High resolution of a perfect herringbone wooden parquet - Texture and background top view

If you are researching flooring for your new home or looking to update a room or multiple rooms, investing in sustainable flooring is something you can feel good about. This allows consumers to make an environmentally responsible choice that also brings some stunning looks to a home.

Know Your Sustainable From Unsustainable Woods

Over the past decade, the number of eco-friendly wood choices has grown exponentially in the consumer marketplace. When asked to choose a sustainable wood in the recent past, many people could name bamboo and not much beyond that. The arena for choices is large and continues to grow as methods for growing, processing, and harvesting continue to improve.  

  • Pine is a softwood that is fast growing, and this means that after harvesting, the forests can get replenished more quickly. It is an excellent choice for both durable construction and furniture. When choosing a sustainable wood, if you are not sure, look for an FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certification. This ensures the wood was grown responsibly and harvested in a socially beneficial way using eco-friendly methods.
  • Oak is a hardwood with light hues that lend well for uses ranging from flooring to furniture. It takes longer to grow than pine, but most oak sold in the consumer marketplace comes from sustainable commercial forests. 
  • White Ash is grown throughout the eastern United States and is a very hardy, durable wood that is a popular choice for furniture. 
  • Maple, another common North American tree, gets used for flooring and stairs as well as furniture. 
  • Mahogany, another richly hued wood that is popular for use in furniture-making, should come from FSC-certified growers. Most often it gets imported from South and Central America, with Asia and Africa also being strong producers. Non-FSC grown mahogany should be avoided. 
  • Black Cherry is grown throughout North America and is a popular choice for doors, cabinets, furnishings and also gets used in the production of veneer. 
  • Douglas Fir is a wood that is growing in popularity for use in flooring due to both its strength and the availability of wide planks. 

One of the most well-known sustainable woods is Bamboo. Technically, it is not a wood but a member of the grass family, and it grows rapidly making it quick to replenish after harvesting. If left unharvested, bamboo can easily attain 50-feet in just 18 months. 

Woods to avoid include teak, unless sources through ecologically responsible sources and merbau, which was once commonly used in flooring but current estimates are that this wood will be extinct within 35 years if it keeps getting used at the same rate. 

Ideas for incorporating a new wood flooring including matching your flooring to your existing window or door frames for a seamless transition around your room. Dark woods can create an impact and highlight furnishings, while light-hued wood floorboards can make small spaces seem larger.

The choices among eco-friendly, sustainable woods continue to grow. If you are choosing flooring or furniture, there are a large array of selections you can make that are durable, cost effective and you can feel good about including in your home decor.