Sustainable Options for Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood floors have become the flooring of choice for consumers who feel more than a little compunction about using large amounts of hardwood in their homes. Given the amount of material that solid hardwood floors call for, a few pricks of the conscience are understandable — it hardly requires very much effort to image the heavy toll solid wood floors can take on precious, slow-growing trees, especially if these are not from sustainably harvested, or FSC-certified, sources.

But what does FSC-certification mean? Well, to start out with its most obvious significance, it means that the Forest Stewardship Council has given a woodsy product its stamp of approval. If floating wood flooring is FSC-certified, then the wood it contains comes from a forest that’s been verified for sustainable tree harvesting practices and where workers are not exploited. When it comes to engineered floors, it’s important to note that FSC-certification can be applied to only the core, the top layer of hardwood, or to both components. The best choice from a conservationist standpoint, of course, is engineered flooring that’s fully certified.

Another important factor to consider when making an engineered wood purchase is the chemical makeup of the flooring’s adhesives. Many of these have been fabricated to carry exceptionally high levels of urea-formaldehyde, a known off-gassing indoor pollutant that’s best avoided. Despite the risks posed by off-gassing, urea-formaldehyde persists in many industries because the thermosetting resin has exceptional, and highly desirable, tensile strength.

If you’re in a hurry to start installing wood flooring, know that taking some time to research the products you will use will result in saving money, time, and effort. Many flooring products are incredibly easy to install, so even if you’re in a rush, you’ll find that putting a smidgen of thought into understanding your options will not culminate in a very big delay, if any. A good rule of thumb is to look out for products that have a thick top hardwood layer because the heftier that layer is, the better it will stand up to multiple sanding sessions. Be meticulous and firm throughout your upcoming project, and you’re sure to end up with beautiful and long-lasting floors.

Sam Walters is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her writing appears in print and online.

Comments are closed