Reclaimed Wood Floors Are A Sound Investment

Reclaimed wood floors are becoming an important consumer choice in historical home renovations, new construction and commercial building. As the green movement gains momentum, reclaimed wood becomes the ideal building material for the environmentally-friendly builder. Wood floors are the best choice for the environment for several reasons.

  • Manufacturing is cleaner. Steel products give off 24 times the amount of harmful chemicals than wood product manufacturing. Concrete leaches a great deal of carbon dioxide.
  • Wood requires less energy to manufacture. Brick takes four times more energy, concrete six times and steel 40 times more energy to manufacture than wood.
  • Wood actually conserves energy. It takes 15″ of concrete to equal the insulation qualities of just one inch of wood.

Wood certification is a growing trend. Regulations on cutting over harvested species began in the 1980’s and spawned tree plantations of Teak and various species of Mahogany like woods. Another result was forest certification beginning in Europe. Today almost 10% of the world’s forests are certified sustainable; 39% in North America, 54% in Europe, but only 8% in the rest of the world.

The problem is that most of the certified forests are in the Boreal forest regions where we are already managing the forests for the long term, and not in the rain forests. There is good news in a study published by the National Academy of Sciences founded by Lincoln in 1863, using satellite data to scientifically prove where deforestation is occurring. Previously data were self-reported by countries to the FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization, making the data suspect. It is now possible for developed countries to work together with fact based data to help undeveloped areas.

Reclaimed Wood is recycling. parquet flooring Manchester

River-Recovered logs were lost once and presumed gone forever… waiting perfectly preserved. Beams from industrial revolution warehouses are another good source. Existing wood floors have an extended life span and can often be reused. Many antique floors are in homes of the 18th or 19th century and are still walked on every day. They offer tremendous design diversity and the look of an old floor can be completely transformed with stains, faux finishes and inlays.

Health and Happiness

Wood floors are the healthy choice. They require fewer chemicals to clean than other floor coverings and they don’t trap dust, fumes or mold in the fibers or grout. Wood is a good floor choice for anyone with allergies. Depending on the sub floor or underlayment a wood floor can be better for your spine and joints. Wood gives a little and is easier on your legs and feet, more or less depending on the installation type.

As ‘green’ building has become more prominent, more products are available with environmentally certified ‘green’ faces and backers. International currencies make it much less costly to send wood from America to China to be made into flooring and then ship it back to the United States. These products may not all be using the NAF or ‘no added formaldehyde’ glues. When the author of the Idiots Guide to Green Living tested her engineered wood floor for formaldehyde it read.23 to.51 ppm versus the.1 that was established by the 1960’s in Swedish and various other studies to be the highest safe level. The California Air Regulatory Board has now adopted that standard for composite wood. Look for a product with certified formaldehyde emissions from glues and backers.

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