There’s been a lot of discussion as of late regarding the benefits of cork and bamboo for flooring. While these styles have their upsides, they aren’t the only types of flooring that boast environmental benefits. Many claims have been made that bamboo, for example, is an ideal choice for the environmentally conscious, because it only takes five years for the bamboo to reach the proper age for harvesting, versus, say, several decades for oak or maple.
But consider this: bamboo, and cork, are shipped to the US from the other side of the world, meaning the carbon footprint attached to these products is far greater than appears.
North American hardwoods have been a mainstay for flooring for generations, and for good reason. American hardwoods come from forests right in our backyards. Rather than travel thousands of miles, the trees used for American hardwoods travel hundreds of miles. Oak, hickory, maple, and heart pine are all classic American hardwoods that produce the finest floorings available, without having to travel to the other side of the world.
Cut down a tree, grow another one
Okay, so American hardwood doesn’t travel thousands of miles to get to your home; however, there’s still the problem of how long it takes before one of these trees can be harvested. From 40 years to far greater, having to wait that long to harvest a tree is sure to negatively impact the environment, right?
Wrong. North America has done a great job in recent years of replenishing our forests as we cut them down. This process is so precise that as we clear out one area of trees, a new area has grown into maturity. It’s like a never-ending rollercoaster, with lifts and dips. Throughout the country, thousands of tree reserves are maintained just for the sake of ensuring we replenish our forests as we cut them down.
It’s unfortunate that American hardwood gets a bad wrap for its environmental impact – much of that is tied to a process that existed decades ago. Nowadays, the homeowner looking for truly sustainable wood without the carbon footprint, should look toward American hardwoods