Is Engineered Wood Flooring Good for the Environment?

More than ever we are striving to make eco-friendly choices in our daily lives and lower our carbon footprints. While it’s easy to switch out meat for plant-based alternatives and use less energy in our homes, there are other things we can be doing to help protect the environment. 
One of the key areas that people overlook when considering their carbon footprint is the materials used in their homes. If you’re planning on giving your property a makeover, you’ll have almost certainly considered replacing the existing flooring. While it’s common knowledge that vinyl flooring and carpets aren’t very sustainable, many people don’t realise that hardwood flooring is particularly bad for the environment. Poor harvesting practices and forestry management are wreaking havoc on ecosystems, while inefficient manufacturing processes can result in considerable waste. Thankfully, engineered wood flooring is on hand as an eco-friendly alternative. We at Wood Flooring Ireland can help you pick yours. 

Why is Engineered Wood a Better Choice Than Hardwood Flooring?

When it comes to flooring materials, hardwood is an enduringly popular choice. It’s easy to see why. The natural grain and rich hues of hardwoods like oak and cherry add plenty of character to an interior. If properly cared for, hardwood flooring can also last for a long time. However, despite being a natural material, hardwood isn’t particularly sustainable. To produce hardwood flooring, large swathes of forest are regularly cut down. If these harvests aren’t replenished with new trees, the cost to the environment can be devastating. 
Engineered wood flooring offers a far more sustainable alternative to conventional hardwoods. The overall appearance of engineered wood flooring is incredibly like classic hardwood flooring. However, the two products are markedly different under the surface. Unlike hardwood flooring, engineered flooring is a composite material. The unseen inner structure of engineered flooring usually consists of robust plywood, which is bonded to a premium hardwood veneer. This unique structure makes engineered wood flooring an incredibly durable option, as well as an eco-friendly one.

Common Varieties of Engineered Wooden Floors

If you’re in the market for engineered wooden floors, you have several options to consider. If you’re looking to resurface a utility room, kitchen, or bathroom, long plank wood flooring might be a perfect choice. Engineered plank flooring products are readily available, with a wide variety of hardwood veneers to choose from. This makes it simple to find a suitable aesthetic for your interiors. What’s more, plank flooring is a more flexible option when it comes to installation, making it ideal for more awkward layouts. 
Sometimes, a more striking choice of flooring is required. If you’re eager to add some character to your home, chevron flooring is a good choice. Chevron flooring planks are instantly recognisable thanks to their 45-degree angle cuts, creating a surface of signature V-shaped patterns when fitted. 
If you’re looking for a more classic aesthetic, Versailles panels might be worth considering. A real French favourite, these panels give the impression of interwoven strips of wood. Versailles panels are worth thinking about if you’re looking to add some rustic charm to your interiors or want to inject a sense of luxury into specific rooms. 
Finally, there’s herringbone wood flooring. Somewhat like chevron flooring, herringbone planks are cut at a 90-degree angle. Because of their pronounced angle, herringbone planks produce a zigzag pattern once installed, rather than the V-shaped design of chevron flooring. If you’re keen to add some character to a particular room, herringbone flooring is the way to go. 

The Eco-Friendly Credentials of Engineered Wood Flooring

If you’re planning a home makeover, choosing engineered wood over traditional hardwood is a good first step in reducing your carbon footprint. The key reason why engineered wood flooring is so good for the environment is that it utilises far more responsible harvest practices. Conventional hardwood flooring is almost exclusively made from trees that take a considerable time to grow and mature. Harvesting mature trees not only devastates ecosystems but also prevents these environments from naturally capturing and storing carbon. 
Because engineered flooring only requires hardwood to produce veneer layers, far fewer trees need to be harvested. Furthermore, younger trees are more than adequate to produce these veneers, protecting more ancient forest growth. Many engineered wood flooring manufacturers are also committed to responsible harvesting and forestry practices.

Green Manufacturing Methods

The actual production of engineered wood flooring is also remarkably environmentally friendly. To produce veneer sheets, wood is meticulously sliced, rather than sawn. This ensures minimal pollutants escape into the environment, while also cutting down on production waste. Adhesives used to bond veneers to plywood cores also tend to be low in toxins.

A Durable Option

Many people are drawn to hardwood flooring because of its durability. While it’s certainly true that a properly maintained hardwood floor can last for decades, it’s not impervious to damage. Moisture is one of the biggest risk factors facing hardwood flooring. Moisture intrusion can quickly ruin its appearance. If the damage is particularly significant, you may need to replace a plank entirely, as well those surrounding the affected one. 
By contrast, engineered wood flooring is incredibly durable. In many cases, engineered flooring can withstand regular exposure to moisture. This is particularly reassuring if you’re wondering how to clean engineered wood flooring. As long as flooring materials have been properly fitted, you can carry out regular cleaning without worrying you’re causing damage to your flooring. 
A well-engineered wood floor will hold up well for many years, but you may eventually need to consider replacing individual panels or planks. However, these are readily available and inexpensive, making it easy to source an eco-friendly replacement should the need arise.

Engineered Flooring Can Reduce Energy Costs

Another big benefit of engineered wood flooring is that it can help you slash your energy usage. Engineered flooring is incredibly efficient when it comes to circulating heat. Thanks to their plywood cores, engineered flooring planks are first-rate heat conductors. This means you’ll be wasting less energy when heating your home and enjoying significant savings on your fuel bills.  

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering resurfacing your interiors and want to minimise your carbon footprint, engineered wood flooring is the way to go. Many engineered wood flooring producers adhere to responsible forestry management practices and green production methods. Furthermore, engineered wood flooring is incredibly robust, with durability that’s comparable to hardwood alternatives. Thanks to its plywood core and composite design, engineered wood flooring is one of the most durable flooring materials on the market. It also holds up well against moisture, making it far easier to clean and maintain. Because it’s an excellent conductor of heat, engineered wood flooring can also help you slash your energy bills, making it an even more eco-friendly choice. 
Because engineered wood flooring products are made with a thin hardwood veneer, you also don’t have to compromise when it comes to style. You can still enjoy the natural warmth and grain accents of genuine wood, with the knowledge that your flooring has been produced with only a fraction of the environmental impact of hardwood flooring.

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