With sustainability on everyone’s mind, the prospect of being able to afford a new home, addition, or remodel comes loaded with decisions about where materials from the ceiling to the foundation are sourced.
I’m sure that leather for couches and wool or nylon for carpets can be chosen from places all over the ecological spectrum, but what I know about is wood, and if there’s one thing that home building uses a lot of, it’s trees.
What’s Under Your Feet?
A lot of people like carpet. As of 2015, well over fifty percent of homes in the United States were carpeted, or at least covered with rugs. That said, when wood can be done at a good price and in good conscience, it’s hard to beat. That’s why we love making furniture out of wood, especially reclaimed and recycled wood.
Wood floors can be done with all sorts of different woods. There are cork floors. There are bamboo floors. Hardwood, though, with its pleasant to look at grains and veins, and ability to soak up beautiful stains, is a constant favorite. Ash, oak, walnut, cherry, and maple dominate most floorspace, but beech, rosewood, and mahogany aren’t uncommon, either.
As I wrote last week, the use of some of these woods (rosewood in particular, actually) for luxuries like fine floors is being increasingly frowned upon, but there are other options available to us.
The Right Choices Are Just A Few Clicks Away
A quick look over the internet reveals that there are people wholeheartedly devoted to providing quality wood floor that the consumer need have no qualms about. One example are the folks at Green Building Supply. Even when just talking floors, their website can be something of a rabbit hole, because they somehow offer so many options, despite the fact that it’s hard to find one without low or zero VOC finish, and 100% FSC certification.
A Road Less Traveled, But Worth Checking
Another method of sourcing lumber that has always held me in intense fascination is finding standing structures like barns and cabins and sheds that are either condemned or unused and repurposing the wood used to build them.
Not all the time, but fairly frequently, you can strip them of a large quantity of unrotted, sturdy, reliable planks. These planks are also desirable for their exquisite, naturally aged patinas. Sunburnt blacks streaking nostalgic greys and reds and browns are a trademark of good taste not only in lodges and western style bed and breakfasts but also in classy, upscale, high-rise apartments.
Put them up against logs and leather, you have one aesthetic, but don’t forget how appealing the same pieces can be when juxtaposed with steel spiral staircases and the kinds of large, colorful glass vases that have wormed their ways into every urban home magazine’s entries.
Your Woodworking Expert,