The disappearing hardwood floor
Call it another victim of globalization.
Our desire for ever-cheaper products has made the traditional heritage hardwood floor an endangered species.
When China came knocking a decade ago with its cheap labour, the big flooring factories slowly began outsourcing in order to stay competitive in the Big Box arena.
Traditional hardwood flooring suffered, as the Chinese versions arrived twisted, warped and cupped due to massive differences in humidity between China and North America.
Much of these first arrival floors were not sell-able and ended up in auctions, throwing the reputation of solid wood floors “under the bus.”
The offshore solution was to engineer hardwood floors with adhesives, a plywood backer and a thin wood top sheet.
This has been widely adopted as the ‚new wood flooring.
For those who want the real thing, though, solid three-quarter inch flooring with no glues can still be found – you just need to know where to look.
Traditionally, solid wood floors came from trees that were milled locally into lumber, then dried and processed into flooring that was also warehoused locally.
The distance between forest and consumer used to be short and the wood was fresh, dry and quickly acclimatized to the consumer’s own home.
Real hardwood flooring is still made that same way, and it still supports local forestry, local jobs and local programs through taxes.
Solid wood flooring is timeless in beauty, has a low carbon footprint and is 100 per cent natural.
Yes, it’s more expensive than engineered flooring from China, but that cost is not prohibitive when you prorate it over the lifespan of the floor and consider the myriad of social and environmental benefits.
The Comox Valley is home to a dedicated group of woodworkers ready to build your dream floor “just like the pioneers did” – and it will be worth every penny!
So the next time you’re thinking of putting in some real wood floors . . . think local!
Steve Roscoe is the owner of Woodland Flooring: handcrafted flooring sustainably harvested from B.C. woods. He can be reached at 250-890-0402 or www.woodlandflooring.com