Exotic Hardwood Flooring

Exotic hardwood flooring is a great choice for those who want something unique and special. Exotic species of wood are those sourced from locations outside North America such as Brazil, Africa and Asia. They offer unique wood graining and coloration, not only enhancing the quality and value of your home, but adding a truly distinctive appeal.

Exotic hardwood flooring is available in solid planks and engineered boards. In exotics the most common hardwood flooring is Brazilian Cherry. Other popular types include Brazilian Walnut, Brazilian Teak, Tigerwood, Armagnac Angelim, Santos Mahogany and Tiete Chestnut. Brazilian Cherry is open grained like oak, but it is twice as hard. Much of its beauty derives from the dark streaks that contrast a background of dark orange and brown. The beauty deepens as the floor darkens within a few months of installation.

Brazilian Walnut is a bit harder. It ranges from a dark yellow to dark brown color and has fine graining that gives it a soft, silky look. Because exotic hardwood flooring is generally much harder than domestic hardwood flooring, it is more durable and requires less maintenance and repair. So for example, choosing Brazilian Teak as a hardwood floor, with its very high hardness rating, would be an excellent choice for the homeowner with a growing family or large pets.

The harvesting of wood from areas such as Brazil contributes greatly to the economic vitality of these communities. Yet to ensure the continued prosperity of these communities, and the sustainability of their natural resources, responsible resource management is essential. When choosing exotic hardwood flooring, ensure you select a company that promotes sustainable forest practices by adhering to manufacturing principles that preserve and renew these natural resources.

Environmentally responsible manufacturers of exotic hardwood flooring should be certified and supported by resource management and forest certification organizations such as the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA), SmartWood, Imaflora, Certified Forest Products Buyers Group and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC ).

Forest products approved by SmartWood and Imaflora are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international organization that monitors and accredits companies that perform third-party forest audits.

Certified manufacturers are strictly monitored by these organizations and manufacture hardwood flooring only from timber that is selectively harvested under the principles of sustainable forest management. After timber is harvested, multiple trees are replanted, fostering sustainable forest practices and completing the reforestation process.

For example, in Brazil the IBAMA issues Forest Management Projects to a limited number of timber companies annually for the legal extraction of timber. Qualified applicants demonstrate their commitment to the practice of sustainable forest management before being awarded a certified Forest Management Project.

Selective timber harvesting is the cornerstone of IBAMA’s sustainable forest management program. Approved commercial logging companies work only within the acreage of their designated approved Forest Management Project under established logging extraction guidelines, including minimum harvest diameters for each species of tree.

Prior to harvest, trees are carefully assessed for age and condition. Older trees, often susceptible to disease, are harvested first, assuring that valuable resources are not left to waste away on the forest floor. Selective timber harvesting has proven to produce the highest quality lumber while fostering natural reforestation by allowing immature trees in the upper-story to benefit from increased sunlight and water.

Products originating from certified forests provide assurances from an independent third party auditor that timber was harvested from “well managed” forests, adhering to the principles of sustainable forest management, including the preservation of wildlife habitat and water quality, while supporting the social and economic continuity or local communities.

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