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.

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.

 

Deforestation -What is the Main Culprit

Posted December 18th, 2009 by ipemadeira

 

 Tropical forests cover only 7-13% of the earth’s land surface according to a Greenpeace case study written in 2008. The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical forest and deforestation is a concern for its inhabitants and the rest of the world. The misconception lies in what the majority of uninformed individuals view as the leading cause for this devastation. Illegal logging is commonly cited as the reason for this debilitating issue. Research shows that clearing land for soy farming and cattle grazing actually accounts for more than 80-90 % of deforestation.

 

A quote from Dr. Pat Moore, founding member of Greenpeace, “If you want to save tropical rainforests, boycott tropical fruit and vegetables, and buy tropical woods instead, because than people will grow trees instead.” He suggests we put a value on the trees by purchasing products made from them thus creating a need to care for the forest. The good news is with the new systems in place like the Lacey Act developed by the Department of Agriculture, illegal logs will not enter the US. Sustainable forests will grow and we can make trees a valuable commodity so that land can be set aside for their growth not cleared for the above mentioned farming and cattle grazing.

 

Brazil has become a major if not the biggest exporter of beef which results in cattle grazing and clearing of precious forest space. Soy bean demand has increased at an alarming rate as well which accounts for the agricultural cash cropping and devastation of rich soil and minerals. We choose to become indignant about the destruction of our forests but if we really want to look at the source we can blame the demand we all put on beef, soybeans, tropical fruits and tropical vegetables. China and Russia alone have a huge demand for cattle that is increasing at an alarming rate which Brazil attempts to fill. The cattle industry has a lot more sophisticated resources to keep this out of the media but the numbers don’t lie.

 

So the next time you look at a wood deck or floor made from tropical lumber remember that it can actually be helping to keep the forest intact otherwise the land would be slowly being used for other money making resources. Tropical hardwoods have gotten a bad rap but with the education and help of everyone, it can actually be harvested and sustained for future use for us and the indigenous people it supports.

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.

Ipe Flooring vs. Red Oak Flooring

Posted July 16th, 2009 by ipemadeira

Rough measurement of a material’s propensity to burn rapidly and spread flames. Red Oak has a class III rating vs. Ipe at class I, the same as concrete and steel. This is an excellent safety feature for commercial applications.

Ipe Flooring vs. Red Oak Flooring

Red Oak flooring has revolutionized the hardwood flooring industry in the 80’s but with new technology and demands, we have discovered a stronger, more durable and beautiful hardwood that lends a more sophisticated look. Ipe also known as Brazilian Walnut offers all those qualities and when comparing the Janka Hardness and fire rating coupled with the warm natural beauty of the wood you will begin to understand why Ipe flooring is the wood floor for the future.

What is Janka hardness? The Wikipedia definition states: The Janka hardness test measures the hardness of wood. It involves measuring the force required to embed a 11.28 millimeter (0.444 inch) steel ball into wood to half its diameter. This method was chosen so that the result would leave an indention 100 square millimeters in size. It is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. Red Oak has a rating of 1290 compared to Ipe at 3640. In essence Ipe flooring is 3x’s stronger than Red Oak.

What is the fire spread rating? Business dictionary states it is:

Red Oak tends toward a medium color and wide variation in grain where Ipe is a tighter grain dark color. Red Oak has a more traditional look where Ipe can fit both traditional and contemporary settings. The physical attributes are quite visible but the behind the scenes properties give you a good idea on the longevity and durability of these woods. Red Oak did serve a great purpose for the 80’s but with the technological advances and more responsible forest harvesting available, Ipe floors are quickly becoming the hottest product for your wood flooring selection.

Wood is Good

Posted July 10th, 2009 by ipemadeira
 

Wood has been a much needed resource for our ancestors for thousands of years. Trees provided wood to make fire for heat making winters bearable and for foods that would otherwise be hard to eat. Wood also was used for building homes. We have used wood for tools, to write on and for weapons. This renewable and sustainable resource has been and will continue to be one of mother natures’ most prized gift and our best choice for many uses.

This natural resource is biodegradable, recyclable, energy efficient, durable, salvageable and beautiful. 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). It supports and feeds the people who grow and process it. Sustainable forestry practices are now heavily enforced with companies like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the Green Council. Ipe wood is one species that FSC has begun to regulate more heavily and it has benefited the Amazon by sustaining the forests for use and for living off for many indigenous people. Ipe along with Cumaru, Garapa, Tigerwood and many other hardwoods are being utilized for their strength, durability and longevity not to mention chemical free properties. Furniture, flooring and decking have long been made with wood and have lasted the test of time with minimal maintenance and chemicals. In addition, building with wood keeps us from digging up fossil fuels and manufacturing wood products make the least water and air pollution, solid waste and emission of gases.

Today we use all parts of the tree as even small pieces of the wood can be used in engineered wood products and paper. The great thing about wood is the tree it comes from is self sustained. It uses soil, air, carbon dioxide and water to grow and will decompose back to the earth in a renewable cycle as long as we use responsible forest management. The earth has provided a wonderful resource to help us shelter, feed and protect ourselves and with care we can help minimize use of non recyclable materials from filling our landfills and polluting our planet at the same time utilize what mother nature has given us. In other words, wood is good. Remember it can’t be duplicated and doesn’t need to be.