In 40 years it is believed by many scientists there will be no virgin rain forests left. The reasons for this frightening rate of deforestation are diverse, but one undeniable factor is consumerism in the west. The demand for exotic hardwoods to make furniture and flooring is driving illegal loggers further into forests in search of profits.
In these circumstances the responsible thing to do is to find environmentally friendly alternatives to hardwood products. One such product is reclaimed hardwood flooring.
There is a surprising amount of disused, lost and abandoned hardwood both in cities and in the countryside that can be reclaimed, kiln dried and cut into hardwood flooring planks. Also there are many homes, hospitals and schools which are gutted. The hardwood flooring from these buildings can be rescued and re-used as antique hardwood flooring. Both reclaimed hardwood flooring and antique hardwood flooring are excellent examples of recycling. Unlike with other types of sustainable flooring, reclaimed hardwood flooring can often be sourced locally and so transport costs are reduced, as is the overall carbon cost of the flooring.
There are two distinct advantages of hardwood flooring over new hardwood flooring. The first is to do with appearance. Hardwood flooring is an organic ‘living’ type of flooring that changes over time. Only aged reclaimed and antique flooring has a rich patina that adds depth to the natural color of the wood. When you buy reclaimed hardwood flooring you are getting a piece of history rich in p\color and pattern. Much reclaimed hardwood flooring is classified as ‘rustic’ which means it contains saw kerfs, worm holes and other marks. These supposed ‘imperfections’ add to the character and interest of the flooring. Many people fall in love with the intriguing irregularity of reclaimed hardwood flooring.
Of course the rustic look is not appropriate for over indoor décor, and indeed some types of reclaimed hardwood flooring is not rustic.
The other advantage of reclaimed hardwood flooring is that it is much more dimensionally stable than new hardwood flooring. New hardwood flooring is susceptible to changes in relative humidity. Too much water in the air can make the flooring swell and too little can make the flooring shrink. Because reclaimed hardwood has been exposed to the air for many years it has fully acclimatized and as such makes a better more stable type of flooring.
So be kind to the environment and add class and beauty to your home by buying reclaimed hardwood flooring instead of new hardwood flooring.