A Healthy Hardwood Floor

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

I love to bring to your attention floors with a story.  While searching my way through the maze of exhibits at Surfaces (TISE) this year, I found a great story brought to life by UA Wood Floors.

They have a mission; a focus that pervades every plank of hardwood flooring they produce.  That mission is to provide a totally non-toxic floor that can be considered proactive in benefiting your health.  That’s quite a statement, so I wanted more information as to how they actually accomplish this.

According to UA’s marketing team, “…In manufacturing wood flooring, the use of improper glue during the construction process can produce harmful formaldehyde content. Formaldehyde is a highly volatile organic solvent and has now been declared by IARC as a first-class carcinogen.  High concentrations of formaldehyde can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and can worsen asthma symptoms in children and infants”.

This isn’t news to everyone reading this blog, we’ve known for some time about the toxicity of formaldehyde.  But what is new is the steadfast pledge UA Floors has to meeting, and exceeding, standards worldwide.  UA Floors not only meet the CARBII (California Air Resource Board Phase 2 Formaldehyde Emission Standards), but also both the EO (European formaldehyde emission standards) and the Japanese Emission Standards JIS/JAS F.

UA has another story to add regarding their contribution to healthy interior environments.  The nano metal-oxide contained in their protective surface coating is actually a bacterial inhibitor!  Their bacteriostatic technology has been proven to inhibit the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses.

Beyond the technologies, this is the product line that offers a unique aesthetic.  Their newest addition, The Manhattan Collection, looks just like it sounds. A sophisticated “uptown” collection of woods, offering ten beautiful finishes.  Modestly grained 5 ¼” planks suit both contemporary and traditional interiors.

Olde_Charleston_Collection_-_Ua

At the other end of the spectrum is their Olde Charleston Collection.  One of the featured products in this collection uses planks constructed from reclaimed Heart Pine, salvaged from old textile mills.  All the natural markings from previous use are embraced in the finished product.  The rustic good looks tell a story of previous lives lived on these floors.  The different wood species featured in the Olde Charlston Collection all have character and history built in.

Of course, there are more collections for you to see at your local flooring store. But hopefully I’ve painted a picture for you in this blog of just how different (and pro-health) these wood floors really are. Explore and enjoy.

Need to know where to buy your hardwood flooring, or help from a local, hardwood flooring expert? Find your local, specialty hardwood flooring stores.

Floor Coverings Hawaiian Style

By Annette Callari, Allied ASID, Chair Holder CMG

showroomAloha from the picturesque Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii.  I admit it—I am enjoying a restful vacation with family and friends and I see why they call this paradise.  Imagine sipping a tropical drink and watching a crimson sunset on the beach.  That’s the hard life I’ve been leading for this week.

But writing is never too far from my mind, and this was an excellent opportunity to find out what trends are hot in floor coverings in our 50th State.  So I went on an adventure yesterday to do a little research and talk to a respected local retailer.  Here’s what I found out….

If you think flooring retailers in Hawaii are free from the Big Box competition, not so.  Yes they have Lowe’s and Home Depot looming large, but Hawaiians like the personal, local touch only an independent flooring contractor can provide.  Life is slower here, much slower, so some of the stress of “I need it NOW” is alleviated.

photoHardwood floors are popular.  I was a bit surprised to hear that because of the high humidity and inevitable presence of sand.  Engineered woods do extremely well because of their stable core construction and of course, the protective surface coatings manufacturers have developed.  In speaking with Floor Coverings Hawaii, LLC in Kailua-Kona, they feature woods from a local island manufacturer called Koa.  I was very impressed to see these beautifully designed products.  Exotic, high movement woods are their specialty, and these unique species of woods are well-suited to island life.  My favorite is Monkeypod!  I made sure to snap a picture for you to see.

Floor Coverings Hawaii, owned by Taryn Johnson, has over 10 years of experience on the island.  Todd Olson was on duty during my visit and gave me some great inside-information.

lvtAs popular as LVT is on the mainland, it is just beginning to make its mark on this island.  Karndean displays were prominent, and introducing the locals to the benefits of LVT is opening up a whole new perspective for their customers.  The future looks bright for gaining LVT market share in Hawaii.

Porcelain tile, as you would expect, is a solid choice for island homes.  Ease of maintenance, stability in a high-humidity climate, longevity of product life–these are all good reasons for porcelain to enjoy a top position.  Linen-weave and strand bamboo patterns are examples of highly popular styles.

Cork floors and bamboo are much in demand.  Organic, nature-based products suit the environment here.  Whereas bamboo may offer some challenges in less humid climates on the Mainland, the high humidity here nourishes and stabilizes bamboo floors.  Very interesting!  Medallion’s Strand Woven Bamboo is a big hit in both light and dark color options.

Carpets from Mohawk, Shaw and T & A were featured at Floor Coverings Hawaii.  The big manufacturers are attentive to the special needs of island customers.  Solution-dyed nylons, shorter, denser pile heights, woven organic patterns, all ranked high.

As you can see, the casual, slower-paced feeling of the islands is reflected in their floor covering choices.  Ease of maintenance is a priority, of course.  Decorating paradise is a tall order, but looks like the challenge is being met in style.

Mahalo and Aloha