With the emphasis on natural products comes the tension of environmental and sustainability concerns. While wood is one of the best renewable materials you can choose, people worry about forest degradation which causes erosion, loss of habitat, and land issues for indigenous people across the planet. Because of those concerns, we’ve seen the rise of “eco-friendly floors” like bamboo and cork. These materials are popular but they can be limited in their durability-especially when compared to hardwood floors. Cork is a softer wood as it comes from the bark of oak trees, whereas bamboo is in the grass family. Hardwood flooring gives you a durable foundation for your home as well as providing a timeless look. If you are someone who wants a green and healthy home, you have options. In fact, we have built our company around the idea that wood floors can be beautiful and sustainable decades before eco-friendly options were on anyone’s radar.
When you consider a wood floor company and manufacturer, ask about their forest management programs or incentives. What are they doing as a company to ensure the health of the forests they pull their materials from? At Naples Flooring, we only represent Legno Bastone floors because of their beauty, durability, and their commitment to creating a sustainable product. Founded in the 1800’s and still managed by members of the founding family, Legno Bastone gets their raw wood from the best forests in Europe. The trees they select are generally over 150 years old and have been meticulously cared for throughout their existence. By taking trees at such a mature age, the tree gets to go through its entire life cycle which produces wide planks and beautiful grain but also gives forest life a chance to use the tree to its fullest extent. Culling larger trees means the forest is thinned in a way that preserves the nutrients for other, younger trees and opens up shaded areas so they can grow and mature. Also, taking large trees at the end of their life cycle but before they die helps prevents the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The company then plants five trees for every one they take, ensuring the health of the forest for generations to come. Lengno Bastone is a member of the French Forestry Commission which monitors its forests through satellites to protect the health and wellbeing of its trees.
Another thing to consider when choosing a hardwood floor is the manufacturing and installation process. Most wood floors are made with glue or processes that contain VOCs. According to the EPA “Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.” VOCs are found in many household items from paints to air fresheners so if you become concerned about their presence in your home, you should take a look at the products you are bringing inside. VOC concentrations are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors because of ventilation differences. They can cause issues like eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination and nausea, and can cause damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some VOCs can cause cancer in animals and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. Not something you want in your home!
The reason we can confidently install a Legno Bastone floor in a home is because we know we won’t be bring more harmful substances with us. Using a cross panel pattern, eleven ply marine-grade Baltic birch is pressed together using the cold press method with non-VOC wood glue. While this process takes longer (up to 24 hours vs the minutes it can take in other manufacturing processes) the finished product is stronger than traditional wood floors and won’t leach toxins into your home. And that’s a real concern—here in Florida, our humid weather opens the grain in your wood floors causing them to “breathe” the VOCs into your home. People are finding they are actually allergic to their floors, a painful and costly discovery that has to be remedied in order to make the home livable again.
At the end of the day we have a wood floor option we are proud of and that you can confidently choose to put in your home knowing your dollars aren’t going towards the destruction of the environment and local habitats, and you won’t bring harmful chemicals into your home. It turns out your really can have it all!
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