There are two kinds of hardwood in the United States; there is domestic and imported. Domestic hardwood is hardwood sourced from within the United States. For several years, imported hardwood was the most popular and most desirable hardwood for flooring. Those exotic woods are often very attractive. They have unique colors and exciting grain patterns that are sometimes difficult to find in domestic hardwoods. However, the past decade has shown a resurgence in American hardwood. There are several good reasons for this.
Sustainability is one of the main reasons American hardwood is surging in popularity. Many people have become more aware than ever of the impact they have on the world around them. When you buy hardwood for your floor, that wood comes from trees that have been felled. Hardwood, especially some slow-growing varieties, can take decades to grow to its full potential. So, when a company cuts down a tree, they create a debt that could take decades to repay. These concerns have led American companies to begin sustainable foresting.
Sustainable foresting can mean several different things. For one, it means that companies are not indiscriminately clear-cutting forests. They might leave newer trees in the ground so that they can continue to grow. It can also mean planting trees to replace those that have been logged or paying for others to plant trees. When companies do that, they offset the logging they have done.
Finally, sustainability can mean sourcing as much as possible from trees that don’t contribute to the health of a forest. For example, a tree that is diseased might be a danger to other trees if that disease spreads. However, it could still make a great hardwood floor.
The other reason American hardwoods are trending is affordability. So much of what is produced in the United States is more expensive than foreign counterparts. That’s not necessarily true for heavy items such as logs. Transporting felled trees is very expensive. Reducing the distance will reduce the cost.
Lastly, American hardwood is better regulated than hardwoods from some other countries. In countries with less regulation, the wood might be attained in a way that’s not ethical. For example, clear-cutting an endangered species’ natural habitat is generally considered unethical. American hardwood is regulated to avoid that. Workers are paid wages that are regulated by state and federal regulations as well.
All of these factors combine to explain the renewed prominence of domestic hardwood flooring.