I recently recorded a podcast with GoGreenTriad.com on the vast options for environmentally friendly flooring. I spend a large portion of my time meeting with Architects, Designers, and Builders, and to say that the interest and desire for more eco-friendly products has grown would be a vast understatement. There are a few aspects of Green products that warrant further education and a fresh point of view. There is no question that wood flooring is the most environmentally friendly option for any flooring selection; it is the only floor covering that can generally stay in place as long as the house stands. Tile, carpet, linoleum, and every other floor covering is replaced every 3-15 years.
Burchette & Burchette Hardwood Floors is a very green-minded company. This focus is evident in the development and creation of our custom wood floors, as well as the preservation of our wood floors. We offer a wide range of eco-friendly products, our most popular, our Artisan Collection, is available with an FSC Certification, which is the only third party certification that tracks and monitors proper forest stewardship and the chain of custody of such products.
The Artisan Collection offers over 40 species, both Old Growth Timber and Reclaimed Lumber, with this certification. These products are available in both Solid and Engineered flooring formats. Basically, a property managed by an FSC Timber company must take a standing inventory of the trees on the property (both species and size). Certain regions have various growth rates, for instance, the northeast has a growth rate of 4-6 % per year, so a timber company is allowed to harvest 4-6 % of that inventory per year based on the annual growth and renewal rate of these woods. Most trees are choice cut for yield and sustainability, but occasionally a clear cut is performed to allow dense hardwoods such as oak, ash, and walnut to germinate (these hardwoods require a large amount of sunlight and minerals to germinate, so often in a choice cut situation the trees that germinate are fast growing species like poplar and soft maple). These methods ensure the proper stewardship of our natural forests, as well as giving us a vast selection of renewable flooring products.
Another obvious option for green flooring is, of course, Reclaimed flooring. The careful dismantling of industrial buildings, barns, and homes gives the availability to reuse that lumber to create a new floor surface. This is recycling at its best. I also encourage the use of engineered flooring (especially ours). Engineered flooring is also a greener option based on the fact that lumber can be cut to produce thick precious wear layers (generally 3 wear layers to 1 solid wood board). These precious wood layers grow very slowly in comparison to the multi-ply system that the wear layers are attached to. The multi-ply layers are generally built from rapidly growing softer woods such as birch.
The next product was so groundbreaking that we had to develop a classification for the product, which we called Extreme Green. Haro, a third generation wood flooring manufacturer, who uses FSC Certified lumber as well as holding an ISO 14001 classification, wanted to effectively turn their byproduct from production into a product. They created Celenio, developed using the by-product from the FSC lumber, to make a high density, extremely resistant, wooden tile. Celenio is available in several colors and textures, duplicating the look of leather flooring, slate, tumbled marble, and several other natural stones. Some of the major benefits to Celenio beyond its Green properties are the fact that it installs without grout lines, which are generally the biggest complaint we hear about tile. It is also much warmer to the touch than real tile. It is much denser than tile and more resistant to chipping, cracking, or breaking. It can also be installed by a wood flooring installer without any special tools, which makes the labor more economical than tile. These are just some of the major aspects and benefits to Celenio.
I said earlier that we are green minded in the preservation of our wood floors. Let me explain what I mean by that. The finishes that we use to prefinish many of our floors, our Signature UV Oxide finish and our Signature UV Oil finish, are high abrasion finishes that over time hold up to traffic drastically better that any finish that can be site applied to a floor. These finishes are UV cured, so off-gassing is a nonissue for customers. What this means overall is that a homeowner will have to spend less time and money on the long term maintenance of their wood floor, reducing the amount of finish used, the amount of fuel used in the service of the product, and the minimal off-gassing of Volatile Organic Compounds.