flooring waste when we install your new flooring.