Calling Connerie on French Oak Flooring
One of the biggest, if not biggest flooring trends right now is wide plank white oak flooring. It's beautiful, durable, and very low maintenance with the ability to suit any decor. In fact, most of your Pinterest or Houzz projects probably have french oak flooring in them! If you do a quick google search of "French Oak Flooring" you will find hundreds of different websites that claim to sell genuine french oak, but is this a lie? I mean, how can so many companies offer this so called "french oak". The french flooring industry would have to be absolutely massive to keep up with the type of demand.
Naturally, we are obsessed with wide plank white oak and it is something that hits close to home with us. We take pride that all our white oak comes from Pennsylvania ,which aligns with our mission to have all our lumber sourced and made within a 300 mile radius.
Uncovering the Facts about your treasured "French Oak"
The truth is only very small percentage of this french oak flooring is from France. It was very difficult to find specific information on the French Forestry and Hardwood Flooring exports. However, a publication created by a French Ministry of Agriculture from 2012, fills in some blanks for us. In 2010, France exported a total of $18 million euros of assembled wood flooring panels. This is less than 0.085% of the total US flooring Market.It is quite obvious that the "French Oak" flooring is not made in France.
The French Oak Numbers Just don't add up
Since the French oak flooring is not made in France, where is it made? Well let's assume that the French Oak Lumber is being exported to be manufactured in other countries.
Total lumber Exports from France: 400,000 cubic meters
Percentage of Oak Lumber sawn in France: 46%
Assumed Total Oak Lumber Exports: 184,000 cubic meters
1 cubic meter = 423.776 board feet. 184,000 X 423.776 = 77,974,784 board feet
The average manufacturing yield to turn 1 board foot of lumber into 1 square foot of hardwood flooring is 56%
This would mean less than 44 million square feet of hardwood flooring could be produced if all Oak lumber exported from France was made into hardwood flooring. This may seem like a lot but, one single manufacturer of French Oak in Indonesia claims to produce 65 million square feet per year.
Note: We assume that 100% of oak lumber from France is destined to be made into hardwood flooring. French Oak is used for wine barrels, music instruments, furniture, and wood trim. If anything, our calculations are an over estimation.
The point of the calculation? Well to show you that it is absolutely impossible for all the the French Oak marketed as European Crafted French Oak to be from France.
Are you actually getting French Oak?
So who really is selling French Oak? Think you aren't being deceived? You most certainly are. It is extremely upsetting because you as a consumer are making your product selection, with the idea that these companies have your project in their best interest. Fact is, your Craftsman floor you have invested in is probably sourced from Russia and Eastern European Countries from illegally harvested forests and manufactured in China. Sound green to you? Shipping lumber in large container ships across the world from unsustainable forests does not sound green to us.