Environmental Benefits of Hardwood Flooring
Does wood flooring promote a healthy indoor environment?
Yes! Bacteria, dust, and dirt do not embed themselves in wood flooring, as they do in other flooring options. Simple regular maintenance—such as dust mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming – keeps wood floors sanitary.
Is Wood Flooring Better with Pets?
Pets are the primary source of indoor allergies. Cats and dogs, especially those with long hair, harbor all kinds of potential allergens (like dander and saliva). Carpets and rugs trap these particles, which can be difficult to vacuum. Hardwood floors are the best option for pet owners because the hair does not bind to them.
If you take care of your flooring and replace it when necessary, there’s nothing to strongly suggest that either hardwood or carpet is a significantly healthier option. However, homeowners who like the comfortable feel of carpet should be aware that proper cleaning and maintenance are essential to keep it as healthy and attractive as possible.
It should be noted that some have made a case for hardwood being healthier on a global scale. When sustainably grown and harvested, wood flooring is a very environmentally friendly product whose long life expectancy suggests that it won’t be taking up landfill space any time soon!
Is wood flooring hypoallergenic?
Millions of people suffer from sensitivity to chemicals and toxins. Tests by leading allergists have proven that wood flooring provides a healthier environment for these allergy sufferers. Wood doesn’t harbor irritating dust and microorganisms.
Is the natural environment protected during the harvesting and manufacturing of wood flooring?
Yes. Far from a depleting resource, hardwood is sustainable and commercially more available now than ever before. On the 486 million acres of forestland in the United States classified as commercial, substantially more wood is added in new growth each year than is harvested. For hardwood species, 86 percent more wood is added annually in net growth than is removed through harvest. Manufacturers of glue-down wood flooring meet Clean Air Act standards for construction adhesives. A national environmental standard for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is anticipated in the next few years, but manufacturers are already offering VOC-compliant wood flooring products.
Once installed, how often must wood flooring be replaced?
Every hundred years or so. In fact, the heart pine floors in historic Bacon’s Castle in Virginia are more than three centuries old and counting. Simple care and maintenance keeps wood floors looking beautiful for a lifetime. Instead of laying an entirely new floor when the original is worn, wood floors can be rejuvenated with sanding and refinishing. When done by a wood flooring professional, wood floors need only to be refinished every 10 – 15 years. When a wood floor’s useful life is over, it’s completely biodegradable.
Is recycled wood flooring available?
Yes. Wood salvaged from a variety of sources, including old barns and factories, is a popular high-end design trend. Wood recovered from riverbeds is another growing segment of the wood flooring industry. Logs that sank during logging operations years ago are being recovered by a number of companies and used to create truly unique flooring. Today’s only significant source for heartwood from long-leaf pine is through reclaimed timbers from warehouses and factories constructed during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Chestnut, hemlock, poplar, walnut, and cypress are other options.
Where can I learn more about the environmental benefits of wood flooring?
To order a free video on wood flooring and the environment, call the NWFA at (800) 422-4556.