Saturday, February 12, 2011

Choosing the Right Flooring FEELS Good!

Choosing the Right Flooring – it even feels good, says Kathy Bastin

Using locally grown and manufactured hardwood flooring is now among the dozens of choices for wood flooring, although this new option is actually an old one. Many people believe that is the healthiest, most beautiful, and “greenest” option of all.

This may not be an option in some places today due to first the industrialization then second the globalization of the timber industry.  A growing number of small businesses in SW Wisconsin and other parts of the U.S. now again are making locally grown wood products available to homeowners.

Kathy Bastin of Spring Green, Wisconsin explained why she had a local wood floor installed in her home.  “I hated the tiles and the carpeting was hard to maintain with two boys and two dogs.  Just the carpet cleaning cost hundreds of dollars each year.  Wood is so easy to keep clean.   It feels good that the trees were grown right here.  The installer let me do some of the work, giving me the opportunity to learn something new.  Now I work for the company part time making and installing flooring myself.  It is good to work with people with passion for the earth.”   This solid wood will outlast the building, unlike the manufactured or plywood imported flooring that soon ends up in a landfill.

Lynne Weil of Black Earth says “I Love my floor.  It is not just having a unique and awesome floor – it is feeling good about doing the right thing.  I know that no tree was cut in the rainforest, and very little energy was used to make and ship the wood, and it provided for local jobs.  I know that every time I see my floor.” 

Lynne and her Husband Peter had first visited the Spring Green Timber Growers store, sawmill, solar heated kilns, workshop, and forest.   Timber Growers harvest just a small portion of the trees that naturally die in their 200 acre forest each year.  The logging is done with the smallest possible equipment and the average distance the logs are moved to the sawmill is 900 yards.  A WoodMizer sawmill is used, quartersawing most straight logs for the spectacular grain patterns and greater stability.  Solar heated lumber dry kilns are Timber Growers claim to fame and the most visible sign the business is truly sustainable.  An old dairy barn was converted into dry lumber storage and warm workshop for making the flooring.  Workers deliver and install and finish the natural wood flooring right in the customer’s home – promising satisfaction guaranteed.  Low VOC water based polyurethane varnish is normally used, though some people prefer a natural oil finish.

Weil added, “We got to know a neighbor, a local person who we can see cares about the environment just like we do.  Buying local wood direct from the grower takes you back to a simpler, more organic time – before everything went global.”   Some people trust in global eco-certification systems that typically have insufficient field staff to verify their claims.  Knowing the producer is more reassuring than a label on a box.

Mary Devitt from Cross Plains said, “Terry and I both Love our new floor.  It is a unique work of art and every board is unique.  I especially love the inlay “flourish” that uses a piece of walnut my Dad cut years ago.  This floor grounds us.  We get to know it more each day, one board at a time.”   To operate the business in a sustainable manner, Timber Growers must sell what their forest naturally produces.  Each floor is an extension of the natural forest of the region.  Using nearly all of the lumber from each tree and mixing different species just as in the natural forest – these floors are stunningly beautiful.  Devitt’s floor is red oak, white oak, and elm – with a touch of walnut – just like the forest that surrounds their home.

Kelly Pankratz of Belleville also chose local wood for her dining room floor.  “For six months I shopped at every flooring store in the Madison area.  When I discovered Timber Growers, I knew this was my choice.  We had even checked out reclaimed flooring, but this was cheaper and salvaged from dead trees too.  Troy and I helped pick the boards and nail them down – it is like putting together a puzzle.”  Kelly showed her floor to her neighbor and Raeann also chose local wood flooring for her new home.   Timber Growers have the philosophy that a happy customer joins their volunteer sales staff and each home becomes another show room for their flooring.  Referral and repeat strings of sales are already up to 9 floors long. 

Spring Green Timber Growers
Our forestry encourages natural succession and regeneration – allowing nature to have her way.  We salvage a few of the trees that die each year and carefully harvest them with  small machinery.  We sawmill the logs, use solar heated kilns to dry the boards, make flooring and wood products in our remodeled dairy barn, and install and finish our products right in the customer’s home.  Solid, Natural, Local wood products direct from the grower.

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