Do you want your floor to be green? No, I don’t mean green in color, I mean environmentally “green”. Many of us have concerns today about the materials we use in our homes. Are the raw materials environmentally friendly? Does the manufacturing process cause more pollution? Do the materials release any toxic chemicals inside my home?
When it comes to flooring, there is a clear winner if you want to be eco-friendly, and that’s solid hardwood.
Not only is solid hardwood flooring beautiful, it causes the least amount of damage to the environment. While trees can be harvested specifically for use in floors, often when lumber is harvested for other uses, such as for making furniture or cabinets, the leftover lumber is made into flooring. Wood is renewable, and many hardwood flooring manufacturers work closely with lumber companies to ensure that they practice responsible forest management.
Forests are essential to our eco-system. Not only do they provide a home for many species of flora and fauna, they naturally help manage our water supply by providing filtration and storage. When a forest is responsibly harvested, trees are selectively thinned, not clear cut. This then thins out the density of the canopy and allows sunlight and more water to reach the forest floor. Not only does this provide a better habitat for wildlife, but it allows new seedlings and saplings to grow. Evidence shows that a responsibly managed forest will release slightly more water for years after a harvest.
Like all plants, trees are carbon neutral. They absorb carbon dioxide from the air, and release oxygen. While the trees act as a filter to clean the air of greenhouse gases, the carbon is used to help the trees grow, thus reducing CO2 emissions.
Solid hardwood flooring uses the least amounts of fossil fuels in its production than any other type of flooring. It uses less water, and fewer chemicals than carpet or vinyl, which not only use more fossil fuels in their production but often contain petroleum products themselves. Once a tree is harvested, a drying kiln and saw blade are all that are required to produce the flooring.
If you live in the Madison area, look for hardwoods milled in northern Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. These have the smallest carbon footprint for delivery back to Madison.
If you are concerned about your indoor air quality, hardwood flooring is a wonderful choice. Unlike carpet, hardwood does not trap dust and allergens, nor does it generally release other materials into the air in your home which can contribute to health problems. It is easy to clean and maintain, keeping your home allergen free with minimal effort.
Finally, solid hardwood flooring has the longest service life of any flooring option. A hardwood floor can last more than 100 years. It can be refinished numerous times, to bring it back to its original beauty, or even to change the look. When a hardwood floor is no longer usable as a floor, it can be used for other purposes. It can be made into furniture, used as fuel or returned to the earth. Hardwood will not sit for years in a landfill, waiting to decompose. When exposed to the natural environment it will quickly decay.
So, if you are looking for a “green” flooring option, solid hardwood is a terrific choice. And of course, if you want your floor to be “green” and GREEN, it can always be stained to whatever color you like!
Yankee Classic Flooring is committed to helping you find the perfect flooring option for your home. Give us a call today, and we will help you decide what options work best for you.