Tips for using metro Atlanta trees for floors, walls, furniture

Finding sustainable wood for flooring, wall panels, countertops and tables can be as much a design decision as an effort to add an eco-friendly element to a home. The challenge can be locating the wood for hardwood floors and custom details and ensuring that it’s from a local source and not removed from forests.

Eutree (eutree.com), an Atlanta company, works with local tree-cutting services to save logs from the landfill or from becoming mulch. The company turns the logs into lumber for floors, slabs, paneling and other products by working with homeowners, architects and designers.

Sims Acuff, who founded Eutree five years ago, chatted about the process, which reuses some of Atlanta’s mature hardwoods that are removed because of damage and age but can be valuable sources of wood.

Q: Why does this appeal to homeowners?

A: Atlanta’s got a lot of really nice trees, a lot of old growth trees that people care for in their yards for a couple of generations. If they have a tree removed and it has some sentimental value to them, a lot of people want to save it and hope to do something better with it. They can work with us to repurpose their own tree and put it back in their house, as a dining table or hardwood floors or anywhere in between. I call it “root to fruit.” You take somebody’s tree and give it back to them.

Q: Are you using trees just from the Atlanta area?

A: Yes. We work with tree services that target the greater Atlanta area. We are sourcing products from trees (mostly white oak, red oak, pecan and walnut) that are salvaged after they have been removed.

Q: What are the average prices?

A: From $100 to $50,000. It depends on what they want. The price per square foot for hardwood floors or wall paneling is going to be between $5 and $20 a square foot. We do some custom finishing.

Q: What are the biggest misconceptions?

A: People want to sell me their trees. I can’t pick up the tree. I have to direct them to a tree service. They charge $200-$400, depending on pickup.

Q: What would keep you from using the logs?

A: If it’s rotten or full of nails. It depends on what somebody wants to make out of it. Knottier wood can work as a dining room table or as a slab. A knotty log is not going to make a good floor.

Q: What’s a tip if someone wants to use a tree from their yard for a project?

A: Call when you are considering taking tree down. It is always a shame when they call afterward and ask the (tree) company to leave a giant log. The question is how to get it to me. I can’t pick it up. Having a conversation up front before they settle on their tree service can help save some money.

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