Recycling Creates Eco-Chic Hardwood Flooring

Posted July 1st, 2010 by ipemadeira
 
 
 

 

 

 

Architects and interior designers are constantly searching for green and innovative products for their discriminating clients but are having a hard time sourcing high end eco-friendly flooring. Many homeowners still want the look and feel of a hardwood floor with the peace of mind that rests in using environmentally friendly products. This demand can be met with a new flooring line called Staybull Flooring.

Staybull Flooring utilizes remnants from the manufacturing of solid hardwood floors in other words Staybull recycles the wood that would normally be waste and creates a unique product from manufacturing to installation unlike any hardwood flooring out there. This creates a more stable and strong product as well due to the smaller pieces rather than wide solid pieces that can buckle and warp. The concept is genius and utilizes non toxic earth friendly glue so it eliminates out gassing in the finished product. The reclaimed strips are solid and run anywhere from 2″ and up which would normally be burnt or ground into sawdust (utilizing needless electricity) and dumped into a landfill. The pre finish 7 coat aluminum oxide finish is environmentally friendly as well. The look is different for each floor and the strength is better than any solid flooring.

What does recycled flooring mean and why is it important? Wikipedia definition is: Recycling involves processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gase emissions as compared to virgin production. It is important for all the above reasons as well as for the future of our earth and children. If we continue to consume without regards to the damages we create than we won’t have the natural resources we and our families enjoy today in the future. We must also teach and practice our responsibilities with our children so that we can all work together to increase the longevity of our earth.

Decks Built to Last

Posted December 18th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

Decking is one of the most popular home improvements in the U.S. Many homes will at some point have a deck and this will increase the value of the home at time of sales. This type of home improvement adds living space and value. Many of us like to have a getaway. Somewhere to relax, take the edge off and maybe cool down. The outdoors is a great place to do just that and there are many ways to utilize a deck. Outdoor kitchens are growing popular, gardening exotic and otherwise, fire pits with seating, even around the pool area for sunbathing. Anyone investing in a deck will want one built to last and this requires an extensive examination of what deck boards to use.

Let’s look at what is involved. Once a design and space has been allotted you will want to examine types of materials available which will include availability, pricing, longevity, timeframe, strength, aesthetics, durability and maintenance. You also want to buy from a reputable distributor preferably an established company. If you are not installing yourself than you will need to find a reputable and insured installer. Check with your local county on required permits and any restrictions.

The many products available for decking can be broken down to basically three. Pressure treated pine decking, composite or PVC decking and exotic hardwood decking. If you have begun researching, you have come up with an extensive amount of information base for all the above. Let’s take a look at them individually.

Pressure treated deck boards will be the least expensive with easiest install. This wood is chemically treated for longevity and resistance to insects and mold. The longevity of this wood will greatly depend on the location as it will weather better in temperate weather. Splitting, splintering and deterioration can begin in as early as 2 years but with proper sealing can be 5-10 years. Regular sealing and cleaning is required.

Composite deck boards will be mid to high priced depending on company, color and size. This deck board can not be used for frame support. Heavily marketed, this product has become one of the fastest growing deck materials in the U.S. The many different companies that manufacture this product will have different colors and composition mixes. Problems associated can range from very hot surface to touch in hot climates, mold and fungus growth, flaking and deterioration in under one year time, staining and warping, warranty does not cover labor. It is difficult to gauge the actual lifetime as the products are relatively new in the market and some have been redesigned several times due to failure. The main selling points for this product, is no maintenance and consistency in color. Companies are now stating you must keep surfaces clean and some require sealing. There are now sealers specifically for composite decks. One company warranty that I found specifically stated you should clean and dry deck with clean cloth.

Exotic hardwood deck boards will be priced mid to high depending on the species and size. This group of hardwoods can include ipe, tigerwood, garapa, and cumaru to name a few. The positive aspects of this group are naturally resistant to insects, mold, mildew and rot, strength of ipe is over 3600 on janka rating 5x’s strength of California redwood, completely biodegradable and renewable, and lifespan can be up to 40 years without sealer (specifically Ipe decking). FSC certified material is now available for LEED points and for discriminating clients who want a paper trail to the responsibly harvested forest their wood came from. Purchasing from a reputable importer is paramount. This also insures responsible forest purchases.

Build a Green Deck Use Ipe

Posted December 18th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

What does “build green” mean? It is different for many people. There is no specific standardized term but I feel it embodies several different things. For one, is the product renewable? Does it come from a biodegradable or recyclable source? How much energy is needed to make the product and transport it to its final destination? What happens to it once it is worn out or broken? After reviewing those specific questions I have come to the conclusion that if you’re looking for a sustainable wood product for your home, the tropical hardwood Ipe is the best material for your outdoor decking and indoor flooring needs.

First this hardwood is renewable. There are many managed forests available and the number of forests obtaining the prestigious FSC certification is growing rapidly. The USGBC uses only FSC certified wood for their LEED program due to the stringent requirements to become certified as a forest and as a manufacturer and distributor. The Lacey Act is put in place by the Department of Interior, Commerce & Agriculture to ensure that only legal wood and confirmed suppliers are allowed entrance into the US. Logging may not sound desirable but compared to drilling oil or mixing toxic byproducts for man made decking, it is a much more attractive source. Forests are no longer allowed to clear cut their trees and have stricter rules for maintaining constant flow of fruit bearing trees.

Second, Ipe is a totally biodegradable product. It can be recycled and used for other sources or broken down completely back to the earth. This species of wood requires no treatments or chemicals as it is naturally rot, mold, fungus and insect resistant. Other artificial products are not so environmentally friendly. Both PVC decking and composite decks will eventually be transported to a landfill where it will contribute to the problem of ever-growing landfills. Many composite decks boast that they are made of recycled plastics but what they don’t tell you is that the decking will have ¼ the lifespan if that of Ipe. This coupled with the fact that most composite decks cannot be recycled because the wood fibers and plastics cannot be separated.

Third, the amount of energy needed to make the product and transport it is substantially less for natural wood than any man made product. If you consider the fact that wood does not require fossil fuel extraction and consumption then it’s easy to see why the difference is substantial. Fossil fuels, as we all know, have only increased in production and environmental costs over time. Contaminants in the air, water and land due to fossil fuel consumption will only increase with demand.

It seems we are always looking for new and alternative resources for improving what nature has provided for but it always comes down to the fact that we can’t improve on it. Natural wood flooring has been and will always be the best material for its purpose. There is no duplicating it and it is truly as green as it gets. If we all participate in buying from suppliers who use responsible forests than we contribute to a sustainable environment and reduce the use of fossil fuels that we have become so dependent on.

 

PVC Decking- Poisonous Volatile Compounds

Posted October 5th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

PVC decking has been growing in popularity as companies are heavily marketing the perks but is it worth the gamble? Polyvinyl chloride commonly referred to as PVC is a manufactured plastic with toxic byproducts. Dioxin (potent carcinogen), ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride are made in the production of PVC and causes health problems. Neurological damage, birth defects, impaired child development, endocrine disruption, endometriosis, immune system damage, reproductive damage and cancer are some of those problems.

PVC was labeled a contaminant in 1998 and efforts to recycle it were declared a failure by the Association of Post Consumer Plastics Recyclers. Did you know that PVC when exposed to fires release toxins long after it ignites and in landfills may be the largest source of dioxin releases in this environment. The dioxin is a persistent toxin that does not break down rapidly and migrates in the air via wind and in the water transporting itself in the fatty tissues of sea life. It has been discovered in dangerous concentrations in the tissues of whales, polar bears,fish and Inuit mother’s breast milk. The lethal additives such as lead, cadmium and organotins used in PVC used to keep it from breaking down is known to cause cancer, lead poisoning and asthma.

At what cost are we willing to compromise our lifestyle? Are we willing to expose our children and friends to this material because we want supposedly less maintenance? All decking will require maintenance at some point and compromising your future well being and that of your planet is just not worth it. This material has long lasting damaging effects on human as well as other species not to mention the environment. We scream and yell about the dangers of mold and fungus in our drywalls and about the effects of pollutants in our waters but how about how PVC is taking over the construction of our homes.

Construction materials are 75% of what PVC is produced for, ranging from electrical wire insulation to shades and blinds to vinyl flooring to gutters. The true cost of this product has not been publicized until now. Fortunately, there is a wide range of alternatives that are cost effective and without the toxic effects of PVC.

Decking is made to be enjoyed and add value to your home. Please do not expose your family and outside environment to this toxic alternative. If you are looking for a low maintenance, chemical free and long lasting deck with a fire rating same as concrete than you have found it in Ipe.

Ipe decking has long been used in commercial and residential applications for a beautiful natural and durable deck. FSC certified Ipe is also available for the most discriminating client or LEED points projects and guarantees responsible forest practices. No other product can stand up to Ipe’s strength (janka rating 3680), insect & mold/fungus resistance (no chemicals) and this product is totally renewable, recyclable and bio-degradable! If you are looking for low maintenance, than you have found your answer in this product.

Ipe the Proven Leader in Decking

Posted September 24th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people have never heard of ipe decking let alone have any idea why they would want to look at it. This hardwood is very recently being used more by residential users as commercial applications have been utilized for years. Little was known as milling was difficult and transport expensive. Now with technological advancement in equipment and more transportation venues the costs are competitive with the composite industry and sometimes less. Decking is an investment and does increase the value of your home. For that reason alone you want to find out why Ipe is the proven leader for all your outdoor decking needs. Now let find out a little more about what it is.

Ipe is an exotic hardwood originating mainly from South America but also from Central America and Caribbean. This decking is so dense that no chemicals are needed to repel insects and it also is mold and fungus resistant. The janka hardness is over 3600 compared to California redwood at 420, 8 times the strength. Ipe has the same fire rating as concrete and steel for flame spread. Naturally slip resistant, this deck has a life span of over 40 years without UV inhibitor. With UV inhibitor, the life span of Ipe is over 100 years so no need to replace in your lifetime and your kids can enjoy it through their adult years as well.

There are questions in reference to the environment and concerns over the future of the forests. There are companies such as Advantage Trim & Lumber that only purchase from reputable companies that practice responsible forestry. FSC certified lumber is also available for the more discriminating clients, architects and designers. This allows you to have a paper trail from the actual forest where it was cut to the final destination from where you purchased. Responsible forestry includes cutting down only older trees that no longer bear fruit and replacing with two or more young trees that have the space and time to grow. Selective areas are chosen and land is retained for forestry rather than burnt down for agricultural cash cropping or cattle grazing. This is what will help us save our future forests and prevent the land being used for other sources.

Now let’s take a quick look at the competitive products. Pressured treated decking has been the most popular and least expensive but in the long run has to be replaced in as little as 5-10 years depending on how often it is sealed and the out gassing of chemicals is a detriment to your health and environment. Composite decking has a terrible history of warping, molding, staining, flaking, and de-laminating. Warranties have not been honored in the past and now are being written with verbiage to exclude labor to reinstall. Lawsuits are mounting and new products are yet to be tested.

I hope this has answered your basic questions about why Ipe is a proven deck leader. This product was chosen on such commercial applications as Miami boardwalk and Atlantic City Boardwalk for good reason. Do it once and do it right the first time as the saying goes. No one wants to pay to rip out and re-install a deck but rather enjoy their time with family and friends on their new outdoor oasis.

 

FSC Changing the Lumber Industry

Posted September 10th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

The Forest Stewardship Council is the only certification system that can obtain the certified wood credit for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED projects. In 2013, green commercial and industrial new construction projects will jump to 25% and 20% for green residential new construction from 2% in 2005.

There are 10 principles of forest management that FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) utilizes as its threshold of what they constitute as responsible forestry worldwide. We will take a look at them as stated on their website http:www.fsc.org.com

    1. Compliance with laws – Abide by all laws and treaties.

 

    1. Tenure use rights and responsibilities – long term land tenure and use rights that are clearly defined and uncontested.

 

    1. Indigenous peoples’ rights-respect and recognize human rights especially of the indigenous people.

 

    1. Community relations and workers’ rights- Increase well being of forest laborers and local communities including respect of worker’s rights.

 

    1. Benefits from the forest- share in the use and benefits of the forest.

 

    1. Environmental Impact- reduces the impact of logging and maintain integrity of forest and its functions.

 

    1. Management plan- continuous management and improvements as updated.

 

    1. Monitoring and assessment- of forest to evaluate the condition of the forest, management activities and the impacts both environmentally and socially.

 

    1. Maintenance of high conservation value forests- of critical and great significant importance to the preservation of those forests.

 

    1. Plantations- must help reduce pressures on restoration and conservation of natural forests in addition to promoting their well being.

 

In addition to the above principles there are 56 criteria that must also be met and this is subject to continuous evaluation and improvement. It is this rigorous process that has helped green building projects directly reward forest companies for managing their forests to such high standards. When we utilize this type of purchase on our projects we are investing in the future of our forests and a more responsible way of living.

 

Ipe & FSC the Perfect Match

Posted September 10th, 2009 by ipemadeira

The Forest Stewardship Council was founded in 1993 due to concerns over global deforestation.FSC is a certification system that provides internationally recognized standard-setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services to companies, organizations, and communities interested in responsible forestry. How FSC does this is by putting value behind the product. Marketing the improved social and environmental standards in those select forests through certification, labeling and international recognition, FSC is able to promote responsible forest practices and give consumers something to be pride to purchase. FSC is recognized as the most credible organization in forest management.
The requirements for certification with this prestigious organization is stringent. Your organization must be committed financially as well as make the required changes to affected areas and apply processes to comply with the FSC requirements. Some of those involve setting aside warehouse space and thoroughly labeling the areas that the FSC certified lumber will be housed in, especially if non FSC material will be in close proximity. The paperwork involved in buying and selling FSC lumber must also be accounted for separately as annual audits are performed. The initial audit consists of being well organized in all requirements or be re-audited at your expense.
Ipe is one of the many species that you can purchase with the prestigious FSC certification. Ipe decking and Ipe hardwood flooring are commonly used for many commercial and residential applications, coveted for its strength and natural beauty. This hardwood is originally from South America, Central America and parts of the Caribbean. The janka hardness for this super wood is 3680 compared with the California Redwood at 420. This gives you an idea of the density and strength Ipe has. Naturally resistant to insects, mold, fungus and decay, Ipe has a life expectancy of 40 plus years with no treatment. If you had a UV Inhibitor you can add 60 plus additional years to that estimate. Fire rating for this species is a class A same as concrete and steel. This hardwood is a truly renewable resource.
Ipe with the FSC certification is as good as it gets. You have the strongest wood available with a stamp for responsible forest management and LEEDs points are available for interior designers as well as architects. Advantage Trim & Lumber is an established distributor of this decking and can custom mill to your specifications. Discriminating clients and commercial projects that require a green product will fall in love with this hardwood. What is spent on this wood will more than make up for itself in time with cost of removing and replacing inferior products. Who wants to waste the time and energy doing that?

Eco-friendly Decking the Real Deal

Posted August 19th, 2009 by ipemadeira

Eco-friendly, green, recycled, renewable, environmentally friendly, sustainable, bio-degradable and energy efficient are all key words used more and more often these days. This is a positive movement that has grown internationally and is well marketed. We all want to contribute to saving the planet and doing our part to keep our earth clean and free of chemicals and pollutants. There are now many organizations that are set up to help us do just that. Let’s take a look at what this means and how a wood deck such as Ipe can be eco-friendly.

First what is eco-friendly mean? If we don’t google it, I would say it means friendly to our environment, no chemicals no harmful out-gassing and uses only raw materials. The wikipedia definition states it is product that inflicts little or no harm to the environment. This is a very grey area. Now lets apply this to decking. There are several products available; pressure treated, composite and hardwood decks.

Composite decking is the least environmentally friendly product. Let me state that this product is marketed as green but let’s examine a few things first. The decking is man made from plastic or composite that has been recycled. Testing performed on the recycled plastic (High Density Polyethylene ) has confirmed that the recycling process loses some of its original tensile strength and the recycled product does not readily biodegrade in the landfills. The fact that this plastic is made of petroleum also escapes the corporations that tote its environmental benefits. Petroleum is costly and sometimes environmentally damaging. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill is one example of the damages transportation of petroleum has caused. Now going back to the loss of tensile strength, how does that affect the life of the deck once installed in an external environment? What happens when plastic is exposed to heat over a long period of time? Again google one of the composite company names to expose warping, staining, flaking, molding, fungus and other complaints and lawsuits. If you are replacing your deck in less than 10 years time is it really environmentally friendly or if you have to apply chemicals to it to prevent mold and fungus? Do a little homework and you will realize wood is the only eco-friendly decking resource.

Wood is a renewable, recyclable and totally biodegradable product. This product is a primary producer in that it only requires its natural habitat to develop and grow. The sun, water and soil along with the seed produced from another tree is all required to make this raw product. Wood uses less energy to process than steel, concrete, plastic and aluminum. It is used for insulation and has low thermal diffusivity (measure of how quickly a material can absorb heat from its surroundings). The only downside is wood made of certain species of wood will not be as dense and strong as others and would require some type of treatment to be useable outdoors. The new technology now available has opened doors to allow other wood to be available that has otherwise been un-accessible.

Pressure treated decking has been the most commonly used lumber. Thislumber is in-expensive, readily accessible and easy to install. The chemicals used to treat lumber, has helped its resistance to insects, decay and mold/fungus. The only problem is the chemicals used to pressure treat the lumber has been chromated copper arsenate, a toxic chemical used until about 2003 and now other chemicals are used such as copper azone but no current information has been supplied as to whether it is any less hazardous also CCA is still being used in certain industrial and marine applications.

Ipe decking is made from a hardwood with origins in South America, Central America and parts of the Caribbean. This hardwood is one of the strongest densest woods available. The janka hardness for Ipe is 3680 compared to the California redwood at 420. The fire spread is rated the same as concrete and steel. Naturally resistant to mold, fungus, decay and insects, Ipe requires no chemicals. The lifetime of the wood without a UV inhibitor is 40 plus years and with the inhibitor over 100 years. Ipe has a slip co-efficiency above the requirement for commercial applications for restaurants and hotels. This is the deck you will get to enjoy without all the maintenance. FSC certified Ipe is also available for the most discriminating clients and projects. The Forest Stewardship Council will certify that your lumber comes from a responsibly managed forest. Now that is as eco-friendly as it gets.

Ipe for Docks & Piers (Marine Use)

Posted August 6th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of building a dock? Longevity, durability and something that will age nicely are some considerations. Cost is always a factor and once you’ve been in a house for 5-10 years, it goes by quickly. If you have to replace one over that timeframe you will understand the first three options I mentioned and why I mentioned them first. For you environmentally correct out there, ipe wood(tabebuia spp.) has no chemical treatments as the wood is so dense non is required and it will literally sink if put in water. This means safety for our marine life and ultimately us and our children as well. The fact that you won’t have to replace it several times over your lifetime will also account for some green points. FSC™ certified Ipe is readily available for those of us who would like more reassurance that strict guidelines above and beyond government regulations were adhered to and LEED points are available on projects that are adhering to specific materials. Ipe has a life expectancy of well over 40-50 years surpassing 100 years in some instances with sealer application.

Ipe is long known for it’s hardness and strength and is the best choice if you don’t want to worry about replacing your dock or pier but rather enjoy the waterfront you’ve invested in. Nothing is worse than having to replace something that if done the first time properly with the right materials would be saving you a headache now. The durability and strength of the wood will keep it looking new for years to come and you can preserve the color by sealing it. The fact it comes from an area in Brazil where there is a lot of rain and sun helps when you will place it in the same type of environment where it was derived. The warm rich brown, red colors keep it looking rich and beautiful. Many commercial projects have invested in this wood, such as Atlantic City Boardwalk. This is of course because of the research they have done and seen that the investment is well worth the cost.

Ipe Decks No Chemicals Required

Posted July 30th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ipe decking is not for everyone. That being said, it is for most people who are serious about a great product for durability, longevity and the multitude of properties Ipe possesses. It is a gorgeous rich brown tone with natural variations in shading and striking once installed. Nothing beats natural wood in aesthetics. If you are looking to spend the least amount of monies, looking to replace your deck in less than 5 years and don’t mind mold and fungus or chemical out gassing than there are different products to fit your needs. Let’s look at the different options.

Pressure treated wood is the main wood decking material used in the past. One reason is for the cost, two for the availability and three for ease of install. That was acceptable for the last few decades but now with new technology and new sources there are more acceptable materials for the outdoor application. This material is good for a few years but may splinter, crack and breakdown in a few years.

Composite decking is an alternative material that is well marketed. This fairly new material is heavily marketed as green as they use recycled content in the decking board but the only problem is the tests done on them reveal the recycled plastic is more susceptible to warping and breaking down. Thus creating a very unfriendly product as the lifetime of the product is cut way down and will end up being replaced over a short period of time. Some common complaints with this material are warping, staining, breaking down or flaking and mold/fungus growth. This product is man made with very little history of performance but a lot of great marketing.

Let’s review Ipe decking materials. This hardwood also named ironwood for obvious reasons, has a janka hardness over 3600 compared to the California Redwood at 420. Naturally insect resistant, mold/fungus resistant and rot resistant this wood needs no chemical treatment. The only treatment you may need is the UV inhibitor to prolong the life of your deck over 100 years and to enhance and maintain the warm brown tones. Slip resistant and dense, this hardwood is used in commercial applications such as the Boardwalk in Miami for good reason. Ipe decking can be used in any design from contemporary to traditional. You won’t be disappointed with the look of this material it will complement the most custom homes and enhance any project.