Why Timber Flooring is an Environmentally-Friendly Choice
Living a sustainable lifestyle is important to many of us. A 2021 study by the BBC showed that 81% of Australians believe that commitment to sustainability adds value to a brand. The construction industry is increasingly offering greener choices of materials and manufacturing. The Forest Stewardship Council says, “wood has been increasingly recognised as a global solution to climate change, by storing carbon and through reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.”
Back To Timber is committed to sustainable flooring solutions and stocks options with varying green credentials. This article will examine the environmental benefits of selecting timber for your new or renovated flooring.
Why timber is a sustainable flooring choice
Environmental Certifications for Timber Floors
When considering new hardwood floors, a great place to start is looking at the environmental credentials of the specific flooring brand and timber species you choose to put in your home. While trees are renewable, forests are not. So, it is vital that we source timber responsibly. A standard certification of timber flooring in Australia is FSC, which stands for Forest Stewardship Council. An FSC certification assures that the timber used in the product has been sustainably harvested. The FSC forest management standards ensure businesses and consumers can be guaranteed they are supporting responsible management of our world’s forests by choosing FSC certified timber. There are many aspects to sustainability; for an in-depth look at what is required to achieve the Australian FSC certification, click here.
Most of Back to Timber’s solid timber flooring products are manufactured by Pentarch Forestry (formerly Boral Timber). Pentarch manages private forest estates to ensure optimal environmentally sustainable forest management practice at all times; you can find out more details on their Accreditations page.
If you are interested in finding out about the specific environmental credentials of your new flooring products, our helpful staff can provide the certifications on request.
Durability of Timber Floors
An often overlooked factor when considering the sustainability of a floor covering is how long it will last in the home or commercial space. Timber flooring can last a lifetime if installed and maintained correctly because hardwood flooring can be re-sanded several times before requiring full replacement. Floor coverings such as carpet often require total replacement once worn out (approx. 7-12years) due to their inability to be rejuvenated. Quality solid timber floors outlast most alternate floor coverings and thus contribute less to landfill. Unlike many other floor coverings, timber can be repurposed or recycled in many ways.
Carbon Emissions During Production
Most product manufacturing produces some carbon dioxide emissions during the process. However, solid timber flooring produces significantly lower carbon dioxide levels during manufacturing than other building and flooring materials. When looking at carbon dioxide produced from similar quantities of construction products, we can see that timber produces approximately 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide compared to ceramic tiles that produce 5 tonnes and concrete that produces almost 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Timber flooring also acts as a carbon store for the lifetime of the floor. Nearly 50% of the dried weight of the timber is carbon which has been stored and prevented from releasing into the atmosphere during the growth of the trees.
Timber Floor Maintenance
Cleaning your hardwood floors throughout their lifetime can be done in an eco-friendly manner. Often a quick sweep or vacuum is all that is required to keep your hardwood floors looking great. Potentially dangerous and environmentally-damaging chemicals should not be used on timber flooring. Ask a Back to Timber team member which cleaners are safe for your timber floor when purchasing the product. There are some environmentally-friendly cleaning products on the market, from brands like Koh and Koala Eco; however, we recommend checking the individual brand’s guidelines to ensure the cleaning products will not damage your floors. Where a deeper clean is needed, we recommend a damp (not wet) mop with an appropriate floor cleaner followed by a damp finish mop with clean water to remove any cleaning solutions that may still be lingering on the floorboards. Most importantly, never leave your timber floors wet, as moisture can cause warping in the boards. For an in-depth cleaning guide for your hardwood floors, check out our article on Cleaning Timber Floors.