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Reclaimed wood flooring wins out in home renovation

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Joanne Ciccarello/Staff/The Christian Science Monitor

(Read caption) The construction crew starts to clean up for the day as the light dims at Sheep Dog Hollow, a 1902 farmhouse being renovated in Connecticut.

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With our bank account steadily draining away as we renovate Sheep Dog Hollow, it’s getting more difficult to make decisions that put the “green” of environmentally sound before the “green” of good old hard cash.

Our goal, as I’ve noted repeatedly, is to test the proposition that one can build in an environmentally sound as well as an economical manner. One of the first lessons we learned is that it can be done, but one needs to look at the word “economical” in a five- or 10-year time frame. So, for things such as geothermal heating and spray foam insulation, we opted to spend more now on cutting-edge technology to save heating and other costs in the future. It wasn’t hard to justify.

But now we’re talking floors. We had hoped to be able to save the old floors at Sheep Dog, but alas, most were in such bad shape that it would clearly cost more to try to patch and repair what’s there than to simply put in new floors. And new wood floors from a properly managed forest are not only affordable, but also ecologically sound, according to Wood Floors Online:

Unlike most floor coverings, wood floors come from a natural resource that is sustainable. Long gone are the days when timber was cut down with little thought for the long term consequences on the nation's forests. Today most timber is cut from forests that are carefully managed to ensure continued resources in the future. In fact, according to U.S. Forest Service statistics, almost twice as much hardwood timber Is added every year through new growth as is harvested. Additionally, there is more standing hardwood timber today than there was 50 years ago.

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