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A decade of mistakes I wasn’t wise enough to learn from others guides my New Year My father always said that a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. But what happens when you don’t know anyone who made the mistake you’re about to make, and you don’t know you’re about to make a mistake? When I hired a flooring company to install solid strip hardwood flooring in 1998, I was not yet working in the flooring industry. How was I supposed to know to ask about the chemical emissions that would fill the house when they finished the floor with a toxic, oil-based polyurethane? Okay, some people would argue that I should have investigated when the installer mentioned he had liver damage, and assigned the cause to his profession. He did not expound about finishes or less-toxic, water-based options. So, I assumed he was talking about a different liquid all together.

Consider origin, construction, chemical emissions, innovation and responsiveness when you choose cork flooring The call was one no flooring retailer wants.  The customer was furious. Her husband had damaged the cork flooring Cline’s Carpets had just installed in her home outside of West Lafayette, Ind. “She was really honked off, not at us, but at her husband who had done something that took a divot out of the floor,” owner Cary Cline recalls. But a strange thing happened when Cline’s installer went out the next day to make a repair. He couldn’t find any damage. “The flooring had healed itself,” Cline says. Cork flooring, invented more than 100 years ago, is known for its ability to bounce back from abuse. Today’s construction -- which includes engineered flooring and an array of stronger finishes -- has led to a dramatic increase in sales during the past decade.

Does a material that naturally resists mold need Microban? The definitive answer isn’t proven. But USFloors has made up its mind. USFloors, in addition to Qu-Cork supplier Global Market Partners, added Microban – a mold inhibitor – to their cork flooring products some time ago. While Qu-Cork still feels this was a cutting-edge move, USFloors has decided to focus on other ways to lead. At issue, says USFloors Marketing Director Gary Keeble Jr., are concerns about unknown, long-term effects of Triclosan – a bacteria killer that is used in Microban and many consumer products, including toothpaste. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved Triclosan, both agencies have called for more review of the chemical in light of studies that show it alters hormone regulation in animals and might contribute to making bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics.

U.S. Green Building Council’s certified wood vote ends Nov. 23, while debate over which certification is best intensifies You’ve probably heard about it somewhere.  The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has for some time been considering revisions to rules that determine what wood products qualify as sustainably harvested. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification to date has been the only certification that qualifies a product for credit under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an important “green” building rating system.  The proposal, with voting to conclude Nov. 23, has long been anticipated as a document that would open the door for Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification and others. “Okay, that’s nice,” you say. “But why do I care?” Because your understanding of these certifications -- and the availability of products that have them -- will affect choices you can make to protect the planet, and possibly, your pocketbook.

National effort to recycle carpet diverts more than 300 million pounds a year from landfills, but some complain of roadblocks John Hughes doesn’t need to watch Green Master’s Natural Interiors® TV presentation this week. He could have written the script. He has been thinking about the health of the planet for a long time. And he is getting a little frustrated. Hughes, president and owner of O’Briens Carpet One Floor & Home in Colorado Springs, Co., has installed solar panels to reduce the energy needed to run his business. He recycles the wood he tears out when replacing a customer’s floor in addition to all of the rebond carpet pad he replaces. He has tried, repeatedly, to have a successful program for recycling his carpet tear-outs, too.

FloorScore® vs. GREENGUARD, FSC® vs. SFI®  Forest Steward, you rock! But it might be time to change your thinking. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification you represent in the July 19, 2010 episode of Natural Interiors® TV is the true, independent third-party certification we have all come to rely on.