Sunday, September 7, 2008

Truly Green Remodeling (and Loving White Floors)

Although I am amazingly happy that the term "green remodeling" is finally entering the common lexicon, I think that it might be a bit misguided. For one thing, I think when most people hear that term, it brings up images of bamboo floors, solar panels, LEED certification. All good things. But. To me, "green remodeling" means the kind of remodeling that puts as little as possible into the landfill and that requires as little as possible new stuff. Less trash. Less new stuff.

With that in mind, we are undertaking a bit of a "green remodel" in our little 100-year old house. Although we have great floors on our first floor (we think it is the original flooring, refinished), our second floor had carpeting when we moved in. After reading all the awful things about what gathers in carpets after a few years (dust & dust mites, allergens, chemicals from your shoes, mold, read more here) - and my little dog's recent coughing fits - we decided that the carpets must go. Like yesterday. We pondered on what to replace them with that would have the least environmental impact.

Our first inclination was to explore something like bamboo or cork flooring. Even though much greener than regular wood flooring, it doesn't really live up to the idea of reducing as much new stuff as possible. And, it was sort of pricey. Then, we decided to sign up on the waiting list for reclaimed flooring from Community Forklift. Reclaimed flooring is flooring saved from the landfill by being removed gently when someone decides to replace their old floors, or if an old house is demolished (this is different than remilled flooring, which is made from non-floor wood from houses and barns). You can get a variety of wood floors this way, but they usually need to be refinished. Anyway, we signed up, not knowing how long we would have to wait - although the nice volunteer promised that it wouldn't be too long.

One afternoon, when I was away at an appt., the beau got a fit of energy and decided to remove the carpet in the bedroom, even though we didn't have any flooring yet. Lo and behold, the floor underneath (just plywood) was not that bad. Which gave us an inspiration, why not just sand what we ended up with and and paint it? It would be much cheaper than installing and refinishing the salvaged floors or getting the bamboo. Plus, the only new things we would need would be some paint and sealer.

I have been having dreams of white floors ever since the carpet went bye-bye (oh, and yes, it was unfortunate that the carpet had to hit the landfill, but there is really nothing you can do with carpet that has lived for 4 years with 4 pets and 2 long haired humans). Here are some great images that I have been salivating over (some from Apartment Therapy, some from A Cup of Jo, and some from Desire to Inspire):

And I will definitely keep you all in the loop as we move forward (before and after photos to come!)


TPWP said...

I love white floors! Looking forward to your pics..

Anonymous said...

I will be looking forward to some pics too. And if possible a little "how to" information.
It never occurred to me using the painted subfloor as the actual floor. I love the idea.

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