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Finding Sustainable Exotic Hardwood Floors

Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011

Finding Sustainable Exotic Hardwood FloorsSo you're ready to look at choices for flooring for your new home or office. There are literally thousands of choices out there, but you have a priority. You don't want your new floor to come at too high a cost for the environment. You want to use a product that is eco-friendly and that comes from a sustainable source. But you also want to have something natural, beautiful, and stylish. The great news is, you can have the best of both worlds.

Thankfully there are several species of exotic woods used for hardwood flooring harvested by reputable companies that have the protection of natural resources at the core of their business. There are also several types of wood that are naturally sustainable in that they regenerate at such quick rates that they're pretty sustainable on their own.

First, Brazilian Cherry is becoming a popular choice. When you find a supplier, make sure they have a LEED rating, which confirms that the hardwood is harvested in a responsible, sustainable manner. This is also a great choice for flooring because of its density. It's actually twice as strong as oak, a long-time front-runner in strength, which makes it more resistant to scratches and denting.

Two other exotic species that are quick growers and are protected and managed on plantations, and so are great sustainable choices are bamboo and cork. Bamboo is actually a grass, not wood, but you could never tell. Its strength and density are superb for flooring, and when this resource can be harvested every five years or so, it's by definition sustainable.

Cork is also a product that regenerates very quickly. The neat thing about cork is that the trees don't have to be cut down to harvest the material. The "wood" we recognize as cork is actually the bark of the cork tree. Expertly trained technicians actually remove almost the entire covering of bark from the tree, and in about nine years, it's ready to be harvested again.

A couple of other choices you might not be as aware of are Coconut and Lyptus (which is a hybrid of two different eucalyptus species). Lyptus is ready for harvest in about 15 years, as opposed to other species that might take 30 – 40 years. It's a cost-effective and durable as hardwood flooring goes and can be dyed. Coconut is also an option, but it comes a bit higher premium. Though the Coconut tree can be harvested in just 6 short years, most trees are used for — you guessed it — coconuts, which turns 6 years into 80, after the tree is done producing fruit.

As you can see, there are several choices out there for sustainable exotic hardwood flooring. You can get a beautiful floor with no compromise.