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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Iversen

HempWOOD® | A New Healthy Eco-Friendly Wood Flooring Choice Made From Hemp Fibers

By Michelle Ifversen, Design Well Studios

What could be better for people, place, and planet?

How about healthy, sustainable wood flooring? Hempwood is a company that manufactures hemp to create non toxic, pre engineered wood floors and lumber products. They are beautiful, non toxic, durable and sustainable! Your floor covers a lot of surface area, so it’s important to get the best materials. Also, super important to use non toxic adhesives if you need them, like AFM Safecoat’s Almighty Adhesive. If you don’t the traditional adhesives can off gas for many years contributing to chronic asthma, especially in children.

Why is this important?

Most of the homes that we inspect and the tests we do for formaldehyde and VOCs (ie Chemicals that off gas in the air) come back super high when there is new flooring made from vinyl. Vinyl chloride was the deadly toxic chemical that was in the train that derailed and spilled in East Palestine Ohio February 3, 2023. Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas used in making plastic products, like vinyl plank flooring.

Vinyl plank flooring or LVP is made up mostly of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The US government now has regulations against the use of harmful materials in everyday items, such as BPA in plastic bottles or lead in paint. Unfortunately, no restrictions exist regarding the use of polyvinyl chloride and other toxic chemical compounds in some flooring materials. Numerous tests have shown that Polyvinyl Chloride Flooring is harmful and that luxury vinyl is toxic, but what exactly does that mean, and how can it make your flooring dangerous? Polyvinyl chloride is a known carcinogen and contains health and environmental toxins such as dioxin and phthalates. While dioxin is generally only released when exposed to heat, such as during the manufacturing process, it poses a lesser threat to you and your family’s health. The phthalates in the flooring, however, can become a significant problem for you and your family. While many phthalates have regulations prohibiting them from being used in children’s toys and other examples, no current regulations are banning or limiting their use in vinyl flooring products.

Credit...Lucy Schaly/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via Associated Press

A worker specializing in hazardous waste abatement works near last months disaster in Ohio. The East Palestine spill affected about seven and a half miles of stream, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and killed an estimated 3,500 fish as of Feb. 8, mostly small suckers, minnows, darters and sculpin. Residents have reported dead or sickened chickens and other animals.

HempWood® is committed to providing healthy building materials that are good for the environment. With climate concerns at an all-time high, we are continuing to stick by our word and pioneer the way to healthy building materials. HempWood can be used for anything that wood typically is, like construction materials.

HempWood® transforms hemp fibers and protein based bonding agents through patented processes utilizing biomimicry. This creates a viable wood substitute for anything solid oak can be used for. *Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges—and find hope.

HempWood® uses PureBond FSC® Plywood in their flooring and operates their facilities at a carbon-negative rate. From the Environmental Product Declaration to the responsibly sourced materials, here are the steps they are taking to support our planet:

  • Hemp Is Good For The Planet Hemp is a powerful plant. Estimates show that for every ton of hemp grown 1.62 tons of carbon dioxide is removed! All hemp is sourced within 100 miles of Murray, KY. All hemp growth and material production is conducted in the United States of America. They help to eliminate deforestation by growing hemp through sustainable methods.

  • Biofuel Transitioning to zero waste starts with repurposing unsuitable material. The bio burier utilizes waste hemp to fuel the facility with heat energy.

  • Hydro Power Hempwood headquarters is supplied with hydropower, lessening its dependence on fossil fuels.

  • No VOCs Hempwood doesn’t use any formaldehyde in their adhesives at all! They use Cargill Prolia Soy Flour which has no VOCs. They use FSC-Certified Purebond Polar Plywood for flooring & panels.

credit: HempWOOD®

  • Custom Color Collection, which includes the choice of Espresso, Bourbon, Ice, Granite, Carbon, and Cherry. It is also available unfinished, so you can create any finish you like using safe and healthy finishing products. It can be installed using nails, so no adhesives to off gas into your environment.

How They Make It

The process of creating HempWood® Natural Flooring starts in the field. All hemp is sourced within 100 miles of the factory from local farmers. After the hemp is collected, a plant-based adhesive is used to bind full-length fiber hemp stalks. After the hemp stalks and plant-based adhesive are combined, the material is compressed and baked to form HempWood® Blocks. From the Blocks, 4mm HempWood® veneers are cut for the top layer of the engineered flooring. For the substrate, a 5-layer PureBound® Hardwood Plywood is used. The plywood is ethically sourced from Columbia Forest Products, which is located in West Virginia. By using PureBound® Plywood, we are able to maintain our eco-friendly mission and support the American economy. After cutting the veneers and ripping the plywood, our flooring is assembled with the help of our PUR glue line. After adhering the HempWood® veneer to the Purebond® Plywood, a tongue and groove profile is cut into the flooring. The boards are then sanded, finished, and surveyed for any blemishes. Our quality control team hand-checks each board and ensures that our flooring upholds our standards of hardness, durability, and beauty. HempWood® Natural Flooring is offered in three options: Site-finished, Natural, and our Custom Color Collection. HempWood® Natural Flooring offers durability and strength all while maintaining an eco-friendly mission and ultra-low VOCs.

Their Kentucky Plant

For almost a century the United States made industrial hemp illegal until an amendment to the 2014 version of the Farm Bill changed all of that by allowing the growth of industrial hemp by state-run research programs. Since then, an increasing number of states began allowing larger scale industrial hemp facilities to begin operations. After an exhaustive search for the right location for a brand new 16,500 Sq. ft. pilot plant, they settled on Murray, Kentucky. The state and local officials have been very supportive of the endeavor. They are looking forward to the economic benefits that the new facility will bring to the area. Transform your home or business with HempWood Natural Flooring! This American-made floor covering goes from seed to floor within 150 days – that’s faster than bamboo! And, with a Janka hardness rating of 2,200 lbf, this engineered hardwood is ready to withstand what life has to offer. Yes, including pet nails. Not to mention, HempWood Natural Flooring is a USDA Certified BioBased product and is carbon-negative from cradle to gate.

Contact DesignWell Studios for samples of HempWood, healthy finishes and colors, pricing, and ordering!

By Michelle Ifversen, Founder of Design Well Studios for HealthyHOME™ Media.

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