Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Other Eco-Alternative

Perhaps the main premise of this blog could be stated baldly as:

Although hardwood floors are elegant and allergen free our use of hardwoods for flooring is wreaking havoc with our efforts to preserve the forests of the world.

That the forests of the world are being reduced every day is not in doubt and that man's consumption of wood products is one of the main reasons for this destruction is also beyond doubt.

So, the logic of the argument goes if we can find an alternative flooring that fulfills the purpose of being elegant and allergen free then that must be the best flooring.

In strand woven bamboo flooring we have such a commodity. It comes from a renewable resource; it has the hardness, strength and durability of hardwood and it also is an allergen free flooring material.

However, there is another alternative and that is reclaimed hardwood flooring. It is hardwood that has been taken from buildings slated for demolition. It is also wood from condemned barns, schools and hospitals. It is cut wood from city parks. It is wood recovered from the bottom of a lake or river. It is wood found in landfill sites and industrial skips. In short, reclaimed hardwood is man's trash being recycled. Sometimes it is an old hardwood floor that has been taken out of a gutted room - this is called antique hardwood flooring.

The reclaimed hardwood is kiln dried and milled into new flooring.

This is brilliant because the wood has been sourced nationally, if not locally. And the process of processing the reclaimed hardwood into a flooring material is much lower in carbon input than growing bamboo, turning it into strand woven bamboo planks and then shipping those planks to the USA and the UK.

Reclaimed hardwood floors are more stable dimensionally than new growth hardwood floors and look incredible AND they are even more environmentally friendly than strand woven bamboo flooring because it is recycling and locally sourced. That is food for thought.

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