Greening a bathroom
September 15, 2008
Remodeling the bath is one of the best ways to improve a home’s value, and using renewable, reclaimed and sustainable materials can enliven the space while making it eco-friendly.
An easy jumping off point for any remodel begins with removing older bathroom features like vinyl flooring and countertops made from petroleum and formaldehyde glues. Safer options now exist, such as tile, bamboo or recycled glass, which add visual interest without bringing in harmful toxins. Marmoleum is a natural linseed oil floor and countertop material offered in many exciting colors; IceStone countertops feature glass and shiny bits of seashells in a durable recycled-resin slab; and Vetrazzo offers large glass aggregate in a cementitious medium, which is also available in a range of colors.
Bamboo is quickly becoming a popular material for bathroom trim, walls, floors and countertops. A rapidly renewable grass, bamboo absorbs VOC-free finishes. A new trend in bathrooms uses translucent materials to filter light while offering privacy. 3form makes amazing panels with bits of leaves, fabrics, textures and colors embedded in the recycled-content plastic.
A cost-effective remodeling option involves adding a fresh coat of paint ” this instantly revives walls and makes ceilings pop. Choose a zero-VOC or low-VOC paint like Yolo or AFM Safecoat to make painting more pleasant and faster drying. ¶ Once the bathroom is remodeled, keep it fresh with non-toxic products and cleaners. The most dangerous substances in many homes are kitchen and bath cleaning supplies. Try using natural products such as Ecover and Seventh Generation for removing stubborn limescale and shower film, shining mirrors and chrome, scrubbing toilet bowls and cleaning floors and countertops.