Winter is Coming! Select the Right Green Materials Now and Save a Bundle Later on Home Bathroom Remodels

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Remodeling a bathroom with sustainably harvested, environmentally conscious green materials can save lots of money in the long run. Custom home builders, Betterbuilders, offers a few pointers on which materials work best when updating a bathroom.

For such a small room, we certainly spend a lot of time in the bathroom, which means that remodeling can have a large effect on a household. While new technologies, like dual-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads, can each have a profound impact on water and energy usage, the long-term health and efficiency of the bathroom is determined by selecting the proper materials. Betterbuilders, an experienced Seattle area custom home builder, would like to make a few suggestions on where materials can make the biggest difference when updating a bathroom, as well as what sorts of materials to use.

Shower Stalls, Tubs and Basins
Replacing fiberglass or acrylic shower walls with tiles made from recycled materials can save money on maintenance, while preserving resources through durability. Recycled tiles made from stone or glass can last for a very long time if installed and ventilated properly. Using water based grout sealer for tile installation helps to prevent the accumulation of mold and fungus. Cast iron, freestanding tubs and basins are another great choice and can be refinished by a professional, offering a more durable and attractive product than porcelain.

Choosing what kind of caulking to use in bathroom remodels is crucial. Caulk is very important wherever seals are required, which is everywhere in the bathroom. Look for caulk made with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to keep the bathroom environment safe. While this usually means it will be less durable, technology continues to improve. A trained green building specialist will be up to date on the best choices.

Countertops and Cabinets
Like shower walls there are many options for counters from manufacturers who use recycled stone and glass. These materials are ideal for withstanding wet conditions and can often be shaped as needed. Natural materials that have been sustainably harvested should replace cabinets that are made from particleboard with dangerously high formaldehyde content.

Like all green materials, flooring should be made from sustainably harvested, naturally occurring materials. Linoleum and cork are two great choices that achieve just that. Bamboo and other hard woods are gaining popularity and should be preferred over petroleum-based vinyl flooring.

While ventilation is not a material in itself, its proper implementation will prolong the lifespan of all the materials in the bathroom. Wet conditions welcome mold and fungus, leading to warping and rotting surfaces. A green remodel specialist can help re-design a bathroom with skylights that open and a fan system that works to quickly lower moisture content before damage can occur.

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Arvin Marchel
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