Updating the flooring in your home is one option if you want to make an impact without breaking the bank. It’s also going to increase its value, especially if you choose wood flooring. Design trends come and go but you’ll never go wrong with a wooden floor. An increasing number of property owners are looking for ways to be more sustainable with their home improvement projects and, when it comes to sustainable flooring, engineered wood fits the bill perfectly. If you need some help with measurements check this free square footage calculator
Why Engineered Wood is a More Sustainable Choice
The process of manufacturing engineered wood flooring uses far less of the tree per plank than a solid hardwood floor. This alone makes it a more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and natural wood product. Because the process doesn’t involve and toxic glue, engineered wood flooring is also better for your health. They manufacture bamboo floors and LVTs using toxic glues which are not good because they can contaminate the air you’re breathing.
How can you tell whether the wood flooring you’re looking to buy is really sustainable, and what does sustainability actually mean? Let’s see if we can answer these questions for you.
Is There a Difference Between Sustainable and Green?
The terms “green” and “sustainable” have become marketing buzzwords but what do they mean? “Green” is a term generally used to describe any type of product that has a positive environmental value. It’s a pretty loose term and can be used to describe a product that a company has manufactured using renewable resources. If the product brand falls short in production and disposal, it doesn’t make a difference to its “green” label.
Sustainable, on the other hand, is a label with far higher standards. It should not impact the environment in any way, throughout its life cycle, from harvesting to disposal.
Buy Your Flooring From a Supplier With an Excellent Reputation
Spend any time researching engineered wood flooring before you make your choice and you’ll encounter a number of different retailers. Most of them are going to be reputable, but you have to be careful if you want to avoid the misleading and unethical ones.
If you find a retailer with a sustainable or green logo on their website, check to see what it actually means. It may be that all their products and ethical but equally, there could be just one product that fits the bill.
If you can’t find the information, you need to clarify the product you want is sustainable, don’t be afraid to contact the retailer. They are obliged to make things clear.
A Glance at Environmentally Friendly Certifications
Across the globe there are around 600 environmentally friendly labels, 36 of which relate to forest products. Some of these may also indicate a product is sustainable. For the flooring industry, you need to be looking for the following:
- GREENGOLD Gold – interior materials and products with low chemical emissions.
- Indoor Air Advantage Gold – products comply with the strictest of indoor air quality emission standards.
- FloorScore – products meet strict air quality requirements for indoors.
- FSC (The Forest Stewardship Council) – promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. Together with the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification they help guarantee wood comes from sustainable sources. This means it is replaced after harvesting and does not harm the environment and neighbouring ecosystems.
Carefully Read Product Instructions
Manufacturers customise their installation and care instructions. Follow those instructions to the letter and your perfect floor will last. This applies even if you’ve hired a professional to install your flooring. Don’t leave them to rely on their previous installation experiences. It doesn’t matter whether the flooring being installed in plank flooring, chevron flooring, herringbone, or Versailles panels.
If you’re looking to finish your flooring, you may consider using a water based polyurethane for floors. A water based polyurethane will protect your floors from scratches and scuffs while also giving them a beautiful shine.
Test the polyurethane on a small section of your floor before applying it to the entire surface, as some products may cause the wood to become sticky or gummy. Also, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as incorrect application can lead to problems like peeling or bubbling.
When it comes to cleaning and taking care of your flooring, make sure you use eco-friendly products and follow the advice of the manufacturer. Don’t be tempted to use home-made cleaners that contain vinegar or other types of acidic ingredients. They will destroy the finish of your floor. Make sure these cleaning products are available for the installer to use as well. Also bear in mind that if you fail to follow the manufacturer’s instruction, the flooring will not be covered by any warranty.
If you want to respect the environment, choosing sustainable wood flooring is the best way to do it. The tips we’ve shared above will help you find the best flooring for your home.
About the Author
This article was written by Martin O’Callaghan of Wood Flooring Ireland who are have been providing the Irish market with Wood Flooring sourced from sustainable European Forests.