Tell the Whole Story

Tell the Whole Story

Why didn’t you mention reclaimed trees in your reclaimed wood article?

Q. Your article, The Truth about Reclaimed Wood, did a good job demonstrating that a number of mainstream companies make reclaimed flooring from deconstructed barns and other buildings.

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.

It is true that some companies are dedicated to salvaging trees that have to be removed. But the cost of purchasing and shipping finished products from these companies becomes another consideration.

As you know from my first article, retail price of the reclaimed flooring products from mainstream companies we featured start around $11 a square foot installed, and go up from there. Zanzibar from Mohawk is one of the lowest.

In looking at pricing from Horigan Urban Forest Products – the closest company to my area that reclaims trees in the Chicago area – retail price for Ash flooring currently available is about $9 a square foot – and this is before shipping and installation.

Some companies argue that the costs of reclaimed flooring that qualifies for the LEED Resource Reuse Credit already are prohibitive. For this reason, DuChateau Floors whose standard flooring carries Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, has opted instead to produce distressed products that look like old wood.

If there were a company in every city that turned trees that had to be removed into usable wood products – so materials did not have to be shipped out of town and then again to other locations – the reclaimed tree movement  might be getting as much attention as flooring made from deconstructed structures – which, despite the cost, is currently a pretty hot trend in many areas of the country.©


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