Urban timber’s value overlooked by homeowners, builders

Why are trees perfect for reuse simply felled and mulched?

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

"The flooring was made from trees we cut down before we built our house," the homeowner proudly told her guests. "Top that for cachet!" she added to herself. Our catty homeowner is correct. Flooring made from the trees on your building site or from trees that your city had to remove is very unusual. But not because such wood is rare. To the contrary, the number of hardwood trees cut every year by municipalities and private homeowners is huge. If the logs were sawn into boards instead of being mulched or tossed into a landfill, the volume, in board feet, would be equal to about two-thirds the amount of hardwood lumber produced annually in the United States, said Stephen Bratkovich, a forest products specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service in St. Paul, Minn. Sensing a potential home builder bonanza -- hardwood is used for floors, doors, trim and cabinetry as well as furniture -- I set out to find out why such a vast wood source has not been tapped. After inte...