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Selecting Sustainable Flooring That Functions Best. The Arch Can Help Guide You

The Arch has carefully considered sustainable flooring companies  to work with since opening in 2004 as we value health and our environment. We can help you select a sustainable floor that works best for you. The following discusses some considerations.  Though The Arch showroom offers only sustainable flooring selections,  what works in one home might not function as well  in a commercial setting. The first thing you want to do is to consider the function of the space when looking for a  flooring product  as well as  the durability, quality and environmental values of the company.

ECO Fusion Strandwoven engineered bamboo Sandstorm. Plant in fused dyes. All ECOfusion Flooring products exceed indoor air quality standards as tested to CARB2012 and EO thresholds.

ECO Fusion Strandwoven engineered bamboo Sandstorm. Plant in fused dyes. All ECOfusion Flooring products exceed indoor air quality standards as tested to CARB2012 and EO thresholds.

We have worked with many people that are building homes from the ground up, but also with those that are renovating an existing home or business. Basements are a popular area of the home to invest in  but a basement on a concrete slab might not accommodate your first hardwood choice for example.  A wise selection would be an engineered hardwood or engineered bamboo strandwoven floor which are both very stable selections  and can be “floated” over an underlayment.  We also work with two regional companies that offer engineered reclaimed flooring in addition to their solid products. An engineered reclaimed floor was not easily sourced in this area not too long ago so this is a tremendous new offering to the market. It may cost a little more for a reclaimed floor, but the investment and beauty of this time honored flooring with unmatched character might be what you are looking for.

Reclaimed Heart Pine with history and character

Reclaimed Heart Pine with history and character

Many new engineered floors are also warranted over certain radiant systems.  Another excellent and very affordable choice  is US floors COREtec Plus engineered vinyl. It is a natural vinyl that does not off-gas as many of the big box store sheet vinyl goods will.  COREtec Plus won’t expand or contract, does not require an underlayment (reducing material and labor costs further),  and can handle moisture without damaging the flooring.

US Floors COREtec Plus engineered luxury vinyl. Water proof!

US Floors COREtec Plus engineered luxury vinyl. Water proof!

We have a long list of testimonials of how tough this material is including success in a hot yoga center (a very high heat environment), and a COREtec Plus flooring installation that suffered no structural damage after being immersed underwater in hurricane Sandy. I recently had a conversation about a COREtec Plus installation for an animal care facility. This flooring receives a great deal of animal and public traffic and is routinely hosed down with water!

This material is an excellent choice for commercial high traffic areas and we have all the samples to choose from and one of the best prices in Asheville that we know of.

Conservation Grade white oak Asheville residence. Woodright is one of the most sustainable sources in the region.

Conservation Grade white oak Asheville residence. Woodright
is one of the most sustainable sources in the region. Designer Victoria Schomer

If you are looking at flooring for every day living in your home, the choices are many.  Cork planks are an option that provides comfort,  is quiet, and offers a warmth that ceramic tile can’t offer for example. If you spend much time in the kitchen you know how sore your leg muscles can get after standing on a very hard surface. A cork product may be the answer for your home. There are many attractive cork product selections to choose from. If a water leak  or individual cork plank were to be damaged, they can be replaced easily. The cork we offer has a commercial finish which stands up to a number of commercial settings as well.

Traditional Cork Plank floors provide uniquely beautiful, durable, comfortable, and sustainable option for even the most demanding home.

Traditional Cork Plank floors provide uniquely beautiful, durable, comfortable, and sustainable option for even the most demanding home. Shown here: USFloors Mondago

Not all cork products are the same. Look for density, a quality finish and reputation. If you are looking for a natural flooring with wood grain that only a long leaf pine can offer for example,  then you might want to consider a reclaimed heart pine floor as they are much harder than new pine material of this day and age and they are the ultimate re-use of materials. The Arch doesn’t compromise. We have never offered any flooring with added urea-formaldehyde or other toxic  chemicals.

This specie is considered rapidly renewable because the harvest cycle is less than ten years. Another benefit of eucalyptus is that the trees regenerates three times before the tree is replanted.

Another benefit of eucalyptus is that the trees regenerates three times before the tree is replanted.

Species such as Eucalyptus is new to the market and a rapidly renewable one. This specie is considered rapidly renewable because the harvest cycle is less than ten years. Because it is a strandwoven product it is about as hard as any flooring can get with a Janka rating of over 3000. The Janka Hardness test measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. The most common assumption that consumers make is that a high Janka Rating will prevent scratches on their new floor. This is not what the rating provides.

Eco Timber 7" Grey weathered white oak hardwood.

Eco Timber 7″ Grey weathered white oak hardwood.

It is true that the harder the wood is the more difficult it will be for that floor to be dented, but denting and scratching are two very different things. Even the hardest woods are prone to scratches, so no matter what type of hardwood you own, you should be cautious when moving heavy objects across your floor.   All floors require maintenance and care and the buyer should know how to best take care of their investment. A number of our customers have chemical sensitivities looking specifically for products that will not off-gass. Several have tested our products in labs or even slept with them before buying. It is a serious health consideration to purchase healthy materials that you live with every day.  Not only is the flooring choice a health decision but so is the finish.

Vermont Natural Coatings patented PolyWhey® technology has emerged as a new category of wood finish; delivering easy-to-use products that have established the highest performance and environmental standards. We use whey protein, a byproduct of cheese making, to displace toxic ingredients found in traditional finishes. Vermont Natural Coatings PolyWhey floor and furniture finishes and our new Exterior Penetrating Stain and Water Proofer Infused with Juniper, are the choice of professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike.

Vermont Natural Coatings patented PolyWhey® technology has emerged as a new category of wood finish; delivering easy-to-use products that have established the highest performance and environmental standards. A whey protein, a byproduct of cheese making, to displace toxic ingredients found in traditional finishes. Vermont Natural Coatings PolyWhey floor and furniture finishes and our new Exterior Penetrating Stain and Water Proofer Infused with Juniper, are the choice of professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike.

We offer Vermont Natural Coatings for unfinished wood, furniture, trim, and outside decking or siding. It offers a beautiful, healthy, durable finish and is easier to apply than many other sustainable choices. Most builders or home owners do not want to be out of their homes for a week or more waiting for a finish to cure so this is something to consider if finishing woodwork. Vermont Natural Coatings dries very quickly and offers one of the most durable finishes on the market. It will outlast a Bona finish and the coverage is greater. Timing is also something that needs to be considered when purchasing flooring. Though many of flooring products can be shipped within a few days, a floor that is specially selected from the Appalachian region that benefits our local economy  may take a few more weeks. Not always, but often. The wait is worth it though, so plan ahead!

Barn Doors. Reclaimed and popular in rustic as well as contemporary settings.

Barn Doors. Reclaimed and popular in rustic as well as contemporary settings.

For more information give The ARCH a call at 828 253 5455 or visit our showroom at 2000 Riverside Drive Unit 10, Asheville, NC 28804.

OR Complete our Flooring Contact Form online!

We can have samples and  flooring shipped anywhere in the country.

Taking a Closer Look At Selecting Healthy Flooring and Finishes

How intentional are your choices these days? What kind of building and finish materials do you live with? I watched a little girl  say “yes” to the CVS clerk when asked if she wanted a bag for her purchase the other day. The little girl had purchased a single pack of  (already) packaged gum. Out she ran with the bag around that oh so heavy and certainly awkward pack of gum. The store clerk didn’t get it and the little girl was taught absolutely nothing about conservation. From small purchases to larger ones the “compromise meter” should be leaning more towards “smart” than “stupid”  by now. Take the flooring industry for example.  By now most everyone knows that  toxic chemicals are present in many flooring products and finishes  on the market,  or perhaps we don’t want to wrap our minds around the fact that that “steal of a deal”  floor we’re interested in may have been manufactured where unjust labor practices take place, or perhaps lurking behind that “green” label is a company that is  wasteful and compromising on every other level. The ARCH chooses to work with companies with the highest environmental standards.   For more information about the companies and products we work with we invite you to check them out or give us a call and we will share what we know about sustainable practices. Whether you’re looking for a floor that is FSC- certified, LEED compliant, reclaimed or recycled,  whether the company maintains high standards for fair labor practices, high quality control, The ARCH has made an intentional choice to work with reputable flooring and finish companies.

Eco Timber Recycled Woven Poplar Flooring

Here are a few of the companies and their environmental standards that The ARCH is proud to be working with:

Eco Timber

Merida Meridan Natural Fiber Rugs

Vermont Natural Coatings

American Clay

January is a good month to think about detoxing your home. As noted in a LOHAS blog (Lifestyles of health and sustainability) the average home contains 500-1,000 chemicals resulting in indoor air quality that is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air

How about inviting more positive intentional changes into our environment?

S.E.E.EXPO The ARCH Exhibits Sustainable Products

 
 
 

S.E.E.EXPO EVENT

The S.E.E. EXPO and Celebration is this weekend, August 20th -22nd, at the Agricultural Center in Asheville.   The ARCH is exhibiting for its sixth year and it is a good feeling to continue to support sustainability and be among advocates of environmental  issues and positive change.  The SEEEXPO has innovative exhibits and workshops for building, agriculture, and technology. Located in the new air-conditioned Exhibition Hall The ARCH has on display FSC-Certified EcoTimberflooring, Reclaimed Wood flooring, American Clay Earth plaster, Vida Cork, Merida Natural Fiber flooring, information on the new St Astier’s Natural Hydraulic Lime, Concrete Counter samples made locally, Forno |Bravo Wood-fired oven information, a sampling of art tile and more. Most of these products contribute to LEED points. Jim Erskine is available to discuss application and masonry interests. We also have a space to try your hand at troweling  American Clay Earth Plaster on sample board surfaces.  Below is a photo of an enthusiastic participant from our exhibit in 2009.

From our 2009 exhibit: Exploring American Clay fun for all ages

Reclaimed Flooring Takes Me Back to Hawaii

The Arch can provide you with a beautiful reclaimed flooring of Heartpine, Chestnut, Oak, Maple, and Red Gum to name a few. These are just a few examples of the possibilities that you can admire under your feet.

It’s interesting to me that nearly twenty eight years ago (yikes) when I was living on the Big Island the decision was made to include a reclaimed floor in a home we built. We chose to purchase a wide plank tongue and groove pine floor from an old warehouse that was torn down in California. Nearly everything shipped over to the islands in huge “containers” by boat and California was about as close as we could get for flooring. When it arrived it was nearly black with years of dirt but the boards were long and a true two inches in thickness and so what if it required a serious sanding. To see the old wood come to life was a joy. I looked for a photo and came up with a couple from an old photo album.  My girls (Tracy on the bucket, Roxanne with the cup in her teeth) had a couple of  big rubber gymnastic rings hanging from reclaimed beams (from the same warehouse) and they would spin in circles and have the best time. The photo of the other girl is a friend in the neighborhood. Of course I didn’t think ahead to the present day for photographs of floors).  I always felt good about that floor. Great in fact and still do for the lucky soul that lives there now.  I didn’t have to worry about the occasional dent or scratch because it had that wonderful patina and worn appearance from the beginning.  It was great for raising kids and with three bull terriers at the time it never worried me at all.  Though, in Hawaii, all shoes are left at the door- which adds to the life of any floor, not to mention keeping things clean. I wonder just how old that floor was?

The flooring we can obtain for you won’t need near the work that that floor did and you can get an up close and personal view of the samples we have in our showroom.

There’s always a home, studio, addition restaurant, you name it, that is fitting for reclaimed flooring. Consider it!

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