In the face of global warming and increasing greenhouse gases, the world’s focus has been turned to all things green. With the proliferation of greener and cleaner vehicles, solar technology, and wind farms, every industry seems to have been impacted by the green revolution.
Today, you can move this initiative into your own home by installing eco-friendly home improvement products. For example, instead of choosing hardwood floors with harmful chemicals manufactured through wasteful processes, it’s important to educate yourself on the options that allow you to better the Earth by selecting floors that have environmentally-friendly manufacturing methods. The following information offers tips to help you better your home with a green hardwood flooring choice.
Choose Products Endorsed by the FSC
Environmental groups from around the world endorse the forest certification system offered by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is the only certification recognized by the United States Green Building Council as evidence of a wood product’s sustainability. The FSC is a non-profit independent organization that has developed a system for effectively tracking wood from the forest to your home. As a key green feature, the FSC’s certification is the best way for you to be ensured the wood you are using was harvested from a well-managed forest.
Choose Formaldehyde Free Wood
Several manufacturers of engineered or laminate wood use many different types of binding products during the manufacturing process to keep the layers of wood together. While most of the chemicals used are safe, one of the most common chemicals, urea formaldehyde, has been proven to be hazardous to your health. Formaldehyde is typically used to produce resins in the production of particle boards. In any case, exposure to formaldehyde can result in throat irritation, eye irritation, nose irritation, and other respiratory symptoms. Instead of being exposed to this harmful chemical, do your research and choose hardwood products manufactured without these toxic chemicals.
Choose Non-Toxic Finishes
When you are choosing your hardwood flooring, the finish also matters. The following information explains the different types of finishes and the most eco-friendly choice.
Unfinished hardwood flooring entails you ordering the flooring without a finish, and the top coat is applied at the job site. Applying this type of finish is more messy, labor intensive, and if done incorrectly can be very hazardous to your health. In addition, you will be required to leave your home for multiple days as the polyurethane finish is applied to the wood.
The best type of finish for a site finish is a water-based commercial finish, which are low in VOCs and safe for indoor air.
When you choose hardwood flooring coated at the factory, the flooring is typically easier to install. More importantly, prefinished wood is the greener choice because it doesn’t require any sanding or on-site finishing, which could emit harmful chemicals in your home.
Oil finishes are becoming more and more popular because of the ease of maintenance and appeal of the finish. While these types of finishes are not completely VOC free, oil finishes are much safer than other types of top coat finishes.
Choose Reclaimed Hardwoods
Reclaimed hardwoods are often recovered from the old growth from forest beds, river beds, old wood structures, and several other sources. In addition to being eco-friendly and sustainable, reclaimed hardwood tends to make structures much more durable and stronger. Reclaimed wood comes in practically any type and typically unfinished. As a result, this type of hardwood flooring can be stained to your own liking.