Green HomebuildingHome & Garden

Eco Friendly Flooring + Other Ideas For Your Renovating Kitchen From A DIY Expert

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By Randy

Time for another segment of my recent interview with Paul Ryan of DIY Network’s Kitchen Renovations and Weekend Handyman shows.

Green is the word and Paul has some great ideas when it comes to finding eco-friendly items for your kitchen renovation or homebuilding project.

He offered up a few of those ideas when I spoke to him recently…



Eco-Friendly Kitchen Materials

Randy:  Green is big these days.
Paul:  Yeah

Randy:  Where do you see the impact in the kitchen area?
Paul:  I’m seeing a lot of paint that people are using. It’s no fume or zero fume (zero VOC paint). A lot of people are using that kind of paint.


Recycle And/Or Salvage Things

Paul:  A lot of people that we’re talking to now are recycling. You know, kind of like what’s old is new again.

We had a lady whose kitchen that we were working on and she found a picture frame from Taiwan that was a beautifully ornate piece of wood carving. She actually made a pot rack out of it. She went with sort of a contemporary look in the kitchen but this pot rack fit because it was absolutely beautiful — but it was recycled!


Bamboo Flooring & Bamboo Cabinets

Paul:  A lot of people are using bamboo. Bamboo is a really strong. I can’t call it a wood because it’s actually a grass, but people are putting bamboo flooring in and bamboo cabinets. The reason for that is because it’s a renewable resource and it really grows fast. So people are choosing bamboo over some of the more exotic hardwoods that you might see.

And again… I think we’re seeing people are finding other different items to recycle. They kind of incorporate that into the kitchen. Even it’s a contemporary look, they still want to recycle old items and find a new use for them.


Cork Flooring

Randy:  Do you think cork is used anywhere in the kitchen — cork flooring or anything like that?

Paul:  Yes, I’ve seen a lot of cork flooring.

Randy:  Really?

Paul:  Yeah.. yeah. I’ve probably done 40 kitchens and we’ve probably put cork flooring in 5 of them.

Randy:  Wow.

Paul:  I know! Cork flooring is a natural product. People who want to go green are going with cork because it is a natural product. The one thing about cork is that you have to have a perfectly smooth sub-floor. That’s one of the things that I think, if anything, has deterred people from doing that. It is a lot of prep work. And a lot of times you’ll have to go over your existing sub-floor with 1/8″ birch… 1/4″ birch. And then after you put the birch underlayment down, you actually have to come back with a floor smoothing compound to fill in all of the holes from the screws, staples or whatever you’re putting down. So you make sure it is perfectly smooth because once you get that cork flooring down, if it’s not perfectly smooth — it’s just like VCP flooring (vinyl composite). You’re going to see the bumps. You’re going to see the divots. It’s really it’s painstaking, but cork flooring is really nice. It’s smooth. It’s easy on the feet. The one thing about it, if you have to replace a cork tile, it’s kind of a pain. So the maintenance aspect of it isn’t the greatest. And the other thing that we found with cork flooring is that if you try to seal it yourself, you’d better be good at it because it’s not that easy. A lot of the tiles will come pre-sealed and I would recommend that — because it can be kind of a pain to seal it yourself.

Randy:  I’ve seen cork in one house that I featured, and they used it in the craft room on the floor and also in a large den/entertainment area.

Paul:  Oh sure.

Randy:  And that was down in the basement of the house.

Paul:  Sure.

Randy:  So I guess on a (cement) slab is where it probably works best?

Paul:  I would say so because you’ve got a nice flat surface to work with.




Choose Green

There are plenty of choices of building materials to fill the needs of today’s green homebuilding trends (hopefully not a trend). When you choose eco-friendly materials, you’ll ultimately have less of an impact on the environment — from both the end product and the production of the materials.

If you’re putting your home building plans together, I urge you to explore the plethora of eco-friendly products and ideas that are widely available today. And don’t forget to explore your local building material salvage yards. They are a great resource for cheap materials… and a lot of fun!