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Summertime will soon be here, and with it comes the glories of outdoor living: grilling in the backyard, playing football in the early evenings, taking walks along the water and simply enjoying the beauty of nature all around you. Backyard fun is the base upon which all summer memories are built. It’s been said that the heart of a backyard is a good, solid deck – if this is true, then what should your backyard heart be made of? The answer is simple—real, genuine, beautiful renewable pressure-treated wood.

 

1. Renewability.

Wood is a naturally renewable building product. In maintaining managed forests, the forest industry plants more trees than are harvested each year. This means that wood, as a renewable resource, will be around for generation after generation.

 

2. True Green.

The USDA recently recognized wood as a true “green” material in green building design, because of its environmental benefits. Ecolife Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood was also the first decking product of any kind to receive Green Certified Product recognition by the NAHB Home Innovation Research Labs as a NGBS Green Certified Product for Resource Efficiency.

 

3. Beauty.

Many composite decking products have embossed surfaces to “look” like real wood. But guess what? It’s not real wood. There’s only one product that offers those pretty whirls, grains and knots—real wood. Whether it be stained, painted or left natural, the beauty of real wood is hard to mimic.

 

4. Appearance.

Composite decking may fade and scratch, and in just a few years the appearance of your deck surface may not be what you expected. Treated wood on the other hand, can be refinished and look new again. Wood decking can regain its original look with effective refinishing—even after years of frequent use—provided there is the right attention to detail and care.

 

5. Easy to use.

No special tools. No special skills. No special safety requirements. Easy to cut and easy to install. Can’t get much simpler than that. Replacing surface mounted deck boards is easy, compared to replacing interlocked pieces or deck boards with hidden fastener systems. If one of those boards needs replacing, you may have to remove many. Additionally, wood decking can span longer spaces than composites, and if you’re going to resurface your deck, check to make sure you don’t need to spend more and install additional joists to support composite decking.

 

6. Affordable.

Composite decking will cost three to five times more than treated wood decking. Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report for projects states that wood decking retains more value than composite decking, and a leading consumer product evaluation report lists wood decking as a best buy. Pressure-treated wood decking is the value choice. Save money and still get a beautiful deck.

 

7. Earth friendly.

Recent life cycle assessments show that the production of composite decking is significantly more damaging to the environment than the production of pressure-treated wood decking. Most composites use finite resources—oil, gas, petroleum—in their production cycles. These elements are finite resources, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Trees are planted and grow every year, creating healthier forests than we had 100 years ago. So which product is better for the environment?

 

8. Performance.

Don’t believe the hype about pressure-treated wood decking being high-maintenance; it’s just not true. Simple maintenance, as needed, is all that’s required. But also note that All Treated Wood is NOT the Same! Ecolife™ Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood (EL2) is an innovative wood stabilizing preservative system that protects the natural beauty of Above-Ground exterior wood from the harmful effects of weathering, termite attack and decay. Ecolife’s built-in water repellency is pressure-treated throughout the wood making the structural framing of every deck or wooden deck surface more stable, with up to 50% less surface cracking and checking as compared to ordinary treated wood. See the performance difference video at www.treatedwood.com.

 

9. Easily painted or stained.

Whether you like it natural, a little bit darker or even barn-red, your wood decking will hold the good quality water or oil-based stain you choose for years. With the multitude of beautiful stain options available for wood decking you can choose the best color to match your outdoor decorating theme. Ideally a good penetrating stain designed for outdoor wood is best for foot traffic vs. film or paint products that can where off much quicker from decking surfaces.

 

10. The natural choice.

Did you ever walk bare foot onto a paved driveway or plastic surface in the hot summer sun? Wood decking has a much more natural and cooler feel than other decking options. Your backyard probably includes beautiful green grass, perhaps a few trees, flowers, plants—everything natural. A wood deck is a compliment to these components, and can be a natural accent piece to a environment of hardscapes. Go real—go wood, and don’t burn your feet.

Every hardwood floor has its own unique look, because every wood has its own grain.

  • Hardwood is durable and is considered an investment — hardwood floors literally last for decades or generations.
  • Hardwood flooring adds to the value of both new and resale homes. In one national Canadian survey, 90% of real estate agents said homes with wood floors sell faster and for more money.
  • Hardwood flooring is health- and environment- friendly.

Engineered Hardwood Floors

  • Uniclic floating hardwood floors can be installed by homeowners, without the need for onsite professional installation and finishing. They can be installed over imperfect subfloors, including existing hardwood.
  • Engineered floating hardwood floors look like solid-wood floors once they are installed. They offer more stability than traditional strip hardwood because they are engineered to accommodate fluctuations in temperature and humidity that can affect traditional 3/4″ hardwood.
  • Engineered wood floors are different from laminate floors. Engineered wood floors are constructed of a hardwood veneer adhered to a core such as High-Density Fibreboard and a wood veneer backing. Laminate floors contain no actual hardwood surface area.

Hardwood History

  • Wood flooring was first recognized as a design/décor element in 1683, when it was used in the Palace of Versailles. Only the wealthiest people could afford solid-plank floors because they were handcrafted and very expensive.
  • In the 1700s and 1800s solid planks for floors were massive – 7/8″ thick, at least 8’ long and 2-1/2″ or 3-1/4″ wide. Some planks were 16’ long. They had to be massive because subfloors were not used and plank ends had to be nailed to joists. Planks were often as wide as they needed to be e.g. 3″, 4″ or 8″; there were no standard dimensions. The tongue and groove was planed by hand.
  • Modern, machine-made, tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring came into being in 1885 with the invention of the side matcher. This was the beginning of strip hardwood flooring.
  • Plank ends had to be nailed directly to floor joists until 1898, when the end matcher was invented.
  • As cities grew in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and more and more homes were built, hardwood became increasingly popular.
  • By the Roaring ’20s, in the post-World War One boom, America was prospering and bungalows with Oak floors were common because everyone could afford one.
  • The invention of the electric sander in the mid-1920s meant that hardwood floors could be levelled and sanded more efficiently and with better quality. Previously, floors were scraped manually by dragging scraper blades across the floor.
  • The hardwood flooring industry took a tumble in the Great Depression of the 1930s. People didn’t have money, fewer homes were being built, banks weren’t lending money and people were generally “cocooning” with what they had and just trying to get by.
  • The hardwood industry took off again with the start of World War Two because huge war-time factories were being built with hardwood floors.
  • The 1940s hardwood boom erupted at the end of World War Two, with a post-war building boom. Homebuilders couldn’t build houses fast enough to keep up with the numbers of veterans returning home to start families and needing houses.
  • In the 1940s, hardwood was still very labour-intensive. It required professional installation, sanding, and two coats of shellac and wax (used until the 1950s, when changed to lacquer and polyurethane). Hardwood floors also had to be waxed on a weekly basis.
  • The demand for more houses (and more floors) faster led to the mid-1940s development of the first engineered wood floors, including parquet and herringbone. Parquet and herringbone proved poor on both esthetics and durability because of the thinness of the wood.
  • The 1950s: The final “golden age” of hardwood flooring. Hardwood was still a necessity, laid over 1″ x 6″ subflooring. There was still a housing boom across North America, as subdivisions sprang up everywhere. One billion feet of hardwood was being sold per year in the United States. The building boom reached its peak in the U.S. in 1955.
  • The late 1950s and early 1960s also saw the introduction of plywood subflooring, and a shift towards the use of concrete-slab foundation construction. Hardwood couldn’t be installed on concrete because of moisture; and other kinds of flooring could more easily and quickly be installed over the new plywood subfloors. Once plywood and concrete subfloors were introduced hardwood no longer became a necessity.
  • A combination of changing lifestyles, changing housing construction methods, high maintenance for hardwood, cheaper alternatives and too much job-site time for hardwood installation and finishing all contributed to the crash of the wood flooring industry in the mid-1960s.
  • In 1966, the U.S. Federal Housing Authority approved carpeting as part of a 30-year mortgage. Both homeowners and homebuilders turned away from expensive, labour-intensive hardwood in favour of cheaper, easier and faster-to-install carpet. This was a major factor in the decline of the hardwood flooring industry until the mid-1980s.
  • The industry bottomed out in the 1982 recession, when only 75 million board feet was shipped.
  • There was renewed awareness about hardwood in the mid-1980s that helped the industry rebound. By the 1980s, wood flooring manufacturers introduced good new prefinished hardwood flooring, there were new and more stains and finishes available than before, the advent of water-based urethanes made finishing easier, and consumers had more options to choose from than ever before. These include traditional hardwood, prefinished, engineered hardwood; solid floors, floating floors, nail-down and glue-down hardwood; North American hardwoods and exotic hardwoods from around the world.


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