Question

Can you help me find wood floors that meet my green "wish list"?

Asked by Hannah Warner
Aurora, CO

I'd like to install new wood floors in our home that: (1) Are wide-plank and relatively rich in tone/color (medium dark). (2) Come from a renewable, non-threatened source. (3) Are fairly local and, therefore, require little energy to transport. (4) Ideally, are reused. Any suggestions? Is this an unreasonable list?

Answer

Randy Potter

Answered by Randy Potter

Santa Clara, CA

EarthBound Homes

June 27, 2011

Your list is very reasonable, especially since you did not list the one criterion that seriously limits choices when it comes to any home finishing material...price.

If price is indeed not one of your primary concerns, then I suggest you focus on reclaimed hardwood floors.

  • Reclaimed floors will give you all the sustainable aspects you are looking for and can certainly be found in wide plank.
  • Reclaimed wood is going to have much richer color and grain detail since much of it will come from old growth forests, so aesthetically it sounds like exactly what you are looking for.
  • Reclaimed wood will typically come from an old building that has been deconstructed, usually an old barn, factory or home. The hardwood floors are pulled up, stripped, and milled down so that they are basically like new wood, but much better since you cannot find this type of old growth wood around these days.
  • The grain will be much deeper and more pronounced and the colors will be richer.
  • These woods will generally be denser and harder than new wood as well, both good things for floors.

The hardwood can be pre-finished or finished post-installation just like any other hardwood floor. I suggest that you select a nice water-based, durable finish such as Bona Traffic and have it finished after it is installed; this way you get a nice, level surface without the deep grooves between boards to catch dust and dirt.

Finding a good supplier who can source exactly the reclaimed hardwood floor that you are looking for locally can be tough.

I found this online resource that lists several suppliers in your area.

 

For more information:

Read "What is truly the healthiest wood floor option, and what are the safest finish products to use?" a Q&A answered by Victoria Schomer.

Tagged In: natural wood finish, reuse, wood flooring

Do you have a question about greening your home? GreenHomeGuide invites you to Ask A Pro. Let our network of experienced green building professionals – architects, designers, contractors, electricians, energy experts, landscapers, tile & stone specialists, and more – help you find the right solution.