Why flooring from torn down barns is all the rage
Superior dimensional stability and a rich patina are just a few reasons more people are seeking reclaimed flooring. This video offers a first-hand look at why this is a great flooring choice, and one of the most sound building practices on the planet.
Product information and room scenes now available by snapping the barcode on Wicander’s Cork Flooring display
If you are shopping for cork flooring, you might want to check out the new Wicanders mobile app from Amorim Cork flooring.
“It lets you snap the barcode on our display and get instant access to product collections, room scenes, references, warranties and cleaning products,” says Tim Tompkins, marketing director for Amorim Flooring North America. “It also eliminates the need for you to make calls and other efforts to track down the information.”
The barcodes are now being placed on displays in dealer showrooms, including the one pictured here at Carpetland Carpet One in Woodlawn, OH. Continue reading…
Demand will mean more product selection, but can your retailer tell you what standards a product meets?
Even if you are not consciously seeking people- or planet- friendly products, it’s more likely in 2013 that the product you buy will have some environmental advantage — particularly if it’s a building or interior finishing product.
The U.S. green building market has grown from $10 billion in 2005 to an estimated $85 billion in 2012, with expectations that it will exceed $200 billion by 2016, according to a recently published analysis by Environmental Building News.
The top motivators behind this movement? Health-related factors including indoor-air quality, in addition to energy use reduction, according to U.S. and global surveys. Not building a new home? These findings still affect you. Continue reading…
Our top posts focused on reducing indoor chemicals, sustainable renovation, lighting and health, controversy over Forest Steward Council (FSC) certification, and consumer demand for health and environmental product information
Distinct trends were evident this year toward natural and less-toxic hardwood floor finishes, a reduction of toxins in traditional products like vinyl, and increased demand for sustainable and reclaimed hardwoods and other natural flooring. We also saw new health information emerge about indoor lighting.
There was a huge push by architects and designers to reuse materials and implement sustainable designs — even when their projects were not seeking tax abatements through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
To answer the growing demand from consumers for third-party documentation of a product’s health and environmental benefits, we also saw four flooring stores in southwest Ohio launch Natural Interiors® Scorecard programs. And controversy began when flooring retailers and distributors learned the must by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified to sell certified wood the counts for credit under the U.S. Green Building Council’s rules. Continue reading…
Natural and planet-friendly practices are trending, even when environmental certification is not the goal
The best designers are always on the front end of a trend. And this trend is not motivated by trying to meet requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) rating system. Human and planet health are at the core of any project Cincinnati interior designer A. Maris Bernard undertakes.
Her work at Mahogany’s restaurant, on Freedom Way downtown, is among the latest examples. From wood salvaged from fabricator waste to wall coverings made of sugar cane, many of the building materials and decorative finishes have indoor-air quality certification, contain recycled content, can be recycled, or are made of natural and renewable materials. USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) credits were not sought on the project.
“After developing the design concept, the first question I ask of my contractors is, ‘What do you have sitting in the back room?’” says Bernard, ASID LEED ID + C. “Sustainable design is not just about LEED. It is beyond LEED.” Continue reading…
Flooring retailers and distributors see roadblock in FSC certification requirement
Flooring retailers and distributors — who have learned they must have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in order to sell FSC-certified products that count as certified wood under the U.S. Green Building Council’s rules — are questioning whether FSC rules have gone too far.
FSC certification is the hallmark of sustainably harvested wood. While it is the only certification accepted for certified wood by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in awarding credit under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the USGBC acknowledges that it has not strictly enforced certification requirements on retailers.
Flooring manufacturers who produce certified products have FSC certification and must package and clearly label FSC-certified products. Some retailers who then sell those products argue that they are not repackaging or altering the materials, and should not have to pay to get certified. Depending on sales volume, a wholesale flooring distributor or retailer can expect to pay $2,000 and up annually for achieving and maintaining certification.
“Does it pencil out to become certified?,” asks Mark Thompson, sales manager for Major Brands Floor Supply /Abbey Carpet & Floor of Seattle. “Is it something that will drive business toward me? If the certification is so watered-down that every other store down the street is certified, then what goal was achieved? Some Eco-capitalist got more chumps to buy into his ‘label.’” Continue reading…
Made from all natural ingredients, this vinyl alternative now offers everything from traditional to trendy colors and patterns
Whether you ultimately choose Forbo Marmoleum, Armstrong Marmorette or another brand, this video gives you a good look at the ingredients used to make linoleum. While this video is from Forbo, all manufacturers use linseed oil, pine rosins and pigments. Forbo uses wood flour while Armstrong and Johnsonite use cork flour. The difference? Forbo argues better color, while the others argue they have a more resilient floor.
Forbo remains the only linoleum manufacturer to offer a self-locking product made in panels, in addition to the standard sheet product, which should be installed by someone trained in the product. This video explains how Forbo developed a new collection of colors and patterns in 2009, after the economic downturn. Click here for more information.
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Why didn’t you mention reclaimed trees in your reclaimed wood article?
But you didn’t mention flooring made from trees that are removed to make way for development. Companies that make lumber from trees that have to be cut down also help produce wood products without cutting down trees that can keep growing and helping the planet.
Please let your visitors and people who want to build LEED-certified homes know that this option exists.
A. Making flooring, mantels and other items from trees that have to be removed for a variety of reasons is a very cool idea. This type of salvaging, however, does not qualify for reclaimed wood credit under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Only wood salvaged from old structures counts toward LEED’s Resource Reuse Credit. Continue reading…
Flooring industry takes steps that recognize green consumers want products that are Better for People
“I don’t really think most flooring customers really care about green,” a rep for a large hardwood manufacturer tells me. “The planet just isn’t a priority to them, particularly if an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) -certified label on the product is going to cost more.”
I have to ask: “Do you think they care about the other part of green – the indoor-air friendly, low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), better for human health part?”
“Absolutely,” he says without hesitation. “That is coming up all the time now.” Continue reading…
Do synthetic backings on natural carpeting defeat the purpose?
Q. I have been looking into wool carpeting because wool is a natural fiber that does not emit chemicals. But I am learning that most wool carpets have plastics and other synthetics in the backings, and they also are treated with moth proofing agents, which many experts have told me is unnecessary. Does this negate the indoor-air friendly and planet-friendly aspects of natural wool carpeting?
A. All discussions about “green” products involve levels or degrees of greenness. That said, the answer to your question is yes – to some extent. Because it is not made from petrochemicals, the wool fiber in the carpet will be far more indoor-air friendly than traditional synthetic fibers, despite the use of synthetic backings like polypropylene.
Keep in mind that there are products like Nature’s Carpet “Dark Green” line that offer New Zealand and British Wool carpets with no chemical treatments and natural jute backings. Not only does this eliminate any concern you have about chemical emissions, but leads into the second point you’ve raised about planet-friendly aspects. Continue reading…
Most contestants only answered one question Were the questions too hard? We hope not. The whole point of this year’s contest was to learn how to easily spot products that are proven to be Better for People, Better for the Planet, or both. The winners, who will be announced tomorrow, were the first three people [...]
Organic comforters have been claimed, but there’s still time to win some low-VOC paint There are two days left to answer questions in the Natural Housewife 2012 Contest. The top three winners – those who will receive organic comforters from Vivetique Sleep Systems – have been selected and will be announced next week in a [...]
FSC is the top indicator of sustainable harvesting, but it’s hard to find on a finished flooring product Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification. It is synonymous with wood that meets the most rigorous standards of sustainable harvesting. It remains the only certification the U.S. Green Building Council will use for certified wood in the latest [...]
Why is Vivetique Better for People? Mattresses and bedding from Vivetique Sleep Systems and The Natural Bedroom are Better for People because: a.) They are made from natural, chemical-free materials like natural latex and PureGrow™ Wool and organic cotton instead of petroleum-based products that release chemicals that humans breathe and absorb. b.) PureGrow™ Wool controls [...]
What Is Green? This is possibly the easiest question yet in The Natural Housewife 2012 contest, in which three people will win $600 organic comforter from Vivetique Sleep Systems. A “green” interior decorating, finishing or building product is: a.) Better for people b.) Better for the planet c.) One that is made only of organic [...]
One answer is not enough to win Only one of more than 50 contestants in The Natural Housewife Contest 2012 has answered all four of the weekly questions posted to date. There are three top prizes — a $600 organic comforter from Vivetique Sleep Systems. This means that two new or existing contestants who submit [...]
Camp Joy puts hopes, dreams and sustainable design into action Under the green roofs, behind the red doors, the owners of Camp Joy in Clarksville, OH, wanted to remodel in a way that better served the needs of their visitors and the planet Earth. This meant all of today’s usual energy-efficient upgrades – but also [...]
What does the “green” label on your paint can mean? A quick reminder: Many of you have sent in answers, but not to all of the questions. You can still catch up. The more you answer, the better your chances of winning a $600 organic comforter from Vivetique Sleep Systems or a room’s worth of [...]
Experience and training of flooring installation crew should never be a question mark for consumers We talk about product quality. We talk about price, which in today’s economy means we bypass some higher-quality products. But except in the instance of installing Marmoleum from Forbo, we have not talked much about installer training. States like Oregon [...]
Keep the answers coming Keep racking up your points, or jump into The Natural Housewife contest now for a chance to win a $600 organic comforter or a room’s worth of Earthpaint. Get full contest and prize details here, and help from the Facebook pages of our hint-droppers – Greener Stock and Brothers Floor Covering. [...]
You don’t have to be a housewife to enter Some of you have asked. No, you don’t have to be a housewife, and yes, if you are in the top three, you will choose the size and style of your Vivetique Sleep Systems comforter. It also is possible to skip a question and still be [...]
Better for people? Better for the planet? Let the contest begin! If you have read the rules and contest details, you know that three winners will receive luxurious organic comforters from Vivetique Sleep Systems and two more will each get a room’s worth of Earthpaint. And you know you will get the weekly, multiple-choice questions [...]
Contest winners to receive organic comforters from Vivetique or a room of Earthpaint The theme of this year’s Natural Housewife Contest takes hold during a vacation on the Gulf of Mexico, where The Natural Housewife tells us it’s time to take actions that are better for people or better for the planet. Part of doing [...]
Be fast and be on Facebook How do you know if a product is better for people, better for the planet or natural? Most of you who come here often know it isn’t that hard. This year’s Natural Housewife Contest will let three of you use this knowledge to win luxurious organic comforters, with an [...]
Organic bedding from a national, natural leader There is a sentence I love in a 2007 LA Times article about Vivètique Sleep Systems – the company that will be supplying luxurious organic comforters to three winners in this year’s Natural Housewife Contest: “There isn’t a speck of polyurethane foam, by far the most common filling [...]
Why do you harp on Indoor Air Quality Certifications? Q. If cork flooring is a natural material, why do you put so much emphasis on whether the manufacturer has gotten the flooring certified through chemical emissions testing? A. There are many natural flooring products on the market. But very few of them are made without [...]
New looks, including stone, wood and textiles, expand uses for cork flooring What is that? Just when we thought we had seen every style and color of cork flooring available today, Wicanders has thrown us a curve. Some of it looks like stone. Some of it looks like marble, granite, wood and textiles. But it [...]
Second annual Natural Housewife Contest starts next week Three Natural Housewives – or husbands – will win prizes that include luxurious, natural, chemical-free comforters from Vivetique in this year’s Natural Housewife Contest. And, like last year, contestants will help all of us promote natural, healthful order in our homes. This year’s questions will focus on [...]
It starts when you find the collector This video talks about what happens to your old carpet after it is taken by a collector to a recycler. There are now more than 100 carpet collection companies that prepare your old carpet and padding to be sent off to a recycler. Many flooring companies that replace [...]
The power of the people must come into play for carpet recycling effort to bump to the next level, outgoing director says Listen up people: The next time you tear out old carpet, think before you put it out for the trash collector and send it to a landfill where it will pollute the planet [...]
A style for every room As Designer Candace Olson shows us in this video, today’s cork floors don’t look like bulletin boards. Rather, the looks range from that of hardwood planks to mosiac tiles. And cork is suitable in almost any room environment.
Popularity of natural fiber rugs and wall coverings increases with availability and a quest for the natural aesthetic Natural wood, natural stone, accented with wool, sisal, jute or seagrass. Add a little leather, or maybe some cheena. While design trends have not turned back to thatched roofs and dirt floors, there is something distinctly desirable about a [...]
Where efficient energy abounds, along with trendy, sustainable floors The main purpose of this building is to let design and building professionals see the latest “green” technologies in action. But when you enter, the floors might be the first thing to catch your attention. The floors at greensource CINCINNATI, originally built in 1875, include linoleum, [...]
Bargain hunting for flooring installation can cost more in the long run Q. I thought I was getting a great deal on the prefinished, FSC-certified hardwood floor I want to put in my family room and kitchen, until the salesperson figured in installation. This added about $3 per square foot to the total, and the [...]
Past and present green building trends mean 2012 will bring increased interest in healthy indoor air quality, reclaimed and recycled products, and smaller homes Residents on the West Coast have been walking the green building walk longer. But even in the Midwest, which often lags behind, people who build or remodel in the New Year [...]
Year in review shows Natural Interiors visitors focus first on style and indoor-air-quality, then concern for planet health We couldn’t head into a New Year without a baby. Fortunately, the winner of our Natural Housewife Contest – one of our Top 10 traffic generators for 2011 – now has one. 1. Sara Eickhoff reports that [...]
Energy savings is not a great reason to switch to LED decorative lights There is something quietly intense about LED holiday lights. I noticed it a few years ago when some of my neighbors started using them. Was it that they were brighter? Yes, I think so. Very cool, I thought. I am going to [...]
Green Label Plus certification remains the most used, stringent standard for limits on chemical emissions from carpet The cynics among us have not always embraced the idea of a carpet trade organization – the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) — being in charge of testing and certifying carpet as having low chemical emissions. In our [...]
Styling, price and performance determine engineered hardwood flooring sales, though environmental attributes abound If you’re thinking about putting engineered hardwood flooring in your home, style, performance and price – rather than the product’s planet friendliness – are probably the points you are pondering. “More people in the Midwest are choosing engineered hardwood because of a [...]
Toledo customer wanted a planet-friendly product that also offered healthier indoor air Ordering and installing Nature’s Carpet “felt great for a number of reasons,” says Julee, who now has “Clearwater,” part of the “Dark Green” line, in her home in Holland, OH. She found the carpet at Carpets by Otto, which has several locations in [...]
Part I: Engineered hardwood flooring can be a greener option than solid, but there are many factors to consider before you buy We knew the day would come. Many of us in the green products industry pushed engineered wood floors because they require less premium wood to manufacturer than solid hardwood floors. Many customers resisted. [...]
More flooring retailers divert old carpet from landfills as consumers demand more recycled products, and collectors offer competitive rates Greg Hill, owner of Brothers Floor Covering in Indianapolis, IN, says there’s no excuse anymore for discarding carpet in landfills. The property where Brothers is located, on East 54th Street, could not accommodate a dumpster, needed [...]
More than a decade after its U.S. entry, Nature’s Carpet gets mainstream attention and could be part of a market that is “ready to explode” Some rolled their eyes and suppressed laughter at the idea that a chemical-free, biodegradable, un-dyed carpet could make it in mainstream America. But when Brian Cox saw Nature’s Carpet in [...]
See this video for a simple explanation of the difference between chemical free Nature’s Carpet and traditional, synthetic carpet
How do I choose the right cork floor? Q. I have decided to put cork flooring in my kitchen and throughout most of the first floor of my home. What I am not sure about is whether I should buy solid or engineered flooring. What is the difference, and is there a brand that stands [...]
USFloors Bamboo flooring installation by Carpetland Carpet One meets all of the owner’s expectations The new meeting-room floor installed more than a year ago at the Evergreen Holistic Learning Center had to promote health and stimulate positive, meaningful conversation. Brazilian Cherry simply would not do, Joan Barlage, Evergreen co-director, recalls thinking when she was looking at [...]
Proper equipment, settings and training are needed to keep water away from carpet pad and subfloors, where lingering moisture could fuel mold We gave the expert in this week’s Natural Interiors® TV episode an ultimate challenge. We asked him to demonstrate his steam-cleaning on a piece of Nature’s Carpet – an all-natural wool carpet that [...]
Proper steam cleaning means no water gets through the carpet – even Nature’s Carpet® that has no plastic backings
Forbo Marmoleum installations abound in Wanke Cascade’s distribution territory on the Northwest coast Here are some of our favorite images:
WE Cork demonstrates that “Eco” also stands for economics They have said it themselves: The newest line from WE Cork is the “Eco”-Nomical series. So when they mention that it is made of recycled wine stoppers, remember that this is not the thrust. All cork flooring is made from the waste of the wine-stopper industry. [...]
Flexco® floors flaunt fashion and environmental savvy “Green” vinyl? You will see that this is not an oxymoron when you review the definitions of “green” product. Better for the planet is one of those definitions, and the latest luxury vinyl tile floors from Flexco® qualify. Flexco’s Natural Elements wood and stone looks contain 50 percent recycled [...]
You have served me well for a very long time, but there has to be something that holds dust better Dust containment. This is the term on my mind this morning as we near completion of our bathroom renovation project. My aging vacuum has done a commendable job, sucking up the sanded drywall compound and [...]
What makes carpet pad “green?” Q. It seems like every carpet pad on the market has some kind of “green” certification label on it. I am mostly concerned about indoor-air quality, and am worried that even if I buy a carpet with CRI Green Label Plus, I won’t benefit from the low chemical emissions, because [...]
So many choices, so few that are fast and reusable Tile – made of baked clay – is an original, natural product that sometimes gets overlooked. Its simplicity might be one reason. Its subfloor needs, thinset, grout and installation that spans days also might add to your hesitation. But an interlocking porcelain tile floor that [...]
The “Van Curen” features Marmoleum Click in laundry and basement bathrooms, but this product is great in a lot more places. For more photos and information, click here.
Measuring moisture content in strand bamboo can puzzle even experienced hardwood flooring installers Q: In Part I: Bamboo 2011-Style, you told consumers to consider their climate and the humidity of the environment before installing strand bamboo flooring. What you didn’t talk about is that the typical moisture meter a flooring contractor has on hand might [...]
Reader says shopping for chemical-free carpet spurs confusion Dear Natural Interiors: Your blog and the Natural Housewife got me thinking about indoor-air quality, and wool carpeting, because I am getting ready to replace old carpet in my home. But after going to a local flooring store, I am really confused. The salesman showed me some [...]
Demand for traditional bamboo fizzles while strand draws attention It’s official: traditional, vertical- and horizontal-grain bamboo flooring is dated. Despite its popularity five years ago, it appears this fad was destined to fade. Strand bamboo, on the other hand, is here for the long-haul, flooring experts say. “There is almost no interest in traditional bamboo [...]
An everyday choice on the West Coast, linoleum is misunderstood in some regions In some areas of the country, people think linoleum is the same thing as vinyl. But on the west coast and east – where green products have been in greater demand for years – consumers not only know that linoleum is a [...]
FSC-certified manufacturing facility does not mean certified flooring or healthy indoor-air quality If DuChateau Floors were the only company offering a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified hardwood floor with an oil finish that emits no chemicals, we would not be living in the United States of America. In the land where competition abounds, customers who want [...]
People focused on getting the best price often choose “green” without knowing it Greg Hill, president of Brothers Flooring, is blunt. In this economy, he says, people are not walking in the door asking for “green” flooring products because their first consideration is price, and they think products that are better for human health and planet [...]
Thanks for the party, Forest Steward says. But there’s much work ahead this New Year if consumers are to understand the difference between Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and other wood certifications
Part One: A Focus on the Finish By Nancy Kibbee You might not see it. But when you inspect the most popular cork floors, you’ll feel the difference. The surfaces on prefinished cork floors range from rough to smooth. The looks range from stone-like to clear and natural. Only the leaders have obtained “green” certifications [...]
‘Jane’ is allergic to chemicals, but she isn’t crazy. And any retailer who is capable of explaining natural products knows that, says Richard Munden, Nature’s Carpet Sales VP, from Vancouver, BC
Geography is key in carpet recycling Here’s a switch: Some of us in the Midwest have more of an opportunity to be “green” leaders than residents of Colorado. At least when it comes to recycling used carpet. Last week’s feature told us the plight of John Hughes, president of O’Briens Carpet One Floor & Home [...]
Meet GREENGUARD, FloorScore and FSC, who are happy to explain how they help you select “green” flooring Note: New episodes are posted each Wednesday