The new year is nearly upon us and as it hits January, you may be thinking its time for a change. Some choose a lick of paint, others go for some new furniture, but there’s a growing trend amongst homes in Ireland – People are going back to their roots and laying wooden flooring throughout the home.

A full floor revamp is a fantastic way to make an impact without breaking the bank this coming New Year, especially when you consider engineered wood flooring actively increases a homes overall value.

But how? Well mainly due to the fact that this specific type of flooring option is a far more sustainable choice than other similar options on the market today.

Sustainable Flooring – How does it work?

The consensus now amongst builders, contractors and carpenters is that engineered wood is a far more environmentally conscious choice than a solid wood, mainly since far less wood is used in the creation of an engineered floor as opposed to its solid counterpart.

Only the surface is constructed using solid wood when it comes to the engineered option, with most of the design being comprised of plywood, which in turn leads to far less waste during the manufacturing process.

When you opt for a solid wooden floor, the planks used are crafted from a singular piece of solid wood, which means that part of the floor you can’t even see end up using real wood – In contrast, engineered wooden floors use around a third less wood than solid flooring, which means less trees felled and an overall more sustainable approach.

Longevity & Durability

Engineered wooden floors are designed to be somewhat, flexible. As the temperatures plummet across the country this winter, you may start to hear your existing wooden doors and floors start to creak as they expand and contract due to the severe drops in temperature, this can lead to doors jamming and annoying gaps appearing in your flooring.

Engineered wood flooring expands and contracts far less than a solid option, this is due to the way everything is constructed. These specially constructed floors can withstand rapid moisture and temperature changes far more than solid wood, but will still need to be fitted with some form of an expansion gap. But due to the fact that these floors can cope with the changes far better, it gives you far more options.

You can even place the correct form of engineered wood in a kitchen or bathroom where temperatures and moisture levels tend to fluctuate hugely.

Many homes in Ireland are filled with laminate flooring, which are cheaper day one but will need replacement after 8-12 years, which in this modern age is simply unsustainable. Engineered wooden flooring is crafted using multiple layers of laminated hardwoods, structured in tight cross layers which is more commonly known as plywood, which is then topped with a solid hardwood layer, why is this important?

Well mainly because you can sand back the surface of this floor multiple times, leaving it looking refreshed and revived, even the thinnest engineered floors can be sanded several times, leading to a lifespan of up to 50 years!

Wood – A Renewable Resource or Not?

It’s been taken for granted for much too long now that wood is a renewable resource, it’s only renewable if it is managed and harvested correctly. Trees can always be reproduced, which by definition makes them a sustainable material for construction, but the progressions made in modern farming and forestry techniques means that we often times cut down trees at an unsustainable rate, for every tree that’s cut another should be planted in its place.

Following on from this, it’s important to note that not every type of engineered wood floor is as sustainable as another, it all comes down to the type of wood you use. Generally, the rarer the species of tree you choose, the less sustainable it becomes.

Teak and Mahogany are far less sustainable to use in comparison to woods like Oak, which is a relatively common species globally and often times planted with the sole purpose of harvesting in mind, this is predominantly why there is such an abundance of oak wood flooring throughout homes in Ireland. Pine is also another eco-friendly option and it crops up quite a lot in the furniture trade.

Bamboo is another option that has been appearing more and more lately due to both its sustainability and renewability, although it is technically not even classed as a timber, but rather as a grass.

Renovations with the Environment in Mind

Once you’ve chosen your preferred flooring option, be it long plank wood flooring, chevron flooring, herringbone or even Versailles panels, there are a number of other things you can do in order to help protect the planet. You’ve got to factor in more elements, like how will you transport your new floors to your home? What products will be used during the installation process? What will you do with the old floor after it’s been ripped up and how will you care for the new floor once it’s been laid?

Depending on the type of installation method you choose, the process will inevitably end up using underlay or adhesive, it’s always crucial to double check with the installer about what products they are using and how environmentally friendly they are.

Similarly, when the old floor has been removed, you’ll need to dispose of it correctly. You can find recycling centres that will accept old laminates and hardwoods around Cork and throughout Ireland. Finally, once the floor has been laid you’ll need to figure out how to clean your engineered wood floors, whilst also keeping your impact on the environment as low as possible.

Luckily there are a number of excellent, eco-friendly floor cleaners on the market today. However, always avoid cleaners that use ammonia or vinegar, stay away from steel wool and melamine sponges when cleaning and never use steam cleaners, all of these can permanently mark and scuff your new investment.

If you are thinking of undertaking some home renovations this year, it’s important to keep sustainability, green, eco-friendly choices at the fore.

Wood Flooring Ireland, located in the Jim Power Industrial Estate, Tramore Road, are the go-to specialists for Engineered Wood Flooring in Ireland. Offering only the most sustainable and eco friendly European Oak products on the Market today, Wood Flooring Ireland produce a huge mixture of styles including grey, oak, white and parquet wood flooring.