Why You Should Buy Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring
One and a half acres of rain forest are lost every second. That is, to put it mildly, an unsustainable rate of consumption of the planet’s most necessary species of flora. Without trees the planet’s ecosystem cannot properly recycle carbon dioxide into oxygen. With fewer trees and more industrialization in the world creating more carbon emissions we are headed for disaster.
That is a good reason not to buy new growth hardwood flooring. You shouldn’t contribute to the chopping down of forests at home or abroad to get a new floor. The compromise is using timber from a sustainably managed forest as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. However, this not ideal because forests subjected to sustainable logging are being placed under a strain and by definition do not have their full capacity of life enhancing trees.
Much better is to use bamboo or cork flooring. Bamboo can be counted as a sustainable resource because it reaches maturity in seven years. It is a hardy plant that prevents soil erosion and doesn’t need planting. It can also been grown organically without pesticides. However the bamboo must be processed in mills or factories into bamboo planks or strand woven bamboo. This bamboo is then shipped primarily from China to the rest of the world to make furniture and flooring. Cork oak from which cork flooring is made is a renewable resource that grows extensively in the Mediterranean area. This makes transportation costs low for Europe but not for the United States.
Strand woven bamboo flooring is strong, dense and hard like hardwood flooring and has many environmentally friendly benefits but it is far from carbon neutral when you factor in the factory and transportation costs.
This is when it is worth returning to guiding principles. And one of those guiding principles for the green movement is recycling. Instead of importing bamboo to Europe and the United States why not locally source disused, unwanted, abandoned and long forgotten hardwood? A city produces a phenomenal amount of waste. Amongst that waste is often precious resources. Little did the average man on the street consider that due to be demolished houses both public and private would be a gold mine for recycling hardwood flooring and hardwood beams. Nor did they imagine that hardwood can be recovered from landfill sites, mind shafts, old barns, skips and park waste. And few would have thought to bring up dropped timber from canals, rivers and lakes.
All of this hardwood can be kiln dried and milled into hardwood flooring and other interior pieces.
The resulting reclaimed or antique hardwood floor after installation is eye catching and unique. It is full of character. Reclaimed hardwood flooring comes in grades of ‘rusticity’ which is a euphemism for blemishes. These reclaimed hardwood planks with saw marks, nail holes, worm holes and dents, however, when sanded and varnished can often be laid on a floor to create an effect akin to art. The patination of reclaimed hardwood is different to new growth hardwood; it is richer and deeper. Combined with the dappling effect of variously hued planks the colour is striking in reclaimed hardwood flooring.
From a practical point of view, the flooring is also more dimensionally stable than normal hardwood flooring because all the moisture has been kiln dried from the hardwood. Plus, the reclaimed hardwood has had many years to settle as a wood. Furthermore, reclaimed hardwood retains all of the strength, hardness and durability of a traditionally newly logged hardwood timber.
Factor in the incredible look of reclaimed hardwood flooring with all the benefits of hardwood flooring such as it is allergen free with the obvious environmental benefits of recycling and locally sourcing materials and you realize that if you need to buy a new floor, it has to be made of reclaimed hardwood.
Hickory is the hardest wood native to Canada and the second hardest wood in the United States. New growth hickory can shrink a lot so reclaimed hickory is preferable because it is more stable. There are several types of hickory which are often combined in hickory flooring.
Black locust is incredibly hard. It is also highly resistant to rotting from ground contact. Black Locust is a very useful hardwood because it grows quickly and can flourish in poor soil due to nitrogen fixing bacteria on its root system. Sadly a blight of borer insects have killed many black locust trees in the States. Thus, it is much easier and cheaper to source reclaimed black locust timber than new growth black locust timber.
Ash is a dense and hard wood that has an elastic quality that made it a popular material for baseball bats. The sapwood is a creamy colour and the heartwood a nutty brown. Ash is a joy to work . It polishes to a fine finish. White ash and European ash is particularly well suited for flooring. Reclaimed ash often has less marks then other reclaimed hardwoods so is a good choice for those looking for a less 'rustic' reclaimed floor.
Oak is very dense and has a natural resistance to fungal attack because of its high tannin levels. Oak has a very attractive grain pattern that makes it a great choice for flooring. Reclaimed oak is often more beautiful than new growth oak because over the years oak builds up a deep glossy patina.
Comments 2 comments
Environmental issues, hardwoods, bamboo and sustainable flooring
- Planned Obsolescence
Until recently companies did not see that it was in their interest to build products that last forever. If they did sell a product that never wore out or broke they would quickly run out of customers..
- Cork Underlayment - Best Choice For the Environment
Not only does cork make great flooring it also makes great underlayment for a variety of flooring types. The reason why cork makes good underlayment is that it is a flexible and strong material that nicely corrects any imperfections in the sub-floor.
- Bamboo is one of the Answers
Turning to bamboo to make consumer products is one way to help stop deforestation. Planting more bamboo is also a good way to rectify the carbon imbalance in the atmosphere.
- Cleaning Cork Flooring
Tips on cleaning cork flooring.
- A Comparison between Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring and Coconut Flooring
Strand woven bamboo flooring and coconut flooring are both made from renewable resources and so both are examples of sustainable flooring. These two types of environmentally friendly flooring share several striking similarities.
- Review of Reclaimed Ash Flooring
The ash tree or fraxinus is in the same genus or family as olive and lilac trees. Ash timber is popular because it has a distinctive light color, a long grain and it has an elastic quality.
- Coconut Flooring
Coconut palms take only 5 to 6 years to reach maturity. Coconut flooring is a strong and durable alternative to hardwood flooring. Coconut flooring has all the benefits of hardwood flooring but it is environmentally friendly.
- About Cork Bark and Cork Flooring
Cork has been used since ancient times. It is an incredibly versatile material that man has been using for millennia. As far back as 2500 BC the ancient Egyptians were using cork for fishing floats.
- Cherry Trees and Reclaimed Cherry Flooring
The Cherry belongs to the Prunus genus which is a genus with over 430 species that include the peach, the almond and the apricot tree.
- Suberin in Cork Flooring
Cork is a renewable resource that makes excellent flooring. One of the reasons that cork is a good material for flooring is that it contains suberin.
- Cork Flooring
Click here to browse the full range of cork flooring tiles on Amazon. Cork is perhaps the most environmentally friendly flooring type available for purchase.
- Review of Reclaimed Black Locust and Jatoba Flooring
The great thing about reclaimed hardwood flooring is that you can feel good about wood again. You no longer have to purchase hardwood with a bad conscience.
- Forest Stewardship Council
FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world's forests.
- Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring
Reclaimed hardwood flooring is made from disused and abandoned hardwood. It is often cheaper than new hardwood flooring. It also looks different to new hardwood flooring. It is strong and durable and an ideal alternative to traditional new hardwood.
Hubs Dealing with Green Issues
- The Problem With Trying to Legislate a Revolution
The most important ideology to emerge over the last few years is environmentalism. The Green movement has progressed since the early 1980s when the first successful Green party appeared in Germany.
- Act Now To Stop Another Oil Spill Disaster
Watching the scenes of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has surely made many people realize the risks and hazards the world faces in maintaining its present addiction to oil consumption. Still...
- Green Cleaning: alternatives to normal detergents
It is hard to be as happy as the woman above when you have a mountain of laundry to do. Even with a washing machine it often seems a chore. The modern housewife relies on technology to help make her life...
- Conflicting Green Issues
Green is the new black. Everything should be green and environmentally friendly. Sustainability, recycling, off-setting, renewable energy, environmental certification, local sourcing and carbon footprint are...
More by this Author
Advice about whether it is necessary to buy a humidifier or dehumidifier unit to protect your strand woven bamboo flooring from warping and shrinking with excess or too little water vapor in the air. Plus an explanation...
A comparison between the Honeywell RTH7500D 7 day programmable thermostat and the cheaper Lux Products TX1500E Smart Temp Programmable Thermostat. This review is designed to help you choose the programmable thermostat...
An article explaining the guiding principles of Green Interior Design and how it a discipline that is focused on ethics more than aesthetics.