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Changing the old carpet with new flooring by yourself sometimes can be difficult, well not with laminate flooring – Laminate flooring maybe the only floor you don’t need to spend so much money on contractors and Home improvement companies.
As a matter of fact if you are a little bit handy person you can do it, it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a women.
There are a few steps you need to do and take care before you install your new Laminate flooring.
The Tools you will need for the installation are:
A rubber mallet, laminate flooring pull bar, tape measure, coping saw, utility knife, hammer, nails, laminate flooring, and underlayment.
In order to do it right when the material arrives read all the instruction on the box and remove the plastic wrapping from the boxes and let them flat on the floor so they can acclimate for at least 48 Hr.
After that check what type of subfloor you have, there are only two options:
Installation of Laminate flooring over a concrete takes a few steps:
First you will need to lay down a vapor barrier to keep your moisture factor to a minimum and you should join all the edges together with a moisture resistant tape.
Before you install any laminate on concrete do a concrete test:
The moisture resistant tape should be 2’ x 2’pieces of 6 mil or similar poly film to the slab in several areas of the layout. Make sure all the edges together and sealed and leave it for 24-48 Hr.
If the color change you have a moisture problem and you will need to take care of it before installing the Laminate flooring.
Moisture problem can evolve into health and safety issues caused by mold, mildew and floors lifting.
Consider surface-applied vapor retarders to block moisture emission from the concrete.
After you put a sealer on the slab and you let it dry well you are ready to install your laminate floors.
Since this is a floating floor it is better to use spacers around the room for an expansion gap so your flooring will be able to expand and contract when humidity changes.
There are a few different underlayments’ you can use:
1. Blue /green regular foam with moisture barrier protector – cost around $0.15 per sq/ft.
2. Quiet Step, Non-woven, padded felt underlayment with moisture beerier – cost around $0.35 sq/ft.
3. Green Foam, silent green underlayment 3 mm, High density, thick green foam with moisture barrier – cost around $0.39 per sq/ft.
4. High density blue foam with aluminum, backing of 3 mm for moisture barrier – cost around $0.39 per sq/ft.
5. Black EVA Foam Underlayment with aluminum back 2mm ,High density black EVA Foam with aluminum backing for moisture barrier – cost around $0.39 per sq/ft.
6. Flat rubber underlayment with aluminum backing of 2mm for moisture barrier – cost around $0.55 per sq/ft.
The underlayment’s usually covers 100-200 sq/ft per roll.
First floor will be either concrete or plywood as far as second floor in most of the cases it will be plywood.
In a plywood case you will need only underlayment and the flooring, there will be no need of any moisture tests or sealer to apply on the plywood.
As far as the second story if you have high traffic area in order to have better sound control you can have cork instead of the underlayment.
Cork are available in two thickness options ¼” and ½”.
Now that you are ready to install after you lay down the underlayment/cork ,you will hold each board for about 45 degree angle and because it is a floating floor and has a click system all you need to do is just attach one board to the previews one and press stand on it just snapped and place.
While you installing to prevent gaps just attach one piece of wood to the other side and with a hammer just tap on it until the gap is closed.
After you finish lying down the planks you are ready to take of the spacers and install any trims or moldings you have chosen.
You can choose either quarter round or baseboard to put against the wall.
The last part is to put the transitions each one in his place.
There are 3 transitions:
End mold – known also as threshold use for sliding doors and entrance doors.
Reducer –use if you have different heights between the old floor and the new floor.
T-mold – use if both of the flooring is the same heights.
That’s it for now I hope this will be helpful and you will not be afraid of a D-I-Y projects.
Changing your flooring at home used to be very frustrating and expensive, well not any more.
Laminate flooring is the perfect solution for changing your old flooring without spending so much money.
People are more aware today to a lot of diseases that caused by carpets, it could be from allergies and up to even worst an asthma.
Nowadays with the look of laminate flooring wood look alike you can have your flooring done with a minimum cost and time.
With the comfortable click system of any laminate flooring, you can save a lot of money on installation and do it by yourself, it is so simple that even if you are not a handy person with a simple of few steps you can have your flooring done.
If you decided to go with a contractor to install your laminate flooring you will see the saving compare to wood flooring.
Installation for laminate flooring can start on a price of $3.00 per Sq/Ft not like wood flooring that the prices running from $5.00 and up per Sq /Ft.
Laminate flooring which also known as floating floor because of the option of glue less installation become more and more popular in each and every house and apartment.
You don’t need to glue-down, staple down, or nail-down laminate flooring.
Instead of buying a few buckets of glue you can have a padding solution in a minimum cost of $0.14 cent per sq/ft and save even more.
With the beautiful selection of colors and wood look alike options laminate flooring today rated on the same level as hardwood flooring.
When you have come to select laminate flooring you need to consider the AC rate, which AC-1 is the lowest rate for laminate flooring and it is used for low traffic areas, AC-5 is usually for a high traffic areas and commercial needs, and the most popular and common among the people is the AC-3 rate which good for residential solution with a heavy traffic areas.
Just like hardwood flooring you can install laminate flooring almost in any part of the house, but just make sure that areas like kitchen and bathroom should be with more care and will be used with waterproof glue.
Molding and trims for laminate flooring are cheaper then molding for hardwood flooring and instead of paying an average cost of $49 for wood flooring quarter round piece, you can have quarter round for laminate for as low as $19.99.
Laminate flooring cost can start as low as $0.39 cent per sq/ft and you might want to check if it is odd lots or discontinued product that will be very difficult for you if you will need to continue the same project at the same area in the future, not all the click systems are the same, and you can find yourself stacking with two different colors and two different click systems.
Laminate flooring thickness usually start at 6mm and go up to 12mm,which most common is 8mm and 12mm for an average house or apartment.
The cost for 8mm could start at $0.99 cent and can go up to $3.00 depends on the surface type and the brand.
If you want your flooring to look classy you might want to consider the piano finish which is the high glossy type of laminate flooring and will makes your house looks very modern.
If you decided to go with the vintage look and put a distressed or a hand scraped look your house will looks more contemporary style.
Laminate floors are extremely impact, scratch, sunlight fade and stain resistant.
Any laminate flooring surface type will be with a minimum of maintenance care, you don’t need any wax or polish to keep your laminate looks fresh and new.
You can use a brushless vacuum and a very lightly wet cloth and your laminate floors will looks great.
Hardwood floors are easy to install as well as to maintain. Compared to the carpets and rugs hardwood floors are easier to clean. Hardwood flooring is installed in many houses but most of the time the home owners get confused regarding which installation method to use.
A number of methods can be followed to install hardwood floors. The mostly used hardwood floor installation methods include float method, glue down method, staple down method and nail down method. If you have the skills then you can install hardwood floors in your home all by yourself or you can seek help from the professionals.
Before adopting any of the installation process, you have to find out whether the sub floor of your house is made of concrete or plywood. If you have a plywood sub floor then any of the above mentioned methods can be used. If the sub floor is prepared from concrete then it is better to avoid staple down and nail down methods.
- Staple Down Installation: This method is applied while installing engineered hardwood flooring. Sometimes specific type of staples is required for installing certain hardwood floors. So first try to know the type of hardwood you will be installing. While applying this method for floor installation, one has to be very careful about stapling down the planks in order so that no gap is left in between them.
- Float Installation: This method of hardwood floor installation has become popular in the recent years. For engineered hardwood flooring float method is very suitable. First an underlayment prepared from plastic or foam or a combination of both is spread. The wood flooring is placed on this underlayment. Then water based glue is used to fix the tongue and groove of the planks. Since the planks are glued with one another, the hardwood floor is less affected from contraction and expansion as it generally is with other methods of floor installation.
- Glue Down Installation: This is another very common method of hardwood floor installation over a concrete sub floor. This method can also be applicable for hardwood installation on plywood sub floor. But in this type of installation the sub floor should be completely even and flat or else popping may take place and the glued down planks can get loose from one another.
- Nail Down Installation: This method is used to install the thick and solid hardwood floors. Compared to the engineered hardwood floors, the solid hardwood floors are more prone towards shrinking and expanding due to change of climatic conditions. Thus for this type of material it is good to nail down the planks to place them properly.
While installing hardwood flooring in your house, you can choose from the different varieties of hardwood like planks, hardwood of parquet design and strip hardwood. If a home owner has decided to install hardwood floors then he can be assured that he is spending on the best kind of flooring products. Compared to other materials of flooring, the hardwood flooring has more longevity.
By: Floor Variety Inc.
Are you looking for ways to improve the look and the value of your home?
Hardwood floors have been considered the most popular home floors for many years.
Whether you are looking to resale your home or to just make your home a nicer place to live, wood flooring can help.
One of the ways to add value to your home without paying increased property taxes are:Hardwood floors.
With updated technology, installing a hardwood floor is no longer about thin strips of wood and lots of glue. Putting in a new hardwood floor will increase the value of your home and make it a more attractive property for potential buyers.
Ask yourself, what's the first thing you notice when walking into any home?
Don't you look down rather than up as you enter the home? We all want to watch that first step! Potential buyers see floor coverings before kitchen cabinets, interior walls, or the pool in the back. Carpeting does not impress potential buyers.
An upgrade from carpet to wood floors is a definite plus.
Hardwood flooring is a perfect choice for adding value to your home because it's durable and traditional.
Hardwood flooring is the one of the most popular design elements in residential design projects. The new styles and materials available offer homeowners the ability to completely redefine a room with just one element.
Home decorators and designers will be the first to tell you that hardwood flooring offers ageless elegance and style to any living area.
Wood floors make a house look newer and more expensively decorated. Wood floors add both quality and character to a home, making it feel luxurious and comfortable at the same time.
There are many outlets and online stores that provide wood flooring at discounted prices, so be sure to shop around for the best deal before you buy your flooring.
By: Floor Variety Inc.
Hardwood Floors - Hot Tips To Save You Money
There are many types of hardwood floorings available in the marketplace today. So how do you know which kind of floor will be the right one for you? And hardwood floors offer an incredible array of aesthetic options, too.
Although plush carpeting is an easy alternative to floor decorations, many home decorators are now setting a new trend with beautiful hardwood flooring. There are many reasons to go with hardwood, such as the permanent value they add to your home, the easy care and easy cleaning, great style and durability and they're natural and safe for the environment too.
The cost can vary depending on whether or not you can find discounts or can buy it wholesale. If you know a building contractor or hardwood floor contractor, they may be able to help you get a nice discount where they buy their materials even if you do it yourself. Installing wood flooring in your home should be considered a long-term investment that will hold its value, or even increase the resale value of your home, well surpassing the installation cost of the hardwood floors.
After all wood is wood, and what can be more ecologically clean than natural wood planks after very little chemical processing? For the healthy minded, there are much lower levels of chemical emissions from natural wood products. The cost of hardwood flooring depends on what type you choose.
Many retailers and manufacturers offer good discounts if you have a lot of square footage. If you're thinking about a do-it-yourself project and you're handy with tools, you can learn how to install hardwood flooring with a few of the proper tools like sanders, nailers, or nail guns, etc. which you can easily rent or borrow. Some of the most popular hardwood floor manufacturers include Max Windsor, Urban floors, br-111 and Ark floors.
When shopping for new wood flooring you want to check for special discounts or coupons from the many retailers and manufacturers both online and offline. Many people are now installing hardwood floors in their kitchen too and they can also be installed over concrete. Your new flooring may need a few refinishing, sanding and finish coats over the years. When you consider that carpets and vinyl floors will need to be replaced at least three or four times in that same time period, the long run costs of hardwood flooring seem very economical.
Besides the floor coverings that have been traditionally used in the past, there are now many new styles and materials of flooring to choose from that can definitely add to the style of any room. Hardwoods can give a room an expensive and high quality finish that's usually only connected to higher-end apartments and designer homes. But first of all you need to find a reputable hardwood floor company to help design and create the type of flooring that you want, unless you're experienced enough to forge ahead..
Most hardwood floors almost never need replacement and can add thousands of dollars to the value of any home. And hardwood flooring is the healthiest choice for interior living, especially if you have children in the home.
And with today's advanced wood flooring stains and finishes, cleaning your wood floors has never been easier. If you're looking for a great way to improve the look, the durability and the value of your home, hardwood floors are definitely the way to go. And wood is a wonderful natural resource that is both renewable and recyclable.
Author: Helen Hecker
Why choose hardwood flooring over other floors systems?
Hardwood flooring has a natural beauty that will give any room a very warm feeling. When building a new home, adding an addition or just taking up old carpeting that doesn't have a hardwood floor beneath, you should look at the wide variety of wood flooring available. Unlike carpet, 3/4" thick wood flooring can take wear and tear and last well over 100 years with minimum maintenance (see our maintenance FAQs). When the surface finish wears, or gets scratched over time, you can recoat or sand and refinish the floors to make them new again. The variety and colors of wood flooring available today, make it easy to find one that will compliment any design ideas you have. Hardwood flooring is also the only floor covering that will add resale value to your home.
Decisions abound when selecting just the right floor for the rooms in your home. There are several species, colors and grain variations to consider. After walls, the floor represents the largest expanse of pattern and color in a room. The floor should compliment the fabrics, furnishings and accessories of the space, and enhance the unique personality of the room as a whole. Darker colors are most often used in formal or traditional interiors, while lighter colors work best in country, casual and contemporary settings.
The natural characteristics of wood include the grain pattern, dark gray or black marks and knots of various sizes. They result from the unique growth process of each species and are influenced by sunlight, soil and climate. Minerals can appear in several forms including light gray streaks across board and black lines in the grain. Grain patterns and knots both within and between species.
Wood is a natural material and exhibits a wide range of diversity of grain. Additionally, each plank or strip will absorb stain differently. Darker stains usually have a greater impact on masking the natural variations of the wood. The lighter the stain, the more prominent the natural characteristics will be. A white stain (pickling) shows the most variation between boards.
Grades & Styles
Lumber is graded based upon the intensity of variations of the characteristics described above, with clear grade exhibiting the least number of natural characteristics beyond the distinct grain pattern of each species.
Woods styles come in strips, planks, or parquet tiles with numerous edge treatments such as square, micro, and beveled edges. You can choose from a wide range of stains to complement your décor and from several types of finish.
All tree species used for hardwood flooring are durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily life. However, this does not that mean wood will not dent. As a natural material, wood is made of thousands of cells. When the tree is alive, these cells are filled with water. When the tree is cut into lumber, the moisture in those cells is replaced with air. If a heavy object is dropped on the floor, the air filled spaces will compress, leaving a dent or gash. Heavy furniture and appliances, over time, will also compress and air filled cells of the wood.
Hardness is determined with the Janka rating system. This is the force it takes to drive a .444 inch steel ball to a depth where half the ball is imbedded into the wood. This is a relative hardness table for common hardwood floor materials. Do not take hardness to mean "best".
|Material Relative Hardness
|Southern Yellow Longleaf Pine
|Purple Heart 1860
True hardwood flooring materials can be divided into two main groups. "Solid" wood is milled from a single piece of wood. "Engineered" wood consists of three or more layers of various in a cross-ply arrangment. Solid wood is generally used when installing over a wood subfloor where the hardwood will be nailed to the subfloor. Engineered wood is generally used when installing in basements or over slab concrete.
In the past, fir flooring was more economical than and oak (select). This explains the frequency of fir flooring in the greater Seattle area. Now, due to the dwindling of old growth resources, the opposite is true. Currently Fir is more expensive and oak (select) is more economical than fir, and therefore, is the most popular species of wood flooring being installed. There are a number of new flooring materials available today, many of which, are comparable in price to oak (select). Others, including many of the exotics, are more expensive. As wood prices vary on a daily basis, check out some samples in our in- home free estimate, and then we can provide up-to-date pricing.
The type of subfloor present in your home will also affect your decision about the type of wood floor to be installed. Hardwood flooring systems can be installed on just about any hard surface, including: ceramic, vinyl, marble, concrete, plywood, wooden sub-floors and old hardwood floor. Different types of hardwood floors may be needed for different surfaces, so consult an expert at Floor Solution Service before deciding.
TREES ARE THE ANSWER
By Patrick Moore, Ph. D.
Why Using More Wood is the Answer to Saving Our Forests
I believe that trees are the answer to a lot of questions about our future. These include: How can we advance to a more sustainable economy based on renewable fuels and materials? How can we improve literacy and sanitation in developing countries while reversing deforestation and protecting wildlife at the same time? How can we pull carbon out of the atmosphere and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide in particular? How can we increase the amount of land that will support a greater diversity of species? How can we help prevent soil erosion and provide clean air and water? How can we make this world more beautiful and green? The answer is, by growing more trees and then using more wood, both as a substitute for non-renewable fossil fuels and materials such as steel, concrete and plastic, and as paper products for printing, packaging and sanitation. The forest industry stands accused of some very serious crimes against the environment. It is charged with the extinction of tens of thousands of species, the deforestation of vast areas of the Earth, and the total and irreversible destruction of the ecosystem. If I were one of the urban majority and thought the forest industry was causing the irreversible destruction of the environment, I wouldn’t care how many jobs it created or how many communities depended on it; I would be against it.
I have spent the last 15 years trying to understand the relationship between forestry and the environment, to separate fact from fiction, myth from reality. Since 1991, I have chaired the Sustainable Forestry Committee of the Forest Alliance of British Columbia. This has provided me with an ideal opportunity to explore all aspects of the subject. This article is the synthesis of what I have learned. But first, let me give you a little background.
I was born and raised in the tiny fishing and logging village of Winter Harbour on the northwest tip of Vancouver Island, in the rainforest by the Pacific. I eventually attended the University of British Columbia studying life sciences. It was when I discovered ecology that I realized that through science I could gain an insight into the mystery of the rainforest I had known as a child. I became a born-again ecologist, and in the late 1960s, was soon transformed into a radical environmental activist. I found myself in a church basement in Vancouver with a like-minded group of people, planning a protest campaign against U.S. hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We proved that a somewhat rag-tag looking group of activists could sail a leaky old halibut boat across the northern Pacific Ocean and change the course of history. By creating a focal point for opposition to the tests, we got on national TV news in Canada and the United States, building a ground swell of opposition to nuclear testing in both countries. When that bomb went off in November 1971, it was the last hydrogen bomb ever detonated on planet Earth. Even though there were four more tests planned in the series, President Nixon canceled them due to the public opposition. This was the birth of Greenpeace.
I spent 15 years on the front lines of the eco-movement as we evolved from that church basement into the world’s largest environmental activist organization, taking on French atmospheric nuclear testing in the South Pacific, Soviet factory whaling, baby seal slaughter, and the dumping of nuclear waste into the Atlantic Ocean. By the mid-1980s Greenpeace had grown into an organization with an income of more than $100 million per year, offices in 21 countries and more than 100 campaigns around the world, tackling toxic waste, acid rain, uranium mining and drift net fishing, as well as the original issues. We had won over a majority of the public in the industrialized democracies. Presidents and prime ministers were talking about the environment on a daily basis.
For me, it was time to make a change. I had been against at least three or four things every day of my life for 15 years; I decided I’d like to be in favor of something for a change. I made the transition from the politics of confrontation to the politics of building consensus.
All social movements evolve from an earlier period of polarization and confrontation during which a minority struggles to convince society that its cause it is true and just, eventually followed by a time of reconciliation if a majority of the population accepts the values of the new movement. For the environmental movement, this transition began to occur in the mid-1980s. The term sustainable development was adopted to describe the challenge of taking the new environmental values we had popularized and incorporating them into the traditional social and economic values. We cannot simply switch to basing all our actions on purely environmental values. Every day, 6 billion people wake up with real needs for food, energy and materials. The challenge for sustainability is to provide for those needs in ways that reduce the negative impact on the environment. Compromise and cooperation, with the involvement of government, industry, academia and the environmental movement, is required to achieve sustainability. It is this effort to find consensus that has occupied my time for the past 15 years
The Challenge of Sustainable Forestry
Coming from British Columbia, born into a third generation forest industry family, and educated in forestry and ecology, it made sense that I would focus on the challenge of defining sustainable forestry. After all, forests are by far the most important environment in British Columbia, and they are also by far the most important basis of economic wealth for families and communities there.
I soon discovered that trees are just large plants that have evolved the ability to grow long wooden stems. They didn’t do that so we could cut them up into lumber and grind them into pulp; they actually had only one purpose in mind, and that was to get their needles or leaves higher up above the other plants where the tree could then monopolize the sun’s energy for photosynthesis.
Forests are home to the majority of living species; not the oceans, nor the grasslands, nor the alpine areas, but ecosystems that are dominated by trees. There is a fairly simple reason for this. The living bodies of the trees create a new environment that would not be there in their absence. The canopy is home to millions of birds and insects, and beneath the canopy, the environment is protected from frost, sun and wind. This, in combination with the food provided by the trees, creates thousands of new habitats.
This gives rise to the obvious concern that if the trees are cut down, the habitats will be lost and the species that live in them will die. But, there is a reason why forestry seldom, if ever, causes species to become extinct. We tend to think that forests need our help to recover after destruction, whether by fire or logging. Of course, this is not the case. Forests have been recovering by themselves from fires, volcanoes, landslides, floods and ice ages ever since forests began more than 350 million years ago.
It follows from this that every species that lives in the forest must be capable of recolonizing areas of land that are recovering from destruction. In ecology, this is known as dispersal, the ability to move from where you are and to inhabit new territory as it becomes available. Dispersal is an absolute requirement for natural selection and the survival of species. No species could exist if it were not capable of dispersal. Therefore, so long as the land is left alone after the forest is destroyed, the forest will recover and all the species that were in it will return.
Fire has always been the main cause of forest destruction, , or disturbance, as ecologists like to call it. But fire is natural, we are told, and does not destroy the forest ecosystem like logging, which is unnatural. Nature never comes with logging trucks and takes the trees away. All kinds of rhetoric is used to give the impression that logging is somehow fundamentally different from other forms of forest disturbance. There is no truth to this. Forests are just as capable of recovering from destruction by logging as they are from any other form of disturbance. All that is necessary for renewal is that the disturbance ends, that the fire goes out, that the volcano stops erupting, that the ice retreats, or that the loggers go back down the road and allow the forest to begin growing back, which it will begin to do almost immediately.
The Eye of the Beholder
We all have been taught since we were children that you should not judge a book by its cover- in other words that beauty is only skin deep. Yet, we are still easily tricked into thinking that if we like what we see with our eyes, it must be good, and if we don’t like what we see with our eyes, it must be bad. We tend to link our visual impression with our moral judgment of what is right and wrong.
“Deforestation” is a difficult subject for the forest industry because an area certainly looks deforested when all the trees are cut down. But cutting the trees down is not sufficient in itself to cause deforestation. What really matters is whether the forest is removed permanently, or is reforested with new trees. But the unsightly nature of a recently harvested forest, even if it is going to grow back eventually, can easily give the impression of environmental destruction.
On the other hand, a rural scene of farmlands and pasture looks pleasant to the eye and is neat and tidy compared with the jumble of woody debris in a clearcut. Yet, it is the farm and pasture land that truly represents deforestation. It has been cleared of forest long ago, and the forest has been permanently replaced by food crops and fodder. More important, if we stopped plowing the farmland for just 5 years in a row, seeds from the surrounding trees would blow in and the whole area would be blanketed in new tree seedlings. Within 80 years you would never know there had been a farm there. The entire area would be reforested again, just by leaving it alone. That’s because deforestation is not an event that just happens and then is over forever. Deforestation is actually an ongoing process of human interference. That’s why deforestation is seldom caused by forestry, the whole intention of which is to cause reforestation. Deforestation is nearly always caused by friendly farmers growing our food and by our nice carpenters building our houses. Deforestation is not an evil plot, it is something we do on purpose in order to feed and house the 6-billion-and-growing human population.
How to Save the Forest
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against farming. We all have to eat. But it is interesting to note that the three things we can do to prevent further loss of the world’s forests have nothing to do with forestry. These three things are:
Population management. The more people there are in this world, the more forest we must clear to feed and house them. This is a simple fact of arithmetic.
Intensive agricultural production. Over the last 50 years in North America, due to advances in genetics, technology and pest control, we have learned to grow five times as much food on the same area of land. If we had not made these advances, we would either have to clear away five times as much forest, which is not available anyway or, more likely, we simply could not grow as much food.
Urban densification. There is actually only one significant cause of continuing forest loss in the United States: 200 cities sprawling out over the landscape and permanently converting forest and farm to pavement. If we would design our cities for a higher density, more livable environment, we would not only save forests, we also would use less energy and materials.
Wood is Good
You would think that since forestry is the most sustainable of all the primary industries, and that wood is without a doubt the most renewable material used to build and maintain our civilization, to build and maintain our civilization, that this would give wood a lot of green eco-points in the environmental movement’s ledger. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Greenpeace has gone before the United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Forests, calling on countries to reduce the amount of wood they use and to adopt “environmentally appropriate substitutes” instead. No list of substitutes is provided. The Sierra Club is calling for “zero cut” and an end to all commercial forestry on federal public lands in the United States. The Rainforest Action Network wants a 75 percent reduction in wood use in North America by the year 2015. I think it is fair to summarize this approach as “cut fewer trees, use less wood.” It is my firm belief, as a lifelong environmentalist and ecologist, that this is an anti-environmental policy. Putting aside, for a moment, the importance of forestry for our economy and communities; on purely environmental grounds the policy of “use less wood” is anti-environmental. In particular, it is logically inconsistent with, and diametrically opposed to, policies that would bring about positive results for both climate change and biodiversity conservation. I will explain my reasoning for this belief:
First, it is important to recognize that we do use a tremendous amount of wood. On a daily basis, on average, each of the 6 billion people on Earth uses 3.5 pounds or 1.6 kilos of wood every day, for a total of 3.5 billion tons per year. So, why don’t we just cut that in half and save vast areas of forest from harvesting? In order to demonstrate the superficial nature of this apparent logic, it is necessary to look at what we are doing with all this wood.
It comes as a surprise to many people that over half the wood used every year is not for building things but for burning as energy. More than 60 percent of all wood use is for energy, mainly for cooking and heating in the tropical developing countries where 2.5 billion people depend on wood as their primary source of energy. They cannot afford substitutes because most of them make less than $1,000 per year. But, even if they could afford substitute fuels, they would nearly always have to turn to coal, oil or natural gas; in other words, non-renewable fossil fuels. How are we going to stabilize carbon dioxide emissions from excessive use of fossil fuels under the Climate Change Convention if 2.5 billion people switch from a renewable wood energy to non-renewable fossil fuels? Even in cases where fuelwood supplies are not sustainable at present levels of consumption, the answer is not to use less wood and switch to non-renewables. The answer is to grow more trees.
About 20 percent of the wood used in the world is for building things such as houses and furniture. Every available substitute is non-renewable and requires a great deal more energy consumption to produce. That is because wood is produced in a factory called the forest by renewable solar energy. Wood is essentially the material embodiment of solar energy. Non-renewable building materials such as steel, cement and plastic must be produced in real factories such as steel mills, cement works and oil refineries. This usually requires large inputs of fossil fuels, which inevitably results in high carbon dioxide emissions. So, for 70 percent of the wood used each year for energy and building, switching to substitutes nearly always results in increased carbon dioxide emissions, contrary to climate change policy.
Twenty percent of the wood harvested is used to manufacture pulp and paper, mainly for printing, packaging, and sanitary purposes. Half of this wood is derived from the wastes from the sawmills that produce the solid wood products for building. Most of the remaining supply is from tree plantations, many of which are established on land that previously was cleared for agriculture. So, even if we did stop using wood to make pulp and paper, it would not have the effect of “saving” many forests.
Saving the Trees Through Wood Use
It is therefore clear to me that the policy of “use less wood” is anti-environmental because it would result in increased carbon dioxide emissions and a reduction in forested land. I believe the correct policy is a positive rather than a negative one. From an environmental perspective, the correct policy is “grow more trees, and use more wood.” This can be accomplished in a number of ways.
First, it is important to place some of the world’s forest into permanently protected parks and wilderness reserves where no industrial development occurs. The World Wildlife Fund recommends that 10 percent of the world’s forests should be set aside for this purpose. Perhaps it should even be 15 percent. Then the question becomes how we should manage the remaining 85-90 percent of the forest. I believe we should manage it more intensively for higher timber production, keeping in mind the needs of other species in the landscape. Through the better management of our existing forests, we could dramatically increase the world’s supply of wood. In addition, we should expand the geographic extent of our forests, largely by reforesting areas of land that previously were cleared for agriculture. In particular, huge areas of forest have been cleared for domestic animal production. A modest reduction in meat consumption would open up large areas of land for reforestation. This would be good for our health as well as for the health of the environment.
In tropical developing countries, there is a pressing need for sustainable fuelwood plantations, as well as for forest plantations to provide timber. We should direct more of our international aid programs toward this end. Relatively modest changes in fiscal and taxation policy could bring about a doubling of global wood supply within 40 years. All that is required is the political will to put these policies in place. The general public and our political leaders, however, have been confused by the misguided approach towards forestry taken by much of the environmental movement. So long as people think it is inherently wrong to cut down trees, we will continue to behave in a logically inconsistent and dysfunctional manner.
I believe that trees are the answer to many questions about our future on this earth. These include:
How can we advance to a more sustainable economy based on renewable fuels and materials?
How can we improve literacy and sanitation in developing countries while reversing deforestation and protecting wildlife?
How can we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, carbon dioxide in particular?
How can we increase the amount of land that will support a greater diversity of species?
How can we help prevent soil erosion and provide clean air and water? How can we make this world more beautiful and green?
The answer is, by growing more trees and using more wood both as a substitute for non-renewable fossil fuels and materials such as steel, concrete and plastic, and as paper products for printing, packaging and sanitation.
By far the most powerful tool at our disposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption is the growing of trees and the use of wood. Most environmentalists recognize the positive benefits of growing trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But, then they say, “Don’t cut them down, or you will undo the good that’s been done.” This would be true if you simply piled the trees in a heap and lit them on fire. If, however, the wood is used as a substitute for fossil fuels and for building materials that require fossil fuel consumption, we can dramatically reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions. For example, consider a large coal-burning power plant. If we grow trees and use the wood as a substitute for the coal, we are able to offset nearly 100 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the power plant. That is because sustainable use of wood results in a zero net release of carbon dioxide, whereas coal combustion counts for the full 100 percent. If environmentalists recognized this fact, it would inevitably lead them to believe that the answer is in growing more trees and using more wood rather than in reducing our use of this most renewable resource.
A Final Example
To conclude, let me take you back to the rainforest of the West Coast of North America. About 300 feet from my house in downtown Vancouver is Pacific Spirit Park, 2,000 acres of beautiful native forest, right in the heart of the city. It is not a botanical garden where people come and prune the bushes and plant tulip bulbs, it is the real thing, a wild West Coast rainforest full of Douglas fir, western red cedar, hemlock, maple, alder and cherry. But people who come by the hundreds each day to walk on the many trails in Pacific Spirit Park would find it hard to believe that all 2,000 acres were completely clearcut logged around the turn of the century to feed the sawmills that helped build Vancouver.
The loggers who clearcut Pacific Spirit Park with double-bitted axes and crosscut saws didn’t know the words ecology or biodiversity any more than my grandfather did on the north end of Vancouver Island. They just cut the timber and moved on to cut more somewhere else. Nothing was done to help restore the land, but it was left alone. It became part of the University of British Columbia Endowment Lands, and it was not developed into housing like the rest of Vancouver. It all grew back into a beautiful new forest and in 1989 was declared a regional park.
In Pacific Spirit Park, there are Douglas firs more than 4 feet in diameter and more than 120 feet tall. All of the beauty has returned to Pacific Spirit Park. The fertility has returned to the soil. And the biodiversity has recovered- the mosses, ferns, fungi, liverworts, and all the other small things that are part of a natural forest. There are pileated woodpeckers, barred owls, ravens, hawks, eagles, coyotes and a colony of great blue herons nesting in the second-growth cedar trees. It is a forest reborn from what is routinely described in the media as the “total and irreversible destruction of the environment.” I don’t buy that. I believe that if forests can recover by themselves from total and complete destruction, we can-with our growing knowledge of forest science in silviculture, biodiversity conservation, soils and genetics- ensure that the forests of this world continue to provide an abundant, and hopefully growing, supply of renewable wood to help build and maintain our civilization, while at the same time providing an abundant, and hopefully growing supply of habitat for the thousands of other species that depend on the forest for their survival every day. The fact is, a world without forests is as unthinkable as a day without wood. And it’s time that politicians, environmentalists, foresters, teachers, journalists and the general public got that balance right. We must get it right if we are going to achieve sustainability in the 21st century.
*Patrick Moore, Ph.D., is chairman of Greenspirit, an environmental consulting firm based in Vancouver, B.C. This article was adapted from Moore’s general session address at the 2004 NWFA Convention in Charlotte, N.C., last April. For more information, visit www.greenspirit.com
GENERAL WOOD FLOORING INFORMATION
Wood flooring is beautiful, timeless and natural. When buying a floor from Floor Variety, you can rest assured that your floor was processed in an environmentally conscientious and efficient manner. NMH performs the entire process from the forest to your home (harvesting, milling, kiln drying, flooring manufacturing), ensuring you the best Quality control
FACTS ABOUT YOUR FLOOR SOLUTION HARDWOODS FLOORING
Wood flooring is very sensitive to its environment, expanding or contracting according to the relative humidity of the room it is in. Narrow width floors show the least amount of movement, whereas wider width flooring will show the most movement. In order to keep your wood floor as stable as possible, the relative humidity of the house should ideally stay at 50%. If the relative humidity drops below 50%, the floor will shrink, causing cracks between each board in the floor. This is not a milling defect, but rather the result of low relative humidity. Over a period of time the wood floor will correct itself and expand to fit together tightly again if the relative humidity returns to and stays constant at 50%.
Cupping, or "washboard," is another problem that can occur from unregulated humidity. The cause of this is moisture imbalance throughout the thickness of the wood. Cupping occurs only if the moisture is greater underneath the flooring than on top. To correct cupping, find the source of the moisture and eliminate it. Given time, the floor should correct itself once the relative humidity is stabilized. If the damage done was extensive, the floor might need to be re-sanded and refinished after the relative humidity is stabilized. Expansion, or buckling, is also a result of high humidity and may cause the flooring to push tight against vertical surfaces. To relieve, allow up to 3/4" expansion space along walls.
To get the best wear out of your flooring finish, sweep and vacuum the floor regularly. Do not use strong soaps when mopping. Other preventative measures to keep from excessive wear is to put felt pads on the bottom of all furniture and make sure dog toenails are clipped. Vacuum all area rugs and the floor space underneath the rugs frequently.
All woods will darken during the six to twelve months after installation. Flooring under area rugs and furniture will not change at the same rate as the exposed flooring as long as it is covered. Moving rugs and furniture will correct any variations. All wood dents. High heels, dropped heavy objects, pointed furniture legs and the unprotected rolling of appliances can dent or gouge your floor.
SUGGESTIONS FOR INSTALLATION
1. Flooring should be installed on grade or above. Do not install below grade.
2. To avoid damage, make sure the floor is installed after all other construction is completed.
3. Before installation, check the moisture content of the sub-floor. The moisture of the sub-floor should be within 2% of the moisture content of the flooring to be installed.
4. A moisture barrier should be applied between concrete and the sub-floor.
5. Make sure the sub-floor is clean, flat and dry. Sand all areas that are not smooth and nail any loose boards. It is recommended that flooring acclimate to the environment of where it will be installed for approximately two weeks prior to installation.
CARPET AS ONE OF THE MOST ALLERGY CAUSE
Most carpet looks clean especially after a quick vacuum but have you ever stopped to consider what is really lurking deep down in those fibers? Hold on tight because what you are about to discover might change the way you view your carpet forever.
Sand and Dirt. Every mother knows how hard it is to keep the pets and children from tracking in sand or dirt so it probably comes as no surprise to learn the average carpet can weigh up to 10x’s its original weight due to the accumulation of sand and dirt. Vacuuming only removes the surface layer but once sand and dirt makes its way deep into the fibers of the carpet it is trapped.
Dust Mites and Dander. People and pets shed skin that contains dust mites, dander and other organic material. In fact, the average human sheds over a pound of skin each and every year. Multiply that by the number of people in your home and the age of the carpet to estimate how many (literal) pounds of flesh you have residing in your carpet.
Pollen, Spores & More. Dust, pollen, mold and mildew spores and much more all circulate throughout your home and air vents on a regular basis. Even if you keep windows closed these small spores and pollen are carried in on pets and people. Use of a HEPA filter helps reduce air born particles but once they are trapped deep into the fiber of the carpet they can be hard to remove.
Bacteria. Spills and stains often include food, drinks, pet stains like urine or other unsanitary problems that cause the growth of bacteria. Odors are a sure sign of bacteria but even if the area doesn’t show a stain bacteria can still grow.
Toxic Chemicals. From pesticides to the manufacturing process itself, many carpets contain a wide variety of toxic compounds that can irritate eyes, cause allergies and increase Asthma among sensitive individuals. Many carpet cleaning services actually worsen the problem by using toxic cleaning solutions rather than environmentally friendly products. These toxic chemicals linger in the carpet for years and contribute to breathing problems, allergies, headaches and other health issues.
By: Elizabeth Kk
Along with choices in style you may wish to consider in bamboo flooring, there is also the question of color. Bamboo flooring is available in two color categories – natural and carbonized. The color is determined at the boiling process. Natural bamboo appears in a creamy blond color that is known to add a touch of brightness to an interior. Carbonized bamboo is characterized by its smoky, caramel hue which is the result of a longer boiling process which causes the remaining starches in the bamboo to caramelize. It should be noted that by the end of the respective boiling processes, the natural remains to be the slightly harder bamboo flooring. The carbonization process which defines carbonized bamboo reduces the bamboo’s hardness by about 30%. It must also be noted that even though this is true, both colors of bamboo flooring can still be classified as being as hard as some hardwood species.
The difference between the two categories of bamboo flooring colors exists on a spectrum. Within the natural and carbonized subsets, there are further shade variances that might make one batch of bamboo lighter or darker than another. When seeking to color match your bamboo flooring, talk with your sales rep about how variance is managed. Distributors often arrange batches of bamboo according to color in this respect, depending on the grade of bamboo flooring. However, some people like to have such variance available to them as an option for their design sensibilities. It really depends on the effect you want to achieve with your bamboo flooring. Once again, your sales rep is a good resource for you to address the issue of color variance.
Strand-Woven Bamboo Flooring
In the continuing spirit of“green” flooring option for which bamboo has come to be associated, strand-woven bamboo flooring is the product of a process that leaves very little waste. The excess material left over from the filleting process which goes into making natural and carbonized bamboo flooring are intertwined, compressed, and bound. The binding agent is a safe, UV resistant and scratch-resistant resin which also makes the bamboo even more resistant to moisture. The process of compression results in a very hard, very durable type of bamboo flooring typified by grain patterns that are more like those of a hardwood floor. The strand-woven bamboo is then cut into planks and is ready to be shipped – no further compression is needed in this case, unlike regularly manufactured bamboo flooring.
Bamboo flooring can in turn renew any interior for attractiveness as well as practicality. As such, you will gain both the time it would take to maintain many other types of flooring, as well as the many compliments you’ll receive from visitors!
by: Rob Jones
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