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Basement Renovations

Is a Green Bathroom Remodel in Your Future? It’s Easier Than You Think!

If you’re planning a bathroom remodel in the near future, why not explore the new products and materials designed and produced to save money and save the environment? No longer in the expensive category of only a few years ago, these new products and materials compete very well with everything else out there. And when you compare the cost advantages over time, the allowances offered by manufacturers and the government, its crazy not to at least consider a green bathroom remodel.
Toilets, for instance, have come a long way, baby! Today you can’t even buy one that uses 3-plus gallons of water to flush. And, if you recall the buzz about the inefficiency of the newer “low flow” models of a couple of years ago, you’re operating on a false premise. A green bathroom remodel wouldn’t be complete without looking into a new toilet! New designs, larger discharge and smarter manufacturing provides toilets with operations that match their older counterparts flush by flush. In fact, you probably won’t even notice you’re doing your part for the planet when you flip the lever!
Your bathroom vanity countertop can also now be made to be both beautiful and Earth loving with the use of recycled materials. These include recycled glass, scrap aluminum, concrete and (if you can believe it) old recycled paper. Some very attractive countertops today are made by combining paper, fly ash-a by-product of coal combustion-and an eco-binder, such as epoxy. You may have even had a morning cup of coffee at a favorite bistro on a paper countertop and not know it! Some are made entirely of recycled glass, with a new unique look and are comparable in cost, strength, heat resistance and durability to granite.
The bathroom floor is getting some attention, too. Linoleum, invented in 1863 (think Civil War) now has some real competition. New types are so healthy for us and our environment that they cover the floors of many large Health Care facilities and hospitals. There are even floors made by using a pressed combination of burlap, canvas, linseed oil and flour! Almost makes me hungry. Laminate flooring can be manufactured to look like almost anything and tiles are made in a wild array of planet friendly styles and textures. Even the rugs have gone green!
What about the walls? Your green bathroom remodel could even mean painting the walls… er… green. How about soy based paint? Clay paint, which can look like adobe is a natural choice and one that will give the room a rustic or Tuscan feel. You can have your milk and paint it too… by using all natural organic milk paint. Not only do these paints look beautiful, but they last as long or longer than regular latexes. Also, new paints are coming on the scene all the time to not only make your home brilliant, but many are made to fight germs and reduce mold and mildew!
Low flow, water saving faucets and shower heads are designed now to feel just like the old kind, but use much less water. This is due to atomizers and pulsators that mix air and H2O and reduce the actual amount being delivered. This not only saves water, but the energy to heat the water as well. And, the new designs are very cool, with new materials and finishes to match anything!
So, before you start in on that bathroom remodel, think about making it a green bathroom remodel. Take a look around your bath and see what you can do to bring that room into the twenty first century! Then go spend some time in a big box retailer or plumbing or bath fixture store. See what they have to offer and how you can save some money and the planet while you’re there.…

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Basement Renovations

Vinyl Tile Flooring – The Challenge

If you’ve ever tried to install vinyl tile, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say, “It’s not as easy as it looks”. While vinyl tile is a very good flooring choice, it’s good looking, very sturdy, warmer on the feet then regular tile (ceramic), and can be installed without a rigid subfloor (unlike ceramic). When installed and sealed properly, it can last for years, giving a warm welcoming look to any mudroom, basement, or laundry room.
Now let’s talk about the installation process. First of all, you must have the floor perfectly flat, no exceptions. The vinyl floor melds itself to the existing floor, whether that floor is flat, or bumpy and uneven. Once you have the floor perfect, then you’ve got to make sure you’re able to put all the glue down, only to have to leave the job for a few hours, so you can come back and finally install the tile. After the vinyl tile has been installed, you need to rent a roller to press it tight to the floor, than clean all the dirt and grime that may have accumulated during the installation process. Now you’re ready to seal the tile. Going over it twice is recommended. Mop the solution on, wait for it to dry, mop the solution on again; finished.
I remember my first experience with vinyl floor tile. I had just purchased a house with some other family members with the intention of fixing it up and selling it, in other words “a quick flip”. The laundry room in my basement of my house really needed some sprucing up, so we decided to install vinyl tile. Good idea, poor execution. First off, we didn’t realize that by just mixing the floor leveler to a wet/soupy consistency, instead of a hard paste consistency, that we could save a lot of head and back ache. As well, I’m sure the floor would have come out a lot smoother in the end.
Now the installation; we had purchased the house on October 15th and we were planning on a three and a half month time frame to flip it. This left us to finish the job right in the middle of Christmas holidays, not a good decision. It ended up that we had to start the flooring on Christmas Eve morning and finish up Christmas afternoon. Not a great way to spend your Christmas holidays. The good news is that it turned out great, at first.
Unfortunately with time, we found out where we hadn’t leveled the floor as well as we should have, the water softeners salt didn’t help matters either. But our biggest problem was when I was away the next winter (yes, I decided to keep it in the end), there was a flood in the backyard that found its way into the back door, and down the steps into the laundry room. Did that ever make a mess! After that, the tiles were never the same and a lot of the glue now does not stick properly to the floor. Fortunately the floor still looks good; it just pops and crackles in certain spots when you walk on it.
So the moral of this story is, always look before you leap. Or, make sure you know a products limits, strengths and weaknesses before you install it. Not that the vinyl tile is necessary a bad choice for that application, I just think that there are better products for that room. I guess I’ll chalk it up to another lesson learned.…