December 9, 2022

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Is Engineered Flooring Good For The Environment?

Is Engineered Flooring Good For The Environment?

Are you remodeling or renovating your home? Hardwood flooring is often a logical choice for the main living spaces. Homeowners all across the Front Range love the classic looks hardwood offers.

Yet classic hardwood doesn’t make sense for every homeowner. That’s why manufacturers have created many different options: engineered hardwood, laminate, luxury vinyl planks.

You know solid hardwood doesn’t make sense with your lifestyle. You’re leaning towards engineered hardwood. But something else is weighing on your mind.

Is engineered flooring good for the environment? Is engineered hardwood sustainable?

Many people question the sustainable practices of using hardwood flooring. It can be detrimental to the environment, chopping down trees that took decades to grow. Is engineered hardwood a better solution?

What is engineered hardwood? 

Is Engineered Flooring Good For The Environment?

Engineered wood floor installation with subfloor membrane in condo. Maple hardwood flooring planks closeup showing composite plywood layers. Remodeling home improvement concept.

While solid hardwood flooring is constructed from a solid piece of wood, engineered hardwood is constructed in layers. It uses a relatively thin layer of wood veneer bonded over a premium quality plywood layer. It gives it classic good looks as well as durability.

The best engineered hardwood floors are created from up to nine layers of plywood core for flexibility and stability. While it may not last as long as traditional hardwood planks, a good quality product will give you up to 30 years of life, and be able to be refinished several times before it needs replacing.

Because it’s easier to handle, it’s also more do-it-yourself-friendly – if you’re looking for a DIY project, engineered hardwood may be the better choice. With a lower cost than traditional hardwood, it’s often the better choice.

What makes engineered hardwood more natural than solid hardwood?

Engineered hardwood planks are still made from wood. Instead of a solid core, it’s created in multiple layers.

While solid hardwood is created from freshly harvested trees, engineered hardwood planks are created in more ingenious ways. They are still natural wood flooring, created from the environment with all-natural products. The veneer consists of real hardwood. The core is produced from plywood or fiberboard, all of which are natural wood products.

Yet because they aren’t solid hardwood, they can be created in many ways. Often, plywood and fiberboard are created from recycled or leftover wood byproducts, eliminating waste in the manufacturing process and creating a more sustainable product.

Does engineered hardwood use fewer trees? Yes! Solid hardwood planks must be cut from the heart of the tree, which can create leftover materials. Engineered wood only has a thin veneer that sits on top of plywood or fiberboard. This means less traditional wood is used in each plank production, and ultimately requires fewer trees to be cut down for the same level of production.

What does sustainable harvesting mean?

Without healthy forests, our entire way of living may be at risk. More evidence is pointing to needing forests for proper global diversity.

Many manufacturers realize this, and have set up sustainable businesses to put these ideas into practice.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an organization dedicated to achieving better practices with the use of our forests. This ensures they are properly managed for ecosystems and habitats, as well as giving the world the products and resources it needs and desires.

By checking for the FSC label, you’ll ensure the engineered hardwood you purchase is FSC-certified. That means it’s sourced from forests that are managed responsibly, while helping to protect wildlife habitats and ensuring zero deforestation.

When a manufacturer uses this label, it means they are part of the bigger picture of creating sustainable, eco-friendly measures. Because engineered hardwood doesn’t require the same core hardwood product as traditional hardwood planks, it ensures companies can use more of the materials they harvest, which means less wood to cut down. This can preserve older growth forests, and encourage healthy forest regeneration.

What about indoor air quality?

With all we’ve been through the past few years, many homeowners are paying attention to the products and materials they bring indoors, ensuring they won’t create an unhealthy environment.

Wood is a carbon-neutral product, which means it has low environmental impact throughout the life of the product. Of course, you have to consider all of your options carefully. Look closely at the manufacturer – do they work hard at sustainable business practices? It also requires you to look closely at the dealer you do business with – do they use sustainable methods when installing and replacing the flooring?

Wood floors are one of the most popular options because they are also one of the most hypoallergenic. They are created from sustainable, low-VOC materials. And because they are easy to clean and maintain, they won’t attract dust and debris like other materials. A simple swipe of the broom each day will keep the dust bunnies away.

Pay attention to the entire production process. If engineered hardwood flooring products state they are low or no VOCs, it means they won’t release harmful toxins into the air before, during, or after production. Ask about installation, and choose a chemical-free installation method that won’t introduce other toxic chemicals into your air supply. Every little bit helps in creating a clean indoor environment.

Will they last?

One of the biggest benefits of solid hardwood is its longevity. Because you can sand them down and refinish them multiple times, it’s less waste overall. They can realistically last 50 to 100 years, depending on the quality of the product and the care it’s given over its lifetime.

While engineered may not offer that level of longevity, they can still be a welcome addition to your home for several decades with the proper care. That means if you invest in a higher quality product in the beginning, you can expect to keep them in your home for years, even if you choose to remodel or renovate other furnishings in the future.

Fewer replacements, less waste, lower costs – all of that may be just what you’re looking for. Add in environmentally friendly products too, and you may decide engineered hardwood flooring is the perfect choice for you.

Is engineered hardwood flooring right for you? We can help. Stop by today and see our complete selection of engineered hardwood flooring products. We’ll help you find the perfect look for your home.