Hey Good People – Rob here.
Here’s a link to a blog post about the stresses that hardwood flooring undergoes at the mill, and with some very interesting information about how the hardwood floors you buy are actually made. It’s related to both a free educational paper and a lecture at the Hardwood Flooring Summit 2008 this August in Atlanta, GA. The lecture will be given by Dr. Brian H. Bond of Virginia Tech University.
Some of the things which this article brings out for me is the concept of respect – respect for hardwood as a material. And I don’t mean this in a marketing sense (i.e ‘hardwood carries the tradition of centuries, yadda, yadda, yadda…). I guess I mean it in the sense that hardwood flooring is natural, and that it adheres to certain rules. There is something comforting in that, somehow. But, never mind that. Let’s talk about practicalities for a minute, folks.
Hardwood flooring mills and end users- In it together
Hardwood flooring is dependent on the correct levels of moisture for the state of its health and shape. You’ve heard all about where to avoid installing hardwood floors in numerous articles, both here, in the article I’ve linked to above, and elsewhere I’m sure. The article shows that it’s not just the end user – you – that needs to worry about moisture and environments. A lot of that burden falls on the mill, and ultimately on the industry as a whole. The goal is always to deliver a top quality product that everyone can be proud of. Moisture control, acclamation of hardwood flooring, grading, and even judgments made by the ultimate test of the human eye all play into that process.
And of course, all of these same factors remain to be important once you’ve got your hardwood flooring on site. In some ways, the rules that hardwood flooring sticks to (expansion and cupping when exposed to high humidity, swelling when exposed to excessive moisture, cracks and separations between boards when the air is too dry, and more) make it the choice of those who appreciate a material in a property which reflects something of its original nature before it was manufactured. This is at least part of the reason why hardwood flooring is one of the most time-honored flooring materials ever.
OK, maybe that was a little bit of marketing thrown in there. I can’t help myself.
Hardwood floors – a natural beauty
But, I personally like the idea that mills and property owners alike are part of one big process. And that process is about making sure that the best results are reflected when focused on the business of sourcing, installing, and enjoying premium hardwood flooring products. These aren’t featureless manufacturing goods we’re talking about here. In some ways, I think people love hardwood floors because they have the power to add a sense of humanity, and the warmth of the natural world to a space. They have a character because they react to what’s around them. They even ‘age’. In many senses, they retain life in a way that other types of flooring don’t.
Enjoy the attached article, Good People. Let me know what you think. And if anyone is going to the Hardwood Flooring Summit, tell me about that too!
Rob.Air-drying hardwood (as cut buy a 100-year old water-powered saw-mill) lumber image courtesy of onecog2many.