During the early 1990’s the world was gradually waking up to the fact that forests around the globe were disappearing at an alarming, environmentally damaging and unsustainable rate.
The majority of this deforestation was, and still is, to clear land for human expansion, mainly agriculture, cattle rearing, industry and human habitation.
Against this background, consumers of timber products wanted protection for the forests to ensure they would survive for the preservation of our planet. This means that action would be taken to assure that sawn timber would be available on a sustainable basis for generations to come and that the natural environment, biodiversity, social and economic factors would be protected too.
However today, just 8% of the world’s forest is properly protected from destruction, but if timber is correctly sourced is the most environmentally sustainable building material available. When forests are correctly managed, trees can be re-planted or allowed to grow naturally, providing a truly sustainable source of future timber for manufacturing and wood floor production.
The key to knowing that trees are being felled on a sustainable basis comes from independent forest certification schemes such as the FSC or PEFC. Organisations like this mean that the forest areas, and tree management programmes protect a full array of biodiversity considerations as well as geographical, social, and environmental factors to create a viable, sustainable and achievable forest and land management plan.
It also means that seedlings are planted faster than trees are cut down!
Which wood species are sustainable?
Over the decades the wood floor market, particularly in the UK, has grown considerably. Because of this the use of different timber species to make floors has changed – driven mainly by environmental considerations. Gone are the myriad of tropical species, like Burmese Teak or Merbau, which today can’t be sustainably sourced from newly felled trees. Although these species can still be sustainable if they come from reclaimed sources such as our Burmese teak wood flooring.
In their place, broad-leaf deciduous species such as Pine and Douglas Fir have become more popular and the industry now focuses on Oak as the go-to species because it ticks all the boxes of sustainability and for technical reasons such as its durability and tone.
Oak is also carbon-neutral meaning that as it is growing it absorbs carbon dioxide and returns oxygen to the atmosphere. Even when wood is used in a building it continues to remove carbon from the air! Furthermore, new seedlings absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than old trees.
However, around the world, the biggest volume of certified, sustainable wood comes from pine species. Different evergreen softwoods are perfect for many building uses such as carcassing, joinery. Pines and other softwoods are also ideal for making board materials such as MDF, OSB and chipboard.
Some species of softwoods are also suitable for flooring purposes such as Pitch Pine and Larch.
Therefore, the wood species which are sustainable are:
- Douglas Fir
Naturally Ted Todd has sustainable wood flooring available in all these species.
What makes Ted Todd wood floors sustainable?
Technology, developed by Ted Todd, has meant that the Oak we use to make our wood floors becomes in a huge array of finishes, colours, designs, and thicknesses. Additionally, each piece a natural wood floor is totally unique. The problem of the pattern repeat, so obvious in vinyl, LVT’s and laminates are simply not there in a real wood floor.
To widen the wood species that we use, the vast majority of our products are made in an engineered format. This means that the top, visible surface wear layers are mainly oak, but the plywood core of our floors are made from a variety of other environmentally certified species such as Birch, Poplar and even some softwoods.
A core value within the company at Ted Todd is to ensure that our business model is environmentally sustainable and that the woods we use for our new and handmade floors are too.
Key indicators that drive our development and against which we measure our success include:
- Providing long-life products that will stand the test of time.
- To design and make floors that have a minimal adverse environmental impact.
- Offer flooring solutions that can help reduce atmospheric CO2. This means that almost exclusively we will use wood as our base raw material.
- Reclaim and repurpose previously used wood for 20% of our sales.
- Using only new woods originating from environmentally sustained, independently certified sources.
Increasing sustainability through reclaimed wood
Using reclaimed wood to make floors is where it all began for Ted Todd. Whether the wood is sourced from a renovated property or salvaged from an old building, the heart of our heritage lies in restoring floors made from many different species of wood, including Pine, Jarrah, and teak, and turning them into new floors packed with character and history.
Reclaimed or recycled wood is even more environmentally friendly than a new timber floor. Many of our Woodworks floors are reclaimed and they heavily reduce environmental impact through re-use and a circular economy, making these materials the most sustainable choice available. To read more about our reclaimed heritage click here.
Extending the life of your wood floor
Engineered and solid wood floors are extremely durable. Regardless of whether you choose to buy a new wood floor from Ted Todd or a reclaimed wood floor from Woodworks, there are some things that you can do to increase the lifespan of your floor.
Keeping your floors protected is important and although hardwood floors are easy to clean and maintain using the correct products to clean you floor will help maintain its appearance and finish for years to come. Our Floor Care Systems have been specifically formulated to do just this.
The oils, lacquers and waxes that are applied to the surface of the wood flooring add to its durability. We recommend you clean your floors with a soft brush or and suitable vacuum to maintain the floors applied finish.
Wear and tear on any flooring choice is inevitable so there may come a time when you need to extend the life of your wood floor. Sanding and refinishing are a great option but this can only be done if your floor has a minimum of 4mm wear layer. For the very best quality floors look for a full 6mm wear layer and for more information refer to our ‘Wear Layer’ definition in our A-Z wood flooring guide for more info.
Consider the entire lifecycle
All Ted Todd floors come with a minimum 20-year guarantee. However, should your floor reach the end of its life, it’s reassuring to know that wood is bio-degradable meaning when the time comes wood floors can be broken down naturally if it’s not being recycled, repurposed or reclaimed for a new life as something else.