Is Wood Flooring Completely Renewable and Eco-Friendly?

30 03 2012

When we think “environment-friendly” or “renewable” we usually don’t think of hardwood.  A common belief is that the only eco-friendly alternative to flooring is bamboo; but that is not truly the case.  Hardwood can also be a completely renewable flooring option, as long as the right precautionary measures are taken, and responsible harvesting practices are used.

HARVESTING

For every 100 trees harvested for wood floors 166 are planted.  There are more trees in North America today than there were in the 1950’s.  Standing hardwood has increased 90% to nearly 328 billion cubic feet.  In addition, there are organizations in North America that ensure responsible forestry is practiced; and these stringent policies practiced have begun to spread worldwide.

MANUFACTURING

Even from a manufacturing perspective, wood can be eco-friendly.  The manufacturing process, itself, is relatively clean.  There are no emissions of methane or other harmful gases. While there is a minimal carbon dioxide emission, since wood produces oxygen, it is considered carbon neutral.

One way to get the maximum out of the wood that is harvested is through producing engineered hardwood flooring.  Engineering consists of using multiple plies of wood underneath a finished veneer of solid wood; this will conserve the precious wood and help get the maximum usage out of the harvested wood.

LONGEVITY

It’s very hard to beat the lasting ability of wood floors.  Wood can potentially last hundreds of years and has never gone out-of-style.  In addition,Wood flooring can usually be restored, even if it was covered for years and years.  Not to mention, after use, it can be used for combustible bio-fuel or returned to the soil through composting.

Overall, it’s hard to find a material more useful than wood.  Not only do trees ensure that we breathe oxygen, but they can also keep our homes stylish and unique.  Next time you’re in the market for flooring, consider the environment friendly option of wood.

 





Don’t Be Fooled: The First Question You MUST Ask Your Flooring Retailer

26 03 2012

Ever wonder why certain retailers can offer the same wood flooring at extremely discounted prices?  The answer lies in the wood grading.  Even though the species (e.g. Brazilian Cherry) may be the same the grade of wood can vary significantly hence the difference in pricing.  Don’t be fooled by the price alone, in every case, you get what you pay for. The good news is all of America and most of North America follows the same grading system when it comes to wood and it’s relatively simple to understand so make sure that the first question you ask is about the grade of the wood.

CLEAR GRADE 

This is the highest grade of wood.  Clear grade can be characterized by the uniformity of the wood.  When you inspect clear grade wood you will not see unsightly knots and messy specs about the face of the wood.  Clear grade wood flooring is “highly selected” this means the pieces that are too light or too dark are thrown away and down-graded.

SELECT GRADE

This is the second highest grade wood.  Select grade wood generally has more of a range in color and grain.  No real defects are found in select grade wood and the range of color and grain is never anything major but slightly more noticeable than clear grade.

NATURAL GRADE (A.K.A. No 1 Common)

Natural grade wood has a wide range of color and grain.  Unlike the higher grades there is a propensity for some defects in the wood such as knots, splits, worm holes, and mineral streaks.

RUSTIC GRADE (A.K.A. No 2 Common)

This is one of the lowest grades of wood and makes for an extremely natural looking piece of wood.  All of the natural colors and grains are shown clearly in this grade.  Defects in the wood are also very common including big knots and mineral streaks.

Keep in mind that there are different grades of wood when you are looking for a new wood floor.  Many people see a difference in price for what seems to be the same product but if you know what to look for you will better understand the price differences.  Also, beware of false claims made by companies claiming to have the top grade wood, ask for samples and don’t be afraid to ask questions!