If you’re planning to make some flooring changes in your home you can do it using sustainable, earth friendly and IAQ* safe products. I’d say hardwood floors are the main level flooring choice these days. Certainly the majority of my clients want hardwood floors in the homes they buy or want to install them. They’re not just beautiful and easy to keep clean, but hardwood floors greatly reduce allergens if they’re not finished or stained with toxic chemicals. If anyone in your home has asthma or other allergies, hardwood floors will go a long way towards improving their quality of life.
Many buyers want to know when they purchase an older home that is carpeted, whether there are hardwoods underneath. Recently I listed an older townhouse for sale and the seller was going to replace the carpet that had been there since she purchased it. When the carpet was pulled up absolutely beautiful hardwood floors were revealed that didn’t even need to be refinished. That was great. But what if the floors need to be stripped, sanded and refinished?
If the floors need to be refinished, find a company that uses low or no-VOC finishing products. These finishes will not leave highly toxic fumes circulating in your home for months. Osmo is one brand of floor finishes and stains that Universal Floors, a DC metro area hardwood flooring company uses. CCI Wood Floor Specialists is a small Virginia company whose owner, Jimmy Stallings, only uses VOC compliant products when he finishes floors. The Green Home Guide has a lot of information on hardwood floor finishes.
If you are installing hardwood floors you should look for FSC certified wood floors. The Forest Stewardship Council is an organization that promotes responsible forest stewardship to reduce the worldwide destruction of CO2 life giving forests. Look for this symbol.
Reclaimed wood is another way to install beautiful hardwood floors with minimal environmental impact. This is the ultimate repurposing. Its previous life may have been in a North Carolina tobacco barn or railroad trestles in the midwest. This wood is generally more expensive because reclaiming and milling it adds to the labor costs. It can have really unique qualities and looks that for some, may be worth the cost. As always, be careful on sourcing reclaimed wood to make sure the company is not greenwashing.
Illegal, unsustainable and unmanaged wood (tree) harvesting is destroying large quantities of the world’s forests in places were the ecological balance of nature is being seriously compromised such as Indonesia and the Amazon. China, which makes most of the wood products used in the United States, is scouring the world buying up wood because deforestation in China is a huge problem. The World Wildlife Fund reports on the global impact of deforestation.
*Indoor Air Quality
My purpose is to serve my clients and advocate for their highest and best good, so they attain their real estate goals.