Learn more about Metropolitan
Read our frequently asked questions for answers to common questions about our brands, products, and the services we offer. Can't find the information you need? Contact us for assistance.
When did Metropolitan enter the flooring industry?
Metropolitan opened its first retail showroom in Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1992. One year later it moved the outlet to Richmond and now operates from design studios and warehouse locations throughout North America. Find a location near you.
What brands of flooring does Metropolitan manufacture and distribute?
Metropolitan manufactures and distributes Kentwood engineered hardwood floors and Evoke luxury vinyl, laminate, rigid core, and Surge® floors.
Does Metropolitan sell its flooring brands direct to consumers?
As a manufacturer and distributor, Metropolitan does not sell its flooring direct to consumers. Our floors can be found and purchased in select dealer showrooms in North America. Find a Kentwood engineered hardwood flooring dealer or an Evoke luxury vinyl, composite, or laminate flooring dealer near you.
What is Metropolitan's environmental position?
At Metropolitan, we believe that responsibly manufactured, premium quality floors represent an excellent choice for today’s environmentally-conscious homeowner.
To ensure that our products meet our standards for quality and sustainability, Metropolitan has a wide ranging corporate environmental program that guides every aspect of our product development and manufacturing operations.
Our basic principles are:
ensuring the long-term sustainability of the world’s forests by promoting responsible forestry, both within our company and throughout the industry
producing only high quality products that deliver high value, long-term performance to our customers to ensure that the resources utilized responsibly
encouraging environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient practices in our manufacturing facilities and in our corporate operations
supporting organizations that promote responsible forestry and land use programs
making the deliberate hard choices based on ethics, knowledge, and science.
What is formaldehyde? Is it harmful? Is it in your floors?
Formaldehyde is an important organic compound that exists naturally in food, the environment, and our bodies. Formaldehyde is biodegradable, meaning that it does not accumulate in the environment and since humans metabolize formaldehyde quickly, it does not accumulate in the body. In fact, the average person processes about 1.5 ounces of formaldehyde each day as part of normal human metabolism.
Formaldehyde is an essential component in making common consumer items, including medicines, vaccines, clothing, paper towels, furniture, cabinets, insulation, and other building products. In the flooring industry, formaldehyde is commonly present in the glue used to make plywood and engineered flooring.
As with many substances, method, quantity and consistency of exposure must be considered. Excessive exposure to formaldehyde, particularly in its gaseous form, may pose some risk to human health, and accordingly some government bodies are taking steps to reduce emissions of formaldehyde from composite wood products.
What is a Formaldehyde Emissions Regulations (FER)?
Formaldehyde Emissions Regulations (FER) include “CARB” (a California state regulation), “TSCA Title VI” (a US Federal regulation) and “CANFER” (the Canadian government regulation on Formaldehyde Emissions in Composite Wood Products). All three regulations govern formaldehyde emissions from the same four categories of composite wood products: plywood, MDF, thin MDF, and particleboard. Emission standards are set at the same level, but the paperwork and administrative burdens differ somewhat.
The California Air Resource Board (CARB) is a state agency that governs everything from truck exhaust emissions to agricultural concerns. In the flooring industry, we know it best for ATCM 93120, the standard establishing limits on formaldehyde emissions for specified composite wood products. This standard is only legally applicable in California, however it became a de facto industry standard in both the US and Canada. CARB’s program was the model for “TSCA Title VI,” created by the US Federal government.
TSCA stands for the Toxic Substances Control Act and is a program supervised by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When spoken, it is often pronounced “TOS-KA.” The original Act was created in 1976 to regulate commercial chemical use and the subsequent amendments to the original Act are called “Titles.” In 2010, Congress passed the “Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act”. The legislation officially added “Title VI” to TSCA, so you will often see this particular program referred to as TSCA VI or TSCA Title VI.
CANFER is the Canadian Formaldehyde Emissions Regulation. TSCA Title VI certification is recognized by CANFER as a valid option for compliance.
When you see a label on our finished engineered wood flooring that says it is CARB/TSCA/CANFER Compliant, it indicates that it was made using a core of CARB/TSCA/CANFER certified material and meets the documentary burden these programs require.
What is CA 01350?
The California Section 01350 standard (usually referred to as “Thirteen-Fifty” in conversation) is a voluntary program that goes well beyond the FERs. Most importantly, it tests the finished floor as it will be installed in your home, not just the core. It checks levels many additional VOC's and allows a fraction of the formaldehyde emissions than the FERs do.
CA 01350 is recognized by LEED, WELL, CHPS, and other green building programs as the standard for good indoor air quality. CA 01350 is the basis for many name-branded emissions programs.
What is GREENGUARD?
GREENGUARD is a low emissions certification program owned and managed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), one of the largest and most respected product safety organizations in the world. GREENGUARD has two certification levels: GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold. Metropolitan’s GREENGUARD certified products have achieved Gold status.
GREENGUARD Gold certification complies with CA 01350 but under stricter certification requirements than any other branded emissions program. In addition to meeting CA 01350 requirements, it also establishes a very low Total VOC level and sets emissions for specific VOCs at 1/100th of the US Federal Government’s Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for occupational exposure. In UL’s words, GREENGUARD Gold certification is “designed to define low-emitting materials suitable for environments where people, particularly children and sensitive adults, spend extended periods of time, in particular schools and healthcare facilities.” For more information visit ul.com/gg.
What is LEED?
LEED (which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a program developed by the US Green Building Council to encourage environmentally-responsible building design, construction and operation.
Buildings that qualify for the program are given a LEED Certification based on how many credits the project earns. There are four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Credits can be earned in a variety of different categories that cover all aspects of a building’s design and construction, including material choices and performance, as well as the ongoing operations after occupancy.
The LEED program is most well known for commercial, public and multi-unit residential projects, but it can also be applied to single family homes. The LEED program has won a lot of support among developers because it offers a comprehensive, third party validation of a project’s green features and verifies that the building is operating exactly the way it was designed to.
LEED recognizes compliance with CA 01350 as a qualifying attribute for their Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) credit categories. That means virtually every floor we sell is LEED compliant for IEQ. And if you choose to build under another green building standard, it will likely also recognize CA 01350 and other good attributes of our floors as well.
Do your floors have antibacterial or antimicrobial finishes?
We have chosen not to follow the industry trend of adding antibacterial or antimicrobial material into our finishes. We feel there is insufficient science regarding both the long-term health risks and the actual effectiveness. Further, many of these additives are utilized as “nano-particles,” a type of material which has not been well studied and is almost completely unregulated.
Many medical professionals and government agencies have expressed a concern about developing “super bugs,” resistant to available surface treatments. If the finish “kills 99% of bacteria,” that remaining 1% is likely to dominate in the future. Since regular cleaning is equally or more effective than adding a pesticide to the surface of the floor, we choose not to help inoculate bacteria and other microbes.
For more information, we recommend reading:
Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Antimicrobials
Do Antimicrobial Building Products Protect Against COVID-19?
Antimicrobial Resistance - World Health Organization
We don’t want to profit on the fear created by COVID-19. Regular cleaning, rather than untested additives, remains your best defense.
Do your vinyl floors (luxury vinyl or rigid core) contain phthalates or heavy metals?
Media reports have led to some confusion and concern regarding the use of phthalates in the production of vinyl flooring products. Phthalates are a class of chemical plasticizers that are used to make vinyl more flexible.
All Evoke luxury vinyl and rigid core vinyl is produced as PFI, which means “Phthalate-Free Inputs.” This is an environmental trade-off: The use of recycled content keeps old material out of landfills but in turn restricts production control. However, given the concern of the possible presence of phthalates or heavy metals in some of the older vinyl products, we decided to utilize only virgin content.
There are no heavy metals used in the production of our vinyl products. As a note, we don’t use formaldehyde either, but that’s not something special—formaldehyde would not be a common component in vinyl flooring production.
Where can I get an MSDS/SDS for your floors?
As a starting note, the MSDS has been replaced with the “Safety Data Sheet” (SDS) which follows a uniform pattern established by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) standard. MSDSs had no uniformity in information or structure and the GHS was developed specifically to tackle the growing global issue of confusion between regulatory bodies around the world.
We have found that when our customers request SDSs for floorings, what they are usually looking for is information that is not routinely included in an SDS, such as VOC emissions levels and product certifications, finish warranties, installation instructions, or other technical information. You will find this type of SKU-specific information on the product pages of our brands’ respective websites and in our Kentwood Doing Better or our Evoke Doing Better material. There is no active or reactive chemical aspect to our flooring that would require an SDS warning for consumers.
For professional-use products, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazardous Communication Standard, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1200, requires that manufacturers provide SDSs for hazardous chemical substances used in the workplace or when the downstream processing of a product can potentially create hazardous exposures.
Professional installers of wood flooring products may be exposed to wood dust on a regular basis and therefore we have provided SDSs for our wood floors (engineered and laminate) stating that wood dust is a health hazard. Although OSHA does not regulate the consumer use of products, if a homeowner is installing a hardwood or laminate floor personally, we recommend wearing a dust mask in order to limit exposure to wood dust.
Our vinyl flooring products do not contain wood and therefore are exempt from OSHA’s occupational warning rules as “articles” that do not have the potential to cause occupational exposures under normal conditions of use and do not need an associated SDS.