Wanke Cascade Tag

DuChateau strives for vinyl flooring that is better for people and planet More mainstream flooring manufacturers are paying attention to the growing controversy over phthalates – a plasticizer – in vinyl flooring, even though studies suggesting a link between phthalates and lowered IQ, endocrine problems and respiratory ailments have been dismissed as independent and fringe. DuChateau Floors is now making vinyl without phthalates, though the product’s backing, made using recycled content, still may contain trace amounts because old product is recycled by the company. This switch by DuChateau follows the introduction by competitor Tarkett of its “phthalate-free except for recycled content” vinyl flooring earlier this year. “Only a very small portion of phthalate-containing plasticizer can be detected from the recycled bottom layer,” says Don Bufalini, western regional sales manager for DuChateau Floors.  “The tile should not really be affected by the phthalates if they are in the bottom layer.”

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 version of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, and it is lauded for everything from protecting forests to keeping toxic chemicals out of our groundwater. But aside from a few, higher-end hardwood floors like DuChateau or USFloors Navarre, you won’t find the FSC-certified label on standard, finished hardwood flooring products – even those from manufacturers that have FSC-certified factories.  The chain of custody documentation, from the forest to the distributor, required by FSC is costly, and in some cases, logistically impossible. “We sell though a large number of independent distributors like Wanke Cascade,” says Ron Gade, western regional sales manager for Columbia and Century Flooring. “We see it as difficult to obtain FSC certification for this group of distributors.”

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. 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.

Wanke Cascade president was a leader in flooring, “green” products and friendship [caption id="attachment_1740" align="alignleft" width="135"] Jim W. Johnson, 3/25/54-9/18/11[/caption] Every time I talked to Jim Johnson, I got stronger. The first time was at a panel discussion during a Surfaces trade show, where a past-president of Teragren LLC was to speak. I was a Teragren bamboo flooring distributor, Jim was Teragren’s West Coast sales manager. When he sat down at my table, I was looking for a misplaced receipt, worried that an attendant would be around to verify that I had paid to get in. “Why did you pay?,” Jim pressed. “You’re a distributor here to support a vendor.  You are entitled to just walk in.”

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. [caption id="attachment_1581" align="alignleft" width="90"] Eco Ash[/caption] All cork flooring is made from the waste of the wine-stopper industry. When bark is harvested from the Evergreen Cork Oak Trees – about every nine years – the first thing that happens is the punching out of wine stoppers. The leftovers are then ground up and made into other items, including flooring. “The manufacturing process of the Eco line does not differ,” says Sheila Furtney, WE Cork sales manager. “The stoppers are not actually all from used stoppers, but rather the stoppers that did not make the grade.”

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 there could be higher emissions coming from the carpet pad. How do you sort through all the “green” carpet pad choices and make sure you get what you are looking for? A. Remember that “green” can mean good for the planet, good for human health, or both. The good news with almost all carpet cushion --excluding rubber and prime urethane -- is that it contains essentially 100-percent recycled content from either pre- or post-consumer waste. This means: Good for the planet.

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 can be installed over most existing floors -- in a third of the time it would take for a traditional installation -- has removed the obstacles for those who want real tile fast.  Avaire® Floating Porcelain Tile also reduces waste because you don’t have to tear out your existing floors, and because it can be moved and reused. “The whole idea that it is reusable is a big attraction for our customers,” says Gary Cissell, director of flooring for Nebraska Furniture Mart, where Avaire tile is the third-highest seller out of the store’s eight tile lines. “It is a great environmental story.”

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 not give him an accurate reading of the moisture content in the floor. This is needed when installing the floor, as well as later if any moisture problems arise. When we needed accurate moisture readings a few years ago on a very large commercial installation, the strand bamboo manufacturer told us that we would have to send a piece of the floor to a laboratory for an oven-dry test.  Sending pieces away and waiting for answers or trying to do a bake test in a home oven isn’t practical. Is this a problem across the industry or an isolated incident?

FSC-Certified Floors:  Add a zero-VOC finish for hardwood flooring that’s better for health, and the planet The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label is arguably the best guarantee that a hardwood floor was sustainably harvested. But that isn’t enough for homeowners who want flooring that does not emit chemicals. Manufacturers of polyurethane and aluminum oxide floor finishes have appeased some of these customers by developing finishes with lower-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content. But a growing number of people want a floor that’s prefinished without potentially harmful chemicals. “There is a demand for really 'green'  finishes that don’t emit chemicals in your home or business,” says Jim Johnson, president of Wanke Cascade – a wholesale flooring distributor headquartered in Portland, Oregon. “That demand will continue to grow as more people learn that flooring prefinished with natural oil is readily available.”