An Open Letter to the Members of
The American Institute of Architects and the Construction Specifications Institute

The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) is dedicated to the sustainable use of America’s forest lands, while providing the forest products critical to the nation’s well-being.  Since 1897, MFMA has been recognized as the authoritative source of technical and general information on maple flooring.  MFMA and its members are committed to providing the highest quality maple flooring manufactured from America’s forests.  We need your help to continue to do so for years to come.

More than one million Americans are directly employed in the forest products industry. Many millions more, employed in the home construction, home furnishing, transportation and heavy equipment industries, owe their jobs to this one basic industry that converts harvested timber to finished products.  The stewardship of raw materials is the responsibility of every one of us in the industry, including you. 

For many years, maple flooring has been specified and manufactured in several standard widths and thicknesses.  Certain sizes are specified based on subfloor configurations, adjacent flooring profiles, anticipated end-uses and performance characteristics.  With recent advances in flooring system technology, many specification choices have been simplified.  “Over-engineering” of wood flooring systems is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

One example of “over-engineering” is the use of 33/32” thick maple flooring in athletic facility applications.  Years ago, architects and specifiers required this product to be used on many installations to ensure structural stability and (assuming regular periodic resurfacing) to add years to the floor’s life span.  Over the past twenty years, MFMA manufacturers have invested heavily in the research of structural stability and performance issues for athletic flooring applications.  As a result, most of the integrated flooring systems produced today do not rely in large part on the surface maple for structural stability and system performance.  Subfloor design is the key.

The overall consensus, there are up to six sands available in a 25/32" thick maple floor, if the floor is sanded at reasonable frequency and is maintained and sanded by a knowledgeable skilled flooring contractor and does not suffer any environmental or abuse damage.  The general average of 8 to 12 years for owners having their floors sanded results in a typical average life span in excess of 75 years.  It is not uncommon for a 33/32” floor to last more than 100 years.

In 1997,  MFMA statistics showed that less than one percent of replacement floors were necessitated by depleted wear surface on the existing floor.  Floors are far more commonly replaced due to flooding, improper facility maintenance and even building demolition/replacement than are replaced due to the “wearing out” of the surface.  Simply stated, the specification and use of 33/32” thick maple flooring is in many cases a waste of a natural resource.

We’re asking for your cooperation in limiting the specifying of 33/32” thick MFMA maple flooring to projects for which it is truly necessary.  By reducing the number of installations for which this type of “over-engineering” is currently being done, we can reduce the waste of a natural resource and to allow the supply of maple hardwood to exist in perpetuity.

There are 730 million acres of forests in the U.S. -- one-third of the country’s land.
Each day, the forest industry, together with federal and state forest agencies, plants over 6 million more trees.  Together we are making significant progress in perpetuating this resource.  The next time you are considering premium flooring choices for a project, please take a moment to think about these issues, and specify your MFMA maple systems with care. 

Thanks for your continued confidence in MFMA maple flooring, and for your concern and assistance with this issue.


The Members of the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association

Disclaimer: The MFMA provides general information to architects, specifiers and consumers. The MFMA, its members, officers and agents disclaim any responsibility whatsoever for the accuracy or applicability of these guidelines under all circumstances and conditions.
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