What Are Some of the Wood Flooring Opportunities You See in Your Region Related to Sustainability & Health?

Michael Dittmer
In Illinois, where my business is located, there are a number of historic buildings and residences. Clients will go to great lengths to restore the original floors to their most usable condition. Recently, we restored a maple floor from the 1890s that had never been sanded. The client removed two layers of tile and underlayment, and removed more than 13,000 nails and staples.

We removed a few hundred more and set the same, so we could sand and refinish them to rave reviews. Salvaged maple from a decommissioned gym was used for some repairs. Saving old floors in these buildings is a priority for folks because they are saving the historic significance of them to their structures.

We actively seek out locally reclaimed material to ensure we achieve a match not possible with new material. One recent restoration revealed some metal slip tongue, in the end, matching in the 3/8” red oak flooring.

Finishes are chosen by the client/suggested by me that will best maintain the longevity of the floors. Most clients rely on our expertise as to which path is the best so the floors will be able to withstand another 100 years of use for the next generation.

Jason Elquest
We have quite a few customers in search of a way to get rid of their carpet and make their homes healthier. We have a lot of dust in Arizona. Surprise, right? Carpet + dust = allergies. Many times the search for cleaner, more environmentally friendly floors ends with wood, and we are happy to oblige!

When we start explaining to our customers that we can also use 0 percent VOC adhesives and 0 percent VOC finishes, they get very excited. These were not even an option just a few short years ago. Their new floors will be healthier for them and the environment; it’s a win-win situation!

Lenny Hall
Here in Florida, we only buy from companies that promote sustainability and stewardship for our planet’s resources, and in turn, demand the same from their lumber/wood floor manufacturers. Our challenge locally is the great influence of the many South American importers that see the U.S. economy as a prime target to drop product into the pipeline directly to consumers, product that may have come from non-FSC or sustained growth programs in the country of origin.

For a time, Honduran mahogany was not available due to illegal logging in South America. Now there is a shift in the original species of Santos mahogany called Cabreuva from Brazil. The current Santos mahogany is coming in from Peru and looks distinctly different from the Brazil variety. I still cannot get a straight answer as to why Cabreuva is not leaving Brazil, but I would suspect non-compliance with proper forestry laws in Brazil is the reason.

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