CARB stands for California Air Resources Board. It is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. CARB staffs conduct inspections on raw composite wood panels and finished products sold or used in California to make sure they are safe for use. They also check for proper labels, invoices or bills of lading, and may perform further testing to ensure compliance with California’s Composite Wood Products Regulation (CWP Regulation).
California’s CWP Regulation has a specified set of standards called Phase II which replaced Phase I standards that were introduced in 2009. Phase II standards are much more stringent and require that all finished goods, such as flooring, destined for sale or use in California to be made using complying composite wood products. Any product that does not comply with Phase II standards will not be certified and cannot be legally sold and bought in California.
Manufacturers of flooring are not required to be CARB Certified but they are required to produce their flooring using certified compliant composite wood products (e.g. High-Density Fiberboards, plywood). Although not required, we have always been voluntarily following CWP Regulation guidelines for CARB II compliance to protect the health of our customers.
Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that exists naturally in the environment. It is present in the air we breathe, exhaust fumes, wood smoke, tobacco smoke, etc. It is widely used in the production of synthetic resin, paper, paints, lubricants, cosmetics, and even medicines. As you can see, formaldehyde can be found in many of the products we use regularly. Many people are concerned that it may cause cancer but very few understand that harmful effects from this gas are only probable when one is exposed to it at extremely high concentration levels.
When searching for flooring, you need to keep in mind that it is impossible for a product to be completely formaldehyde free. This is because the synthetic resin is needed to make the High-Density Fiberboard (HDF) cores which are commonly used for Engineered Hardwood and Laminates. Solid Hardwoods, although do not have an HDF core will still have formaldehyde due to the fact that a small amount exists naturally in all wood materials. As a manufacturer, we make sure that the formaldehyde emission levels of our products are kept at a very low level which is safe for our customers.
The color variation ratings serve only as guides. Wood is a natural material containing distinctive differences in color, texture, and grain. Therefore, no two planks will be exactly the same. The differences caused by nature create the warmth, beauty, and uniqueness of each hardwood floor. Room scenes and actual hardwood floor samples are intended as a visual guide and not as the actual representation of the hardwood floor.
Selected styles are produced by a unique thermal process to achieve deep rich color visuals. Wood is a natural product and each plank will react differently to this process resulting in color variations. This kind of variation helps to display the true wood characters and is one of the most desired attributes in hardwood flooring. This unique process highlights light to dark color tones that complement each other in your home. To help you pick out the perfect flooring that fits your design styles, featured products are labeled with either a V3 or V4 rating. Products with a V3 rating have moderate color variation and color differences are apparent but not excessive. Products with a V4 rating have substantial color variation and colors can vary extensively from plank to plank.
V Ratings serve only as guidelines. Before you install any flooring product, we recommend that you rack out a box or two to verify that the product you have ordered has a color range that meets your expectations. All natural products must be inspected and approved by the consumer for color and grade prior to installation. Any flooring installed will be considered acceptable. No claims will be allowed based on visible appearance after installation.
Wood has been used for construction and flooring for centuries due to its reliability and adaptive characteristics. When thermal treated, wood becomes even better with increased dimensional stability and about 50% fewer movements such as warping and swelling. Some of our higher end hardwood flooring collections are produced using thermal treatment. The process involves heating the wood several times in special chambers without oxygen. This is to prevent the wood from catching fire. During the process, several important things happen: 1) the wood becomes anhygroscopic meaning it will no longer absorb moisture from the air. 2) Hemicellulose, a food source for fungi and mildews, disintegrates making the wood less susceptible to rotting. 3) Sugar in the wood is caramelized providing a range of rich colors without the use of any harsh chemicals. Thus, creating eco-friendly floorings that can be installed in more humid environments and even commercial spaces with strict non-flammable regulations.