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Kitchen Renovation Part 5: Standing on Principle
There are a myriad of decisions to be made when renovating a kitchen. Making it green adds a layer of angst and the realization that almost every product choice involves compromise.
Some of the decisions were easy, others more tortured. The cabinets, as reported last time, were simple. So were the floors. I knew I wanted a light wood to contrast with my dark cabinets, and of course it had to be from a certified source, preferably from within 500-miles from my Washington, D.C. home. I researched recycled, reclaimed, and salvaged wood. None fit my aesthetic criteria and I ended up choosing a harvested product from EcoTimber because...
- I wanted an engineered wood floor, which is made of multiple layers: a wear layer (maple in my case) and a substrate, an efficient use of resources using high quality and more precious wood only where it counts.
- It could be installed (floated) directly over my old tile floor, which saves money, mess, and landfill waste. No glue or nails are used in a floating installation; rather there's an impermeable moisture barrier (plastic sheeting) between the subfloor and the flooring that allows the planks to expand and contract in response to humidity changes and move together as a unit toward or away from the walls.
- It's made with a non-formaldehyde glue unlike many engineered floors. The EcoTimber Floating Floor Pad emits no formaldehyde and has a minimum 92 percent post-industrial recycled content.
- It carries the FSC Pure label, which means that all of the wood in the product comes from FSC-certified forests or plantations--about as good as it gets--and very important to me.
Plus, I really like this company. All of its floors are FSC-certified and it's working toward FSC Pure for the entire line. Be sure to read their Eco Friendly Flooring Guide, an incredibly thorough and easy to understand overview of the issues.
My only compromise-the product comes from outside that 500-mile radius, but I wasn't able to locate any sources with such sound principles and ecological commitment closer to home. In the end, a very good choice.