Wood flooring is the most sustainable and renewable flooring material available. The hardwood industry is committed to sustainable forest management, never harvesting more than can be responsibly replenished. In fact, on average the hardwood flooring industry plants far more trees each year than it removes (Source: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service).
Since hardwood floors can last over 100 years, they don’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring materials. When they are removed, they can also be recycled or reused; the wood used in flooring is 100% biodegradable, and can be salvaged and used for other purposes again and again.
In fact, many hardwood floors themselves are made from reclaimed wood, salvaged from buildings no longer in use. Originally used in barns, warehouses, and even as flooring in a previous “life,” this wood is carefully removed, resawn, and remilled into new boards. Reclaiming, or salvaging, is different from recycling, where used materials are physically altered and used to make new products. Reclaimed wood is removed whole and treated with care; it retains its natural beauty and character, finding a new use sometimes hundreds of years after it was first harvested.
Recent years have seen an enormous resurgence in the popularity of reclaimed hardwood floors, and it’s an option that’s as beautiful as it is environmentally conscious. When wood ages, it takes on new colors and textures, changes you can’t predict, different for every board. Old, abandoned barns soak up sunlight and moisture over generations and the character of the wood will reflect its unique history. When this antiqued wood is salvaged and recrafted into flooring, the results can be spectacular.
Whether you choose to install new hardwood or prefer to find your own style in reclaimed, antique wood flooring, you’re making an environmentally responsible choice and supporting an industry that works hard to cares for our forests, so we can continue to enjoy beautiful hardwood floors for generations to come.