Final Coat: Facts Over Fake

Photo courtesy of NWFA.

We have been touting the benefits of real wood flooring over highly processed, wood-look alternatives for years. In some ways, it has been “preaching to the choir,” but the efforts of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and its members to bring the message that wood is good to the consumer is making progress. Biophilic design trends and the desire to be surrounded by nature even when we are inside have helped wood’s charm resonate even more with homeowners the last few years.

The chemicals used to make fake wood flooring products have been drawing more attention. You may recall that a train carrying hazardous materials derailed earlier this year in East Palestine, Ohio. Toxic chemicals were released, including vinyl chloride, which has been linked to cancer of the liver, brain, lungs, and blood. While residents living near the derailment had no choice about their exposure, millions of homeowners unknowingly put their families at risk when they bring plastic products into their homes. This is because vinyl chloride is used to make a variety of plastics, including polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a primary component used to make resilient and vinyl flooring, cabinets, doors, window frames, and mouldings, as well as other household items.

Real wood products do not jeopardize human health or the environment. They are made using natural materials that can be regrown and contribute to the overall health of our planet and its residents.

Further, the Environmental Protection Agency finds that hardwood floors improve indoor air quality. Hardwood floors do not harbor microorganisms or pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors, and they minimize the accumulation of dust, mold, and animal dander. Conversely, plastic floors, carpets, furniture, etc., off-gas toxic chemicals that can be harmful.

As more and more focus is directed toward the use of green or sustainable products to promote a healthier environment, Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) have become a way to verify a product’s environmental impacts. EPDs offer objective, scientific data that quantifies how a product is made and how that product impacts the environment during its entire life cycle. The NWFA and Decorative Hardwoods Association (DHA) recently received the results of a cradle-to-grave EPD. These studies showed, conclusively and with third-party scientific data, that wood flooring has significantly fewer environmental impacts than any other flooring product.

The NWFA Refinishable Program also promotes longer-lasting products, as consumers demand more robust products with more realistic visuals. This voluntary certification program identifies engineered wood flooring products with wear layers thick enough to be refinished and produces a list of certified refinishable wood flooring products to aid manufacturers, distributors, specifiers, and end-users in their decision-making process. The list of participating manufacturers keeps growing.

All of this information helps strengthen the case for real wood flooring. The NWFA will keep spreading the message, and we encourage you to do the same. One of the ways NWFA is doing this is through our participation in the Real American Hardwood Coalition, a group of more than 30 wood industry organizations that have joined forces to inspire and educate consumers. This group has amplified hardwood’s story via a consumer website, and social media content and has plans to focus on content integration with influencers. Your support is needed to get this important information to consumers. Learn more about the coalition’s hardwood promotion efforts and how you can lend your support by visiting

One thought

  1. Well said, and very true. Further, no one will be standing on a PVC floor 100 years from now asking should we just re-finish it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.