Add mulberry to the growing list of trash wood being turned into flooring.
The striking flooring in this photo is made of mulberry branches, a byproduct of the silk industry.
Silk worms exist solely on the leaves of mulberry trees before spinning cocoons of silken thread. The denuded branches are considered industrial waste. But the same process that turns bamboo into woven wood can also be used with mulberry.
The process begins with stripping the bark and cleaning the mulberry branches. The wood is dried and compressed into a very dense log. This log is then dried to a particular moisture level and milled into flooring, which the manufacturer claims is more durable than oak and other hardwoods.
Rich and warm textures and patterns emerge from the milled wood, making every floor unique. Green Choice calls the flooring a lifetime investment and backs that with a lifetime structural warranty.
The flooring comes prefinished and can be maintained with a non-wax wood cleaner. It needs be be buffed and recoated every few years to protect it and keep it looking fresh. Not all bamboo flooring can be refinished, but this manufacturer claims that its mulberry and other flooring can be refinished.
Mulberry grows rapidly, with new branches sprouting almost as soon as the old ones are cut. That makes mulberry flooring an ecologically sound choice on two fronts. Wood that otherwise would be discarded is used for a long-lasting product, and the mulberry tree is replenished easily and quickly.
Michigan-based Green Choice Flooring International also sells woven palm and bamboo flooring as well as mouldings, stair parts and vents.