Authentic reclaimed hardwood can have advantages over wood that is made to look old
“Distressed or old?” A designer that I work with was going back and forth about reclaimed hardwood and hardwood flooring that is purposefully distressed to make it appear old.
“I like the idea of reducing wastefulness and landfill mass by making floors from old barns,” she said. “But could this floor be less durable because it is old and had a past life? Or what if it was salvaged after a forest fire or taken from a tree that was killed by beetles? Could it be infested?”
She was thinking it is safer to stick with flooring products that have been made to look old, but are not. This is an example of confusion that has resulted from having too much information.
“Greenest” hardwood from DuChateau is now distressed to look like barn woodThe time-worn look of reclaimed hardwood is getting so popular that every flooring manufacturer has to have one. DuChateau Floors – which makes FSC-certified hardwood with a natural, nontoxic oil finish – announced its new Heritage Timber collection today.
While the wear layer on these flooring planks is not made from deconstructed barns and buildings, the reclaimed wood is artfully replicated with scrapes, nail holes, notches and saw marks. The company chose to create the look, instead of using barn wood, in an effort to offer a product at a more competitive price.
Bargain hunting for flooring installation can cost more in the long runQ. 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 space is about 700 square feet.
In today’s economy, combined with the fact that I waited for the slow winter months, I thought I could do better, but I have now checked with three different contractors with very little difference. With the number of people out there who are in need of work, would it make sense for me to keep shopping?
A. What you should be asking is what the experience level of the installer is, and what type of warranty you will get on the work. You are correct that in this economy, fewer installations are being done, and installers need the work. But what this also means is that the most experienced installers should be available to do the work.
Past and present green building trends mean 2012 will bring increased interest in healthy indoor-air quality, reclaimed and recycled products, and smaller homesResidents 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 likely will be doing more than talking the talk.
From seeking smaller, more energy-efficient homes to using low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints, finishes and furniture, healthier, planet-conscious trends have a firm foothold that can only grow in the future, experts say.
“Clients are now asking for sustainable strategies in the first meeting,” says Michael Mauch, architect, LEED AP and principal of RWA Architects in Cincinnati, OH. “We do not have to bring it up. They bring it up. What homeowner does not want clean indoor air? Lower energy bills? And smart design? Now they know they can ask for it up front.”
Year in review shows Natural Interiors visitors focus first on style and indoor-air-quality, then concern for planet healthWe 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 son, Hayden, now two months old, enjoys the sisal-look wool, chemical-free Nature’s Carpet his Mom won by submitting some of the best tips for keeping a natural and healthy home that we received.
“ We converted the large piece into smaller area rugs, which we use throughout the house, including one that Hayden uses daily for tummy time,” Eickhoff says. “It's so nice to know he's getting the comfy support he needs for this activity, while at the same time avoiding unnecessary chemical exposure.”
Styling, price and performance determine engineered hardwood flooring sales, though environmental attributes aboundIf 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 growing demand for wider plank flooring, particularly the 5-inch wide hand-scraped products.
The fact that these products use less premium hardwood than solid wood floors, along with other green attributes, is not the focus.
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 the Toledo area.
The “Dark Green” line from Nature’s Carpet is made from New Zealand Wool, with no synthetic materials or chemical additives. Julee wanted a product that was good for the planet and would not emit chemicals in her home.
“After having lots of negative symptoms with new carpeting, I was wonderfully surprised at the lack of odor with Nature’s Carpet, which means, of course, there were no chemicals to off-gas,” she says. “I purchased the wool felt padding as well. For the first time in my life, there literally was no odor from the carpet. With my chemical sensitivities, I had zero problems with the carpet. It was a true Godsend.”
Part I: Engineered hardwood flooring can be a greener option than solid, but there are many factors to consider before you buyWe 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. Solid wood is stronger, lasts longer and doesn’t echo when you walk on it, they argued. Not true, we countered. When properly manufactured and installed, engineered wood floors can be more durable and feel almost the same underfoot as a solid, hardwood floor.
Today, the argument has dwindled. Engineered hardwood is a top pick for people building green homes on the West Coast. And the trend also has spread across the country. It’s even apparent in the Midwest.
More than a decade after its U.S. entry, chemical-free 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 the early 1990s, something told him it would be a winner.
After seeing this wool carpet at a Domotex trade show in Germany, Cox returned to his office at the Colin Campbell distribution company in Vancouver, BC, he organized his presentation, and he began calling on retailers. After the Canadians started selling it, Cox crossed the U.S. border and called on one of the country’s first green-building gurus in Bellingham, WA. The builder in turn installed the product in several green homes, including his own, and he helped Cox introduce Nature’s Carpet to the Environmental Home Center in Seattle, which would later be known as EcoHaus.
“That’s what broke open the United States market,” Cox recalls. “It went from there, all the way down the West Coast to California.”