Architectural Systems Inc. - Hardwood FAQs

ASK THE MATERIAL EXPERT About ASI Hardwood Flooring

Click on question to reveal the answer. If you have additional questions, contact sales@archsystems.com for an expert answer!

Q: My projects often require me to specify FSC®-certified wood. What is the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council™) and the importance of FSC®-certified products?

A: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) is a non-profit, international body which accredits certification to organizations in order to guarantee the authenticity of their claims. The goal of the FSC® is to promote environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests, by establishing a worldwide standard of recognized and respected principals of forest stewardship.

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Architectural Systems is Chain of Custody (CoC) certified, the verified path taken by raw materials harvested from an FSC®-certified source through processing, manufacturing and distribution through to the end use. Valid FSC® Certificate holders are permitted to utilize the FSC® product label on their products and use the FSC® logo and trademarks in promotion of their items.

Using FSC®-certified wood can earn an MR (Materials and Resources) Credit 7 towards a project applying for LEED® certification (See LEED® points for Hardwood below).

Q: Which types of FSC®-certified Products are available from Architectural Systems and what do I need to know when specifying them?

A: ASI offers an unprecedented selection of FSC®-certified wood flooring in many species. If a collection offers FSC®-certified woods, it will be indicated under the Specifications. Lead times and pricing will vary based on the quantity and species ordered, and their availability. For complete details, please contact sales@archsystems.com.

Q: Which LEED® points can ASI Hardwoods qualify for?

A: The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) rating system is a performance oriented system where credits are earned for satisfying criteria designed to address specific environmental impacts inherent in the design, construction, operation
and maintenance of buildings. Different levels& of LEED® building certification are awarded based on the total credits earned.

Below are LEED® credits to which ASI Hardwoods may apply. LEED® points are listed under the specifications on each collection's Web page.

  • Rapidly Renewable Materials - materials and products made from plants that are typically harvested
    within a 10-year or shorter cycle (MR Credit 6)
  • Regional Materials – Extracted, processed and manufactured regionally, within 500 miles of the job
    site (MR credit 5.1 and 5.2)
  • Recycled Materials – Use materials with recycled content such that the sum of post-consumer 
    recycled content plus one-half of the post-industrial content constitutes at least 10% of the total
    value of the materials in the project (MR Credit 4.1 and 4.2)
  • Low-Emitting Materials – Adhesives and Sealants (EQ credit 4.1)
  • Low-Emitting Materials – Paints and Coatings (EQ credit 4.2)
  • Low-Emitting Materials – Composite Wood and Laminate Adhesives (EQ credit 4.4)
  • Certified Wood – Use a minimum of 50% of wood-based products and materials that are certified 
    in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s™ Principles and Criteria (MR Credit 7)
  • Innovation in Design – Exceptional performance above the requirements set by the LEED® Green Building
        Rating System and/or innovative performance in Green Building categories not specifically addressed by
        LEED® (ID Credit 1)

Q: What is the Lacey Act and which ASI Hardwood collections comply?

A: The Lacey Act is a law, first enacted in 1900, that prohibits the sale or trade of plants and wildlife that were obtained illegally. In 2008, the Farm Bill expanded the Act’s protection to a broader range of plants and plant products (including timber) and these certain plant products now require an import declaration form stating it was harvested responsibly, if coming from outside of the United States.

All of the ASI Hardwood collections are Lacey Act compliant, and many of them have additional sustainable attributes, such as GreenGuard certification and are CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliant.

Q: Which is best for my project, solid or engineered wood flooring?

A: First, a little history. In the beginning, there was wood. Traditional wood plank flooring has some drawbacks though, including price, dimensional stability, consistent color and grain, not to mention environmental degradation. Engineered wood flooring developed to satisfy the need for a more cost effective, stable and consistent product that would utilize less of our dwindling premium hardwood supply, while still retaining the natural warmth, workability and character of a solid hardwood material.

Solid Hardwoods are simply that - choice precision milled woods through and through. Collections of solid hardwoods offered by ASI includes Estado Solid Hardwoods, Serenity® Solid Hardwoods , Americana Hardwoods and Reclaimed Timber Flooring.

Engineered is defined as flooring in which the wear layer (the upper or visible layer) is made from choice hardwood while the core and back are made from layers of less valuable and more stable woods. These various layers are then bonded together and machined into flooring. Engineered flooring, due to its superior stability, is ideal for glue-down and floating installations, and its consistency and ease of maintenance make it a popular choice for commercial installations. Collections of engineered flooring offered by ASI include Grenada HardwoodsPacifica HardwoodsShore Hardwoods, Chelsea Hardwoods, Serenity® Engineered HardwoodsMetropolitan Hardwood CollectionChalet Hardwood Collection. Mountain Lodge Hardwoods, Artisanal Hardwoods and Hudson Valley Hardwoods.

Q: What is the difference among the grades and grain selections in ASI Hardwood Flooring?

A: ASI Hardwood Flooring, solid and engineered, is available in different wood grades. For some species, the graining of the wood can also be specified. In general, there are three major hardwood flooring grades: Clear, Select and Natural.

Clear grade is the highest grade available and offers the most uniform look. Clear grade is achieved by carefully selecting planks or veneers, rejecting any pieces with defects such as knots, splits, checks, worm holes, excessive mineral streaks or contrasting sapwood. Clear grade is also selected for color, and any pieces that are are outside of the middle color range of the wood species are rejected.

Select grade is the second highest, and, like Clear grade, does not allow any defects, but does allow a greater range of the color and grain found in a wood species. Select grade may include some Clear grade material during the selection process.

Natural grade allows some minimal defects, such as small knots, splits, checks, worm holes, mineral streaks and sapwood. Natural grade also allows the full range of color and grain in a wood species.

Graining refers to the texture of the wood. Different effects can be achieved, depending on how the wood is milled. For specific effects it is important to specify both grade and graining.

Special grain selections include:

Rift & Quartered is a straight grain which contains pieces both with and without rays/flecks.

Flat Sawn/Plain Sawn is the most textured grain in appearance, and is the most commonly specified.

Q: What types of finishing options are available when I specify hardwood flooring?

A: ASI recommends factory applied finishing, or 'prefinished' wood flooring, for most commercial flooring applications. Prefinished flooring makes for easier, faster installation, reducing labor costs on the job site. Finishes applied and cured in the factory increase the durability and life-span of hardwood flooring.

A High Wear Anti-Scratch U.V. finish is a mixture of suspended aluminum oxide and ceramic particles in a standard U.V. acrylic urethane resin base. These suspended particles provide superior abrasion resistance, seven times greater than a standard U.V. finish. An anti-scratch resin top coat provides a smooth, clear surface, and allows for re-screening and recoating when necessary. Nine finishing coats are fully cured at the factory using U.V. (ultraviolet) light. Browse ASI Hardwood options to find the prefinished product that's right for your project.

Colored stains can also be factory applied, and are recommended to create a customized look for the interior environment you are specifying materials for. Stains can also deepen the tone of natural wood flooring and create a more monochromatic appearance. Maple and Oak species typically take stain the best. Minimum quantities may apply. Contact us with your project criteria.

Gloss levels refer to the sheen on the surface of the wood, and are identified as percentages. A low level, matte sheen is used to create a worn-in appearance. A satin or semi-gloss finish is standard for most ASI Hardwood flooring, and is maintained by adhering to a regular maintenance program.

Q: The hardwood flooring that was installed during the summer appears now to be curling up on the edges. What is causing this and is there a way to have this repaired?

A: Usually, the most common issues that occur on hardwood flooring (a natural product) are cupping and crowning, typically due to high humidity environments. Cupping is when the wood plank forms a concave surface because the bottom of the wood is wetter than the top. To repair a cupped floor, you must first identify and eliminate the source of the moisture, then either let it dry out on its own over time or speed up the process using fans. After the wood has completely dried, you may choose to recoat the floor, sand and refinish, or keep the floor as is.

Crowning is the other extreme where convex surfaces are formed because the center of the wood boards is higher than its edges. This can develop when the top of the wood floor receives a lot of moisture, or more commonly, if the floor was sanded too soon, before the boards had a chance to dry and flatten out completely. 

It is important to realize and accept that some slight cupping and crowing may occur naturally, more commonly in wider planks.You can minimize your chances of this happening by using beveled-edge flooring with a satin finish and making sure that the hardwood floor installer follows NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) guidelines for installation.

Q: What is the recommended maintenance for hardwood flooring?

A: The long-term maintenance of flooring products is a primary factor in material selection. Issues such as budget, aesthetic and life cycle are often discussed, however the development and discussion of maintenance requirements in partnership with the client is equally key. Hard surface flooring types - woodresilient and stone, each have their own general maintenance requirements. Here are some general guidelines and specific maintenance information for hardwood flooring.

• For all floors, the use of 'walk-off' mats or doormats is advised, protecting the floor surface - an interior material - from the grit and grime carried from the outside.

• Depending on the porosity of the flooring product, water can stain and/or warp a floor. All hard surface floors become slippery when wet, and caution should always be taken with spills, on wet days and when cleaning with water to prevent accidents.

• Sliding or rolling objects or furniture directly on any hard surface floor damages the finish and can sometimes cause irreparable damage to the material itself. Use of furniture protectors or hardboard when moving is always recommended.

• Daily cleaning is recommended for all types of hard surface flooring.

New finishing technology for wood flooring has greatly improved its surface strength. Prefinished solid and engineered wood flooring contains aluminum oxide particles, which offers increased protection against scratching and wear. Wood flooring, a natural product, is still susceptible to damage from foot traffic, particularly the ever popular women's stiletto heel!

The goal for flooring specification, installation and maintenance is to take into consideration the life cycle of the material, and develop a strategic program for care that will retain the design aesthetic of the project. Contact sales@archsystems.com to discuss your project criteria.

Q: Is it possible to value-engineer with ASI Hardwood, if necessary?

A: Value-engineering, by definition, is engineering a product to better match its function, thus creating a desirable ratio of value to cost. It is of primary importance that quality and aesthetic not be compromised as a consequence. Value engineering can reduce costs and maintain quality when introduced throughout the phases of a project. Timely evaluation of design decisions - as well as communication with your supplier - ultimately results in the protection of your design intent through the use of material alternates. 

There is typically more than one type of flooring material that meets design, budget and performance criteria. Value-engineering does not mean compromising on these criteria, but using them as tools to select the right material for the project application.

 Case Study: Marriott Grande Dunes

Featuring Grenada Hardwoods — Red Oak FLQHW002

The design intent on the high-profile Marriott Grande Dunes resort project was to create an upscale, authentic country club feel. The design team was looking for a rustic wood floor product with rich coloration. The budget allowed for an engineered wood floor, a cost-effective alternative to a solid hardwood material. A weathered, wide-plank, prefinished engineered Red Oak was supplied, meeting not only aesthetic but also performance and budgetary requirements.