Wood can either be very eco friendly or even unfriendly, depending on a bunch of factors, such as the type of wood itself, the harvesting methods, the way it is processed and transported to the consumer.
Luckily, it isn't a knot you have to untangle all by your yourself. That is why I am here. To make this a bit easier for you!
It starts with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is the largest worldwide organization responsible for evaluating and certifying wood as eco friendly hardwood flooring. They offer resources to consumers, including listings of the hundreds of FSC certified wood vendors across the nation. They can be reached at fsc.org.
Check with FSC with any questions you have after finishing this article or if you need extra help locating the flooring you want.
Solid wood flooring is made up of planks of lumber. Each plank is a whole piece that comes from a single tree. These planks can be purchased unfinished or pre-finished with eco-friendly materials. Most planks are 3/4" thick, but width of wooden planks varies greatly. Strip flooring is planks that are 2 and 1/4" wide or less, standard plank flooring is 3" to 5" wide and planks of 6" or more are called "wide planks".
Rather than single pieces of wood, engineered wood flooring integrates many different layers and compositions of wood. Usually engineered wood has a thin top layer of wood with a supportive layer underneath. The top layer is what you see and walk on. The layer underneath may be made of a different type of wood or of compressed sawdust or another wood product. Engineered wood flooring is often less expensive than plank flooring, and as an eco-friendly material it makes particularly efficient use of resources.
Reclaimed lumber is a popular green building material for many reasons. Older wood is often sawn into wider planks than contemporary wood. It is also possible to find reclaimed lumber in unusual and/or beautiful varieties of wood that can no longer be sustainably harvested. Reclaimed wood is well-seasoned and stable, so it may be a better choice than new wood if you want to lay it over a radiant heat system.
A word of warning: Because reclaimed wood is so popular and takes so much work to reclaim, it can be both hard to find and more expensive than new wood. Some sellers may even attempt to pass off new wood as reclaimed wood, so proceed with caution!
Here are some of the largest and best-known manufacturers of eco-friendly hardwood flooring for you to select from:
Still looking? A couple other great resources to use for locating FSC certified hardwood flooring manufacturers and dealers near you are GreenFloors and CertifiedWood.
Enjoy shopping and stop back soon, as I will be posting coupons and discounts for you here, because that is my job. I work for you!
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