By Steve Graham, Networx

Sustainable flooring should start under your floorboards. There are plenty of green underlay options. Be sure to consider toxicity, recycled content, and insulation when choosing what to place under the floors.

First, don't try to reduce your use of "stuff" by skipping the underlay. Your frugality might be counterproductive if the floor requires quicker replacement. The underlay can keep moisture and mold off the floors. Bamboo, cork, laminates, or other floating floors may also develop cracks and gaps and wear down faster without a soft cushion. Finally, underlay can block noise and make flooring more flexible, so it is easier on the knees.