What repair materials can be called environmentally friendly? The answer suggests itself: natural. Of course, wood is the most environmentally friendly product for construction, however, our houses are not built from wood, but from cement and concrete. In addition, when starting repairs in an apartment, we think little about the environmental friendliness of the materials that will be used.
Any specialist will tell you that for ceilings, the ideal solution is a water-based paint. It was created specifically for this purpose. Suspended ceilings accumulate dust, which is harmful to the lungs, and stretched ceilings can release phenol. The question arises, what to choose, beauty or health? It is quite logical that in bedrooms and children’s rooms it is best to get by with harmless paint, and if you want beauty unbearably, then other types of ceilings are best done in those rooms that are least used – living rooms, common rooms, corridors.
There are a lot of types of wallpaper on the modern market. In such an abundance it is easy to get lost, losing sight of the main thing – quality. Oddly enough, but the safest natural wallpaper, they are also the cheapest – paper. Fashionable non-woven wallpapers are synthetic, they are, of course, safe for people, but still inferior to natural ones in terms of environmental friendliness.
Parquet, laminate, carpet, or linoleum?
It would seem that the safest floor in terms of ecology is parquet. Natural wood, it doesn’t get any better. However, it also has to be varnished or rubbed with mastic, otherwise, it will quickly lose its appearance. Both varnish and mastic emit a lot of harmful substances into the atmosphere, so it’s not a shame, but parquet is far from the first in the list of safe materials for flooring. But is wooden parquet worth it? It is good enough but there are better alternatives. The first is laminate (but not from cheap segments), as well as natural stones and porcelain stoneware that have undergone radiological examination.
Another safe flooring material is linoleum, which has successfully emerged from the category of “scoop” materials. Good quality linoleum sometimes imitates natural parquet so well that you can’t tell at first glance. In addition, linoleum is easy to install, easy to clean, and lasts a long time. The only thing worth paying attention to is the glue that is used to lay linoleum, it may contain harmful substances.
Custom carpet is one of the most environmentally friendly flooring options, however, with the condition that it is made from natural fabrics – wool and silk.
Double-glazed windows or old-fashioned windows
Nowadays, houses are no longer built without double-glazed windows; a ventilation system is already calculated for them. However, there are still a lot of old houses with ordinary wooden frames. Therefore, starting repairs in an old house, we first of all change wooden windows for plastic double-glazed windows. They have high soundproofing and heat-saving performance; however, they do not have a ventilation gap, which can lead to impaired ventilation. This must be taken into account and double-glazed windows with special ventilation valves should be installed.
Bathroom, kitchen, and nursery
A bathroom is a special place. High humidity and frequent temperature changes oblige us to finish the room with appropriate materials. Paint, plastic panels, stretch ceilings – all these materials are ineffective for bathrooms and, moreover, inspire concerns in terms of environmental friendliness. As a result of temperature changes and high humidity, mold or fungi may appear under the panels and ceiling, which will lead to rotting and the release of spores harmful to the body. Types of paints that are resistant to temperature extremes and high humidity contain harmful substances, such as lead, which also do not fit the definition of environmentally friendly repair.
Therefore, in the bathroom, good old tiles or natural marble are most often used. Both are safe for health and do not need special care.
Six rules for sustainable renovation:
- Do not use materials with unusual properties, in particular quick-drying adhesives and paints. They have a high content of chemicals;
- Make sure that the technology of applying coatings, pouring floors, installing windows, ventilation, and air conditioners is strictly followed;
- Demand certificates of quality and conformity from sellers;
- Do not rush to move into a newly renovated apartment, let the premises stand for 2-3 weeks (during this period, the effect of many chemical compounds weakens);
- Do not purchase varnishes and paints containing lead, phenol, toluene, and acetone;
- When buying, remember that the chance of getting “impure” repair materials is much lower if you purchase them from large manufacturers.
Most building and finishing materials are not entirely clear from the point of view of ecology, but many of them are quite suitable for repair and are safe for health, the main thing is not to try to save as much as possible and remember that health is still more important.