Are you looking to buy a cheap wooden floor? When you’re planning a renovation budgeting and price is an important factor. However buying the cheapest wooden floor may not necessarily always be the best quality or more importantly the best value for your renovation.
Here’s a few things to consider:
- There is a much larger environmental impact in buying some types of cheap wooden floor
- It is possible to source affordable hardwood flooring which is not only environmentally friendly but sustainable and great quality too. You just need to know what to look for.
- Buying from a local or specialist retailer can save you time and trouble.
- Despite what you may read, buying from a high street name or an online warehouse doesn’t always guarantee the best price. Read on to see why.
Let’s look at the impact of each of these factors in more detail.
1. The environmental impact of a cheap wooden floor
In a time when we are all trying to make a conscious effort to reduce our impact on the environment it is important to consider the environmental impact of a so-called cheap wooden floor. Do some research to find out the facts of the source of your wooden flooring.
Let’s use European Oak Flooring as an example. You may assume from the description that the source and manufacture of this flooring takes place in Europe. Looking at all the listings from online stores selling wood floors there are hundreds which describe themselves as European Engineered Oak Flooring or European Wood Floors.
As a UK manufacturer of wooden floors here’s a reality check on what you really need to know about sourcing European Oak floors.
The simple title of European Oak flooring can be misleading if you don’t check carefully. Does it surprise you to know that 90% of wood floors which describe themselves as European Oak floors come here from the Far East?
Whilst it is true that the Oak is grown in various countries within Europe, the floors are actually manufactured in the Far East. The Oak lumber is purchased then shipped across the world to be milled and processed. The floors are manufactured and then shipped out again for sale around the world.
How is this bad for the environment?
Let’s see the facts in more detail
Let’s take the best case scenario and imagine that the flooring is transported from the far east to the UK on board The lowest carbon footprint cargo ship by design the ‘MSC Gülsün.’
For every 1square metre of flooring that ships from China to the UK the environmental impact is 1,200g of Co2 emissions.
Now if you take the average size room of say 13m2 in a terraced house, the impact of buying a European Oak Floor made in the far east would have a carbon emissions footprint of approximately 15.600g (15.6 kg) pollutant substances which hugely contribute to adverse effect on our environment.
But the above figures don’t take into account the additional environmental pollutants released by the whole transport cycle. This starts with European oak logs sourced from European Forests being transported to China. There they mill and produce the so-called European Oak Flooring. In spite of the quality, the floors are not always marketed as cheap. They may cost you far more than the competitive prices, we sell our flooring for.
In addition the equations have been worked out based on using the most environmentally friendly cargo ship built to date, it is therefore fair to say that the environmental damage is nearer double our calculations when using older and more polluting cargo ships which would change the calculated figures to an estimated 2,400g of Co2 per square metre resulting in total of 31.2kg per 13m2 for the average floor area.
What does this look like?
So, what does 31,2kg of carbon emissions look like in weight?
Picture this: 13.73 large (2.272 Litres or 4 pints) cartons of milk or 41.76 750g bags of potatoes!
Now imagine how all those Co2 emissions are having a negative impact on both the air and oceans. Please do consider the environment before buying your wood floors.
2. Sourcing affordable and sustainable hardwood flooring
If you want to ensure that you are minimising the impact on the environment when you buy a floor here are a few things to look for.
Make sure that your floor where the source has Forest Stewardship Council approval. The FSC is an international non-profit organisation which is dedicated to promoting responsible forestry.
Check that the adhesives and sealant products in the flooring are non-toxic and low VOC. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. These are air pollutants which can be dangerous to your health as well as damaging to the environment. Wherever possible design your home to minimise their use.
The anatomy of a floorboard
At Naked Floors our standard engineered floorboards are manufactured as 21mm total thickness. This consists of 15mm base of Birchwood Ply combined with a real wood top layer of 6mm Oak (21/6mm). A birchwood ply based layer of engineered floorboards is the best for underfloor heating requirements. We also produce to special order a thinner board of total 16mm thickness with a 4mm top layer of Oak (16/4mm). This helps if height restraints are a critical issue.
Quite often product descriptions, claim that engineered floors can be sanded 1,2,3,4,5 or 6 + times. It’s complete nonsense and misleading advertising. Why? Simply because when sanding a floor it all depends on the type of sanding tool/machine used and the individual using the tools.
A cheap wood floor is not a sustainable option if it needs to be replaced in a few years time. Check the thickness of the engineered wood floor. They key is to find out what is the actual thickness of the real wood WEAR LAYER. This is sometimes referred to as a VENEER or TOP LAYER. Descriptions online from a typical ‘buy wood floors online’ retail outlet may read 14/3mm Thick, meaning the total thickness is 14mm with a 3mm real wood top layer of for example oak.
To avoid the tears and expense of being unable to re-finish your floor in the future, our advice is choose an engineered wood floor with a thick chunky top layer of no less than 6mm.
The Luxury of Oak
Really any product consisting of Real Oak should be viewed as a pure luxury and not a cheap disposable item. At Naked Floors we produce wood floors to enjoy for multiple generations to come not just for quick flip it buy and sell property makeovers project. Please therefore for the sake of the environment respect and look after any product you acquire consisting of oak.
Good quality finishing products and proper care for your floor will ensure your floor lasts for years to come.
Support specialist businesses and buy from craftsmen and specialist suppliers. This can save you time and money. Read on to find out why.
3. Buy from a specialist
Buying your floor from a specialist retailer ensures you have the opportunity to speak to a craftsmen instead of a salesman. At Naked Floors we manufacture our floors here in the UK and have laid thousands of floorboards. We work on renovations with home owners as well as interior designers. On commercial and hospitality projects as well as historic home renovations. You name it we’ve seen it in all shapes and sizes, which makes us exceptionally well qualified to guide you in your choice of floor. Contact us to discuss your project or make an appointment to visit us in our artisan showroom in Sussex.
We can also recommend good quality tradesman who meet our high standards of service. Saving you time and money in searching around for someone you can trust to get the job done.
4. Guaranteeing the best price floor
Despite what you may think, buying from a high street retailer or online warehouse doesn’t always guarantee you will get the best price. Their online marketing is designed to target shoppers looking for the cheapest price product above any other feature of buying a floor. This type of consumer already has an inbuilt belief that the economies of scale of a large retailer will deliver the cheapest product. However price is just one of the features to consider when choosing a floor. If you are only looking for something that markets itself as cheap how can you really compare prices?
Quality and sustainability matter
We never market our products as a cheap wooden floor. This is because we prefer to market ourselves as manufacturer where quality and sustainability matter. Because of this you won’t find our floors when searching the internet for cheap wooden flooring. However, we do carry out regular price comparison checks. This is to ensure we are competitive and often find that we can offer as good a price for an equal or better product. Take a look at our online catalogue to find your perfect floor and don’t forget to look out for our ever changing selection of clearance deals where you can bag yourself a bargain!