In the 21st century, as design trends become more and more modern, sleek, and minimalist in their appeal, design materials are trending more towards plastic and other composite materials. Plastic moulding is replacing wood moulding. Metal legs are replacing wooden ones.
It’s an unfortunate side effect of design that just isn’t good for our environment.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Wood is one of the most natural, renewable, and eco-friendly resources available to us as designers and homeowners. Not only that, but it’s also one of the most versatile building materials on the market.
Here are 5 reasons why wood is the ideal building material of choice for the eco-conscious, no matter what you’re building.
1. Wood is eco-friendly
Harvested from the environment around us, wood is an eco-friendly choice for a lot of reasons.
First, trees absorb carbon throughout their life, pulling it from the atmosphere and storing it in their trunks as they grow. After trees are harvested, they continue to store that carbon even after they’ve been turned into beautiful furniture legs, corbels, moulding, and other building materials, effectively pulling carbon from the atmosphere and keeping it out.
Second, wood manufacturing is considered a zero-waste industry. That means that all parts of the trees that we harvest are used to create an end product. For example:
- The majority of a tree is used to make lumber, which we then purchase and use to turn into table legs.
- Rougher cuts are used in things like pallets that we use in freight shipments.
- Finally, leftover materials are used for such things as landscaping materials, fire starter materials, and even in places like stables where horse stalls are bedded in shavings.
Third, wood is biodegradable. Say something bad happens to your furniture, like a table leg breaks and you have to order a new one. What do you do with the old one? You can throw it away without worry, unlike plastic products, some of which can take hundreds of years to decompose.
Fourth and finally, you can buy wood products without worrying about the environmental impact of clear cutting thanks to a process called selective cutting. Stringent third-party certification standards like the FSC C-O-C help to ensure that trees are harvested responsibly and with as little environmental impact as possible. In fact, research suggests that forests regain most of their ability to absorb carbon dioxide soon after the selective cutting process.
2. Wood outlasts many other building materials
To further add to the eco-friendliness of wood, it is one of the longest-lasting building materials. If you’ve ever seen shows such as Antiques Roadshow, American Pickers, or Rehab Addict, then you know that wood products can have a lifespan of decades, and if well cared for, even a century. Even if it hasn’t always been well cared for, as is often the case on Rehab Addict, wood products can be given new life with a little bit of TLC and still be functional and beautiful for years, and even decades, to come.
3. Wood is easy to maintain
In making your home more eco-friendly, you’re probably trying to stay away from cleaning agents with harsh or damaging chemicals. You’ll be happy to learn, then, that wood products are best cared for not with harsh chemicals, but instead with a soft cloth and a wood-specific cleaner. (Honestly, as long as you don’t treat your wood products harshly, aside from dusting from time to time, they’re practically maintenance-free.)
If the product you’re cleaning is used regularly, like the knobs and pulls in your kitchen or the chairs at your dining table, you’ll want to clean them more often than, say, the balusters and newel posts on your staircase.
4. Wood is multi-functional
Wood products can replace many of the plastic products we have in our households. Below is just a selection of the products we offer at Osborne that can replace plastic building materials you have.
- Drawer knobs and pulls
- Toppers and finials
- Decorative columns and posts
- Other decorative elements, such as medallions, inlays, and appliques
- Cabinetry panels & corner posts
- Staircase balusters & newel posts
- Even hardware elements such as table slides and support brackets
5. Wood is easily customizable
Let’s say you broke a table leg on an antique table passed down to you from your great grandmother. There’s no way you can find a stock table leg to match. That’s okay! With our custom quote service, you can send us a photo of one of the intact table legs along with some measurements and what type of wood you want, and we can custom make a table leg for you to match the others and replace the one that broke.
Between wood’s inherent eco-friendliness, durability, easy maintenance, and nearly endless uses, it really is the ideal building material for the eco-conscious builder, designer, or homeowner. You can easily browse our selection of building products on our website, or request a quote on a custom product you’re interested in having us make.