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Flooring That Is Best For The Environment And Best For You

By Edited May 17, 2014 0 0

bamboo forest (18230)

When considering which type of flooring to buy for a room in your house there are really only two options that make sense. They are strand woven bamboo flooring and reclaimed hardwood flooring. Other flooring options are not environmentally friendly and are not good for your health.

Firstly I will consider the various flooring options on the market and then I will look at the benefits of reclaimed hardwood flooring and strand woven bamboo flooring.

Carpets have been a favorite type of flooring for decades but only recently have people started realizing the health hazards associated with carpets. Carpets collect allergens that cause misery for people suffering from allergies; and furthermore, most modern carpets have a SB latex backing that contains styrene. Styrene has been connected with cancer and other health problems. Next there is laminate flooring. Laminate flooring looks cheap and is cheap. Not only is it not long lasting but also it is frequently made with a melamine resin that contains formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a notorious volatile organic compound (VOC) that off-gases easily and causes respiratory problems, dizziness and eyes and nose irritation. In the long run it can be carcinogenic. Engineered hardwood flooring is allergen free but is not going to last you a long time. The reason for this is that it is made from plywood with a thin layer of hardwood over the top. This thin covering of hardwood will only stand one or two sanding downs before it is worn through. The money you save buying engineered hardwood flooring instead of hardwood flooring is lost in the long run.

Hardwood flooring would be the ideal flooring type. The grain and patina of wood looks great. Hardwood flooring has a timeless appeal. It is hard, strong and long lasting. It is also allergen free and can be installed without the use of VOCs. The only drawback with hardwood flooring is that the maple, oak, hickory, locust, cherry or other wood used for the flooring is not a renewable resource. Trees take decades to reach maturity. They are doing a vital job providing habitats and converting carbon into oxygen. We can ill-afford to continue chopping down trees for our flooring needs. Even timber from managed forests is still timber from a tree that could be helping the environment instead of being your floor.

That is why strand woven bamboo flooring is the perfect option. Bamboo only takes five years to reach maturity. It can be grown without pesticides because it naturally fights pathogens and pests. What is more bamboo holds soil together and prevents soil erosion. It does not drain soil of nutrients and does not require planting. Strand woven bamboo is bamboo that is boiled to remove sugars that attract termites and then compressed under heat with a low VOC adhesive to make a dense plank that is harder than oak, maple and most other hardwoods. Yet, like hardwood it has a grain and looks beautiful. And also like hardwood flooring it is allergen free.

Finally, if you really have your heart set on getting hardwood flooring you should do the environmentally friendly thing and buy reclaimed hardwood flooring. Reclaimed or antique hardwood flooring is hardwood that is not used anymore. It is often taken from buildings set for demolition or major re-fitting. It can be hardwood rescued from old barns or mineshafts. It can be hardwood found in park waste or landfill sites or even from the bottom of a river. The reclaimed hardwood is dried and then milled into flooring planks. The resulting flooring has all the benefits of new growth hardwood flooring: namely it is allergen free, looks great and is long lasting. Reclaimed hardwood flooring can often be locally sourced. Not only this but most importantly no trees were cut down to make the flooring. Reclaimed hardwood flooring is a great example of how recycling can benefit the environment.



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