Picking the right flooring for your home is a big challenge. There are hundreds of products, styles, and materials to choose from, and there are issues such as sustainability, indoor health, and durability to consider. The options can seem daunting.
One way to help narrow your decision is by taking a closer look at the flooring company itself. How environmentally friendly are they? Do they treat their employees fairly? What are their core beliefs? Adding this corporate responsibility filter will not only help rule out those manufacturers that use cheap adhesives and poor quality materials, but it will help bring to light those that are responsible corporate citizens. That’s what we do at TreeHouse, and one of our favorites is the 150-year-old Swedish company Kährs.
“Kährs is one of the oldest wood flooring manufacturers in the world,” says Jesse Arter, TreeHouse’s buyer and merchant. “They have high-quality products, but I also love what they’re doing from an environmental, labor rights, and land rights perspective.”
The company famously generates a biennial environmental overview, which they also call their Conscience Report. The paper focuses on things like Kährs’ management and labor practices as well as its water use, waste efficiencies, and energy practices. It even tracks and accounts for things like transportation impacts and forest management (in 2016 80% of Kahrs wood came from certified European forests).
By paying close attention to every aspect of their business, Kährs (pronounced like “cares”) has discovered some unique opportunities. For example, they regularly measure their power use and look at everything from how much energy they use to keep their kilns fired up to what it takes to run their saws. In their most recent study, they found that the energy they use (100-percent of which is from renewable sources) combined with the biofuel they create, they actually end up with a power surplus in the form of biofuel every year—enough of a surplus to heat 7,400 homes in Sweden.
There’s no question that Kährs is a sustainable company, but what about their products? Do they look good, are they healthy, and will they perform at a high level?
The company has 100s of styles to choose from, and they deal with both commercial and residential clients. All their products meet or exceed European Union and U.S. environmental standards. The wood floors also carry a raft of certifications that ensure health and sustainability, including the Swan Nordic EcoLabel. Getting the Swan stamp of approval means a product has been vetted through perhaps the world’s most stringent set of criteria, including both performance of the floor and how eco-friendly it is to manufacture.
Now through September 30th, 2017 both the Harmony and Smaland lines are 20% off at TreeHouse only. These products are finished with a solvent-free stain. Formaldehyde content is .008 parts per million, exceeding both the World Health Organization’s guidelines and the California Air Resources Board requirement.
Kährs Smaland Collection
To ensure high performance of their floors, Kährs invented a multi-layered engineered product that sandwiches a core of soft wood with two pieces of hardwood (usually oak, ash, or beech). The company is so confident in how their floors perform that they give at least a 25-year warranty on them. They act like solid hardwoods—they are incredibly dent resistant and because of a thick top layer homeowners can sand the floors up to two times to refinish them. But by lessening the hardwood component Kährs can be more sustainable in their forestry practices since hardwoods take much longer to grow.
Kährs Harmony Collection
Typically, homeowners can expect to pay a little more for Kährs than they would for a product at, say, Lumber Liquidators. But that’s because they’re buying health and sustainability along with performance. Plus, at TreeHouse we offer free design service, experienced advice, and we’ll coordinate the installation for you. And through September 30th, 2017 you’ll get 20% off the product and install.
Choices for flooring can be overwhelming, but when you choose Kährs flooring you’re making a healthy choice for the planet and for your home.
To find out more about Kärhs and all your flooring options, sign up below for a free consultation with one of our experts. We’ll give you a call shortly after to schedule your appointment.