Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring Makes a Lot of Sense

Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring Makes a Lot of Sense
Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring
I expect many people don't know about reclaimed hardwood flooring. It is sometimes also called antique flooring. It is flooring that is made from hardwood that is no longer wanted. It is a perfect example of how recycling makes good environmental sense.
The great forests of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America are being logged and cleared at a frightening speed. Within the life time of a twenty-something all the great forests of the world could be consigned to history books. Without forests we as a species are headed for ecological disaster.
One of the main reasons for logging is the demand from developed countries for hardwood timber that can be used for construction, flooring and furniture making. We need to slow down and even stop this hardwood demand.
The problem is that hardwood flooring is allergen free and looks great. It is more stylish and healthier than carpeting. If you don't want to carpet your room what can you do to be environmentally friendly? There are three alternatives. First you can use hardwood taken from a sustainably managed forest. Secondly, you can use strand woven bamboo flooring instead of hardwood flooring. And thirdly, you can use reclaimed hardwood for flooring.
Reclaimed hardwood comes from many sources. Often it is from an existing floor. This is called antique flooring. Often it is from a building destined to be demolished. It is from landfill sites. It is from park waste. It is from pulled down barns. It is from mine shafts. It is even from the bottom of lakes and rivers. It is surprising how much hardwood can be sourced that has been discarded or lost. Cities produce a wealth of useful refuse. So do farms.
It is a simple matter to collect the unwanted hardwood and kiln dry it then mill it into planks suitable for flooring. The great advantage of this is that the hardwood can be nationally or locally sourced and this reduces the carbon input necessary to recycle the wood into flooring.
From a flooring point of view, reclaimed hardwood flooring is more dimensionally stable than new growth wood that often swells and shrinks after it is installed. On top of this, it has a unique character very different from new hardwood. Over the years the hardwood deepens in colour and complexity. The reclaimed hardwood also often has a variety of nail holes, saw marks and worm holes that add a fascinating new aesthetic dimension to the floor. Every reclaimed hardwood floor looks unique. It can make a room.
Finally, because of wood diseases and insect attack many classic American hardwoods are now hard to find. Elms were devastated by Dutch elm disease. Black locust trees have been ruined as a commercial timber by borer insects. Because of this it is often easier and cheaper to find reclaimed elm and black locust.
So, because reclaimed hardwood flooring is sourced locally; because it is as hard and dense as new growth hardwood; and because it looks great when installed in your home, it makes a lot of sense to buy a reclaimed hardwood floor.