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Exotic species of Wood Flooring

The number of wood flooring options on the market today is enough to boggle  the mind,  and the  array of  exotic species  as a  sub-category can  be especially confusing because of  environmental and illegal  logging issues associated  with them. Yet there continues to be a strong demand for the unique look of  exotics, and that is likely to continue especially at the higher end. While imports  from across the globe continue to flood world markets, the U.S. market for exotics is beginning to be regulated through customs  and recent action by Congress to  ban illegal imports. So how do  you know what you are  buying or selling is good  or green wood? You can’t know without credible third-party verification such as the Forest Stewardship Council  (FSC) seal. Major  wood manufacturers, in  fact, are moving away from the category entirely with exotic look-alikes and flooring that challenges other  qualities found  in exotic  species. The  appeal of exotics is aesthetic and hardness.  Many of the  exotics available are  equal to or  harder than red oak-the standard by which all wood characteristics

are judged. Wood  is generally one of the more  expensive flooring materials, and exotic  species add to  that  cost. Although  exotic  woods are  substantially  more expensive  than traditional woods, there is a strong perception that higher-end product is worth the investment as an easy way to add luxury and elegance to any interior setting while creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Some of the more popular  exotics on  the market  include Brazilian  cherry or  jatoba as  it is  called in  South America-arguably the most popular as it accounts for an estimated 10%-12% of all wood sales.  Yet many  domestic species  such as  hickory, walnut  and pecan are stirring interest among consumers because of similar aesthetic  characteristics. Technological advancements at the  manufacturing level, such as  with engineered wood, have allowed these

products to be more affordable since less of the exotic wood is used while  still maintaining all the  positive features that have  made them popular among homeowners and decorators. In fact, the use of technology  to create engineered floors has allowed the industry to make better use of the  raw material.  For example,  3/4-inch solid  generally requires  1.9 board  feet of lumber to produce 1 square foot  of finished floor while a 3/8-  inch engineered with a 2mm thick  face requires just .2  board feet of face  material to produce the same amount, when combined with other layers of veneer.

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