Site Meter

Is Wood Laminate Flooring the Greener Choice?

wood laminate flooring

Homeowners have a stunning variety of choices for a new floor, and some products are inherently more environmentally friendly than others. Hardwood, stone, carpet, tile and laminate flooring are all popular choices, and each product has a number of benefits. In addition to the various features, there are a range of different-priced flooring materials. While each type of flooring does have some impact on the environment, there are plenty of materials that are produced with sustainable methods. Laminate flooring is one option, and it is made from synthetic materials and recycled products. For a variety of different installation options, laminate flooring comes in a range of sizes, colors, styles and textures. In addition, laminate products use minimal wood, and last for years with little maintenance.

Recycled Components
Homeowners have several choices for a new floor. Natural wood and stone are great choices, but these products have an enormous impact on the environment. Though today’s technology does allow for some types of sustainable forestry, but hardwood takes centuries to grow properly, and old-growth trees are very rare. Some flooring materials like bamboo grow incredibly fast and are one viable option for a green floor. Bamboo, eucalyptus and cork are among the greenest types of wood for a new floor. For the greenest home, laminate flooring uses hardly any wood. The wood that is used comes from recycled sources. Laminate flooring is also one of the greenest choices because it makes use of a number of recycled materials. In addition to lumber and sawdust, some laminate floors are made from recycled rubber and plastic bottles. For future generations, laminate flooring is easily recycled, and because it lasts for decades, there is less waste than with carpet.

Ease of Maintenance
Because laminate flooring requires little in the way of routine maintenance, there are fewer issues with dangerous chemicals, toxic fumes and indoor air pollution. Laminate floors never need sanding, staining or refinishing and will last for decades with minimal cleaning. Hardwood floors have a tendency to wear out over time, and refinishing the surface is essential. Refinishing a hardwood floor requires enormous amounts of chemicals that are generally dangerous to the planet. For maintenance issues, laminate flooring is one of the greenest choices. Laminate does not require any harsh chemicals for cleaning, and the material never needs to be sanded or stained.

Laminate flooring offers a number of advantages for a green home. Since the material is made from recycled wood, plastic and rubber, it helps to get rid of waste. In addition, laminate does not require precious natural resources like stone and wood flooring. To ensure the planet is safe in the future, laminate is made from materials that are recyclable, and it can easily be made into new floors at the ends of its life.

Storage Ideas for Tiny Bathrooms

towel-storage

Small bathrooms are difficult spaces to make work with conventional storage racks. It is even more difficult when the preferred materials are eco-friendly. There are a few tips that can help choose more efficient storage for your small bathroom.

Organizing the Shower

There are a number of crafters that make storage caddies for showers out of repurposed plastic. The majority of the plastic used in this process are from plastic shopping bags. The great thing about repurposed plastic shower caddies is that they are easy to keep clean and they’re very sturdy — much sturdier than the bags they’re made from!

Techniques include crochet, knitting and weaving. Some crafters also make plastic bath mats that catch hair and water that can be quickly hosed off when it’s time to clean them. However, if a plastic-free environment is preferred, there are bamboo mats and caddies available that keep shampoo, soaps and washcloths out of the way.

When the Towel Rack is Insufficient

Towel racks are great if only one or two people are living in a space. Two or three towels can be hung up to dry without much issue. However, many apartments and houses that have really small bathrooms also have hardly any storage space outside of the bathroom. This leads to a problem with figuring out where to store towels and washcloths.

There are two solutions for towel storage in a tiny bathroom. The first is to get a rack that straddles the toilet tank. These usually come with one to 4 shelves, and they sometimes have a small cabinet at the top for things like toothpaste and hair products.

There is a potential problem with storing towels above the toilet though: If a person doesn’t close the toilet lid when flushing, certain bacteria can get into anything above the toilet. If concerned about this potential issue, get shelving units that are made out of bamboo, repurposed plastic or recycled metal for storage on any free wall.

When a Pedestal Sink Is Involved

One of the worst things a person can do in a small bathroom is having a pedestal sink installed. Well, unless they have tons of storage solutions on the outside of the bathroom. A cabinet sink will provide built-in storage for things like toilet paper, hair products, and hair dryers. If dealing with a pedestal sink, an over the toilet storage rack may be the only thing that will help.

As with towels, these racks give toilet paper and other bathroom goods a storage space that will be out of the way and convenient. However, as with towels, be sure to keep the toilet lid down when flushing to avoid any potential problems with that.

Cool Design Ideas Using Old Compact Discs

cd-dumbbell

How many unwanted old compact discs are you holding on to? Some people probably have hundreds of them on shelves, in boxes, and stored away in attics and garages, destined for a land fill someday. However, many creative folks are designing uses for CDs that have outlived their original purpose. How about a lamp or a decorative windmill? You, too, can put your creativity into action and help to reduce landfill waste. Let’s look at a few designs that you may want to borrow for your own re-purposing project.

How much does a CD weigh? 150 of them weigh slightly less than ten pounds. So, insert a 10 inch threaded bolt through them, 75 on each end, and secure in place with lock nuts. You now have a ten-pound dumbbell!

Not in an exercise mood? Perhaps you are not only creative, but also artistic as well. CDs are a great media for developing interesting and appealing sculptures. They can be reshaped by heating them and securing them together with aluminum tape or a glue gun to form many designs. Indeed, many galleries are displaying works created using discarded CDs.

One of the more fun creations developed by a clever designer is a new take on the traditional ballroom dance ball, now commonly known as a disco ball. The CD finish is naturally reflective, similar to a mirror. Start with a paper sphere lantern at least 12 inches in diameter. Then strategically affix CDs to the outside surface of the lantern – label side down, shiny side out. Hang it above your dance floor and shine a bright spotlight or two on it. Or just use it to add an interesting and creative piece of art to your home. You can add interest by hanging the ball from a small rotating hook that is used for rotating ornaments on a Christmas tree. John Travolta will be proud of you!

CDs make quick and easy table coasters. Shiny side up adds a festive flair, and label side up is a conversation starter, particularly if you have lots of oldies. If you are looking for a unique music or dancing party invitation, cover the label side of CDs with paper and then add the invitation text and mailing information. Put a stamp on them and drop them into the mailbox! How about covering a wall with them for your own one-of-a-kind wallpaper?

You may have heard that CDs will soon be totally replaced by other technologies. Now is the time to start thinking about what you are going to do with all of them to give them a new life.

3 Great Sofa Beds For $300 or Less

cocoa velvet sofabed

At one point in time, having great looking and comfortable furniture on a budget was nothing more than a dream. Nowadays, with so many furniture companies offering sleek, contemporary designs for unbelievably low prices, it is easy to design a room that is welcoming, comfortable, and great to look at; even if you are a slave to a rather tight decorating budget.

One of the biggest misconceptions when budget shopping for furniture is: comfortable and appealing sofa beds are out of bounds. Fortunately, the days of uncomfortable metal futons with lumpy mattresses are over. These three sofa beds are all under $300 from reputable retailers, and can make your inexpensive and in-style guest sleeping dreams come true!

Emma Convertible Sofa Bed

The Emma Convertible Sofa is a modern piece of living room furniture with sleek lines, and a contemporary look. With a black faux leather body and chrome legs, the Emma Sofa looks fabulous in any modern living room.

Low to the ground, with plenty of room for a guest to comfortably sleep, the Emma is a great choice for people seeking a sofa bed for under $300. The Emma Convertible Sofa rings up at $299 from Walmart. Don’t want it shipped to your house? Walmart offers the option to have large items shipped to your local store where you can easily pick them up and bring them home.

Cocoa Velvet Sofa Bed

Prefer your furniture to be upholstered in soothing earth tones? The Cocoa Velvet Sofa Bed is an affordable option that brings elements of style to any living space. This is a relatively small sofa bed that can comfortably sleep one. The Cocoa Velvet Sofa bed has four different reclining positions from upright to completely reclined.

What’s better than the aesthetic appeal of this sofa bed? The price! It can be found on Overstock.com for $235.00 or less. Overstock offers great deals on shipping, with flat rate shipping of $2.95 per item. Even with shipping, this great sofa bed is well under the $300 mark. Great beauty and function have never been so inexpensive!

Thompson Sofa Bed in Stone

For a modern and sophisticated look, the Thompson Sofa Bed is one of a kind. Not only is it great to look at, it is made out of quality materials that offer comfort to any guest that has the pleasure of sleeping on it.

The frame of the Thompson Sofa Bed is made of hardwood with an espresso finish, and the mattress is made of 7” of comfortable, soft foam. Best yet, this beautiful sofa bed upholstered in stone colored, stain resistant fabric is available for $229.00 from Target online. Not sold in stores.

Guest Accommodations On A Budget

There are always options for great sofa beds at unbeatable prices; you just have to know where to look. Always keep an eye out for seasonal sales- you never know what great, contemporary furnishings you can find for a fraction of their regular retail price!

Easy Ways to Prevent Mold in the Home

preventing mold

Moisture and mold, they go hand-in-hand, especially in your home. But there are several ways that you can prevent mold build-up while still being eco-friendly.

The most important prevention is looking for moisture, standing water or condensation, and getting rid of it quickly. Dry up any standing water on the shower floor. Keep the shower curtain closed so no mold builds up in the creases. Remember to run the exhaust fan while showering. All exhaust fans in the house, bathroom and stove, should lead to the outside, not into your attic where it can increase the moisture level. If you are building or remodeling and plan to use drywall, consider using a mold resistant product, such as EcoRock. This environment friendly drywall is paperless and moisture resistant.

If any windows, pipes or walls are showing condensation, dry them quickly and find the reason for it as well. Air flow is very important, if your drapes are blocking the air vent, you will see condensation on your windows. You may want to buy a moisture meter for your home, you want to keep it between 35 and 50 percent. A dehumidifier can also help, but be sure to keep it clean and not let the tank overfill.

Your a/c unit can help greatly if used correctly. Keep the thermostat set at 75 degrees F while you are home and 80 degrees when you are gone. Turning off the a/c will allow humidity to build up and that produces mold. Also, be sure you have the right size HVAC for your home, too big or small will waste energy.

You should cover any crawl spaces with a 6 mm polyethylene plastic vapor barrier to trap ground water that seeps up and adds moisture vapors to your home. Keep water flow diverted from your foundation as much as possible, such as keeping gutters clean.

Do not leave wet items lying around the house, nor leave wet clothes in the washing machine where mold grows quickly. Moist soil in your house plant attracts mold. To prevent this, add Taheebo tea to the water for your plant. This tea has mold resistant properties that work even in the rainforests. If you have spots that are especially hard to keep dry, spray the area with white distilled vinegar and let it sit, the smell will clear in a few hours. This can kill 82% of mold species.

If the worst happens and you find mold in your home, clean it immediately, and if it is too much for you to clean call a mold remediation professional.

How To Re-Use Old Newspaper In Your Home

reusing-newspaper

Although newspaper circulations are in decline around the U.S., the uses for newspapers that are out of date or have been read continue to grow. By reusing old newspapers large amounts of the Earth’s natural resources can be saved from destruction in the manufacture of products, such as fire starters and painters tape.

With large numbers of people concerned about the amount of fossil fuels releasing dangerous toxins into the atmosphere, old newspapers can be used as fire starters for wood burning stoves. By tearing up the old newspapers they can be reused by placing in a stove to start a fire. Newspaper ashes from a wood burning fire can also be used to add traction to road surfaces around a house when covered in snow or ice.

Paper is often used to clean glass windows and surfaces; instead of using paper towels for cleaning glass newspapers can be substituted to wipe away vinegar sprayed onto the surface to be cleaned. Old newspapers can also be used for cleaning around the house when a glass object has been broken. A few sheets of newspaper should be dampened and blotted onto the area of broken glass; the smaller pieces of glass that are not always visible will stick to the newspaper and can be disposed of without harm to any member of a household.

Newspapers can also be used to dry out shoes when they have been saturated; many manufacturers of soccer and football cleats recommend the use of newspapers to dry leather shoes by removing the dampness from the inside. Several sheets of newspaper should be balled up and placed inside the wet shoes at room temperature to drag the moisture from the shoes. If the shoes have been waterlogged the newspaper stuffing should be replaced when it becomes damp until the shoes have completely dried out.

Around the house old newspapers can be reused by placing them inside or underneath plant pots to capture moisture when the plants are watered. In Fall months not yet ripe tomatoes can be ripened quickly with the use of old newspapers. The green tomatoes should be wrapped in several sheets of newspaper and sealed in an airtight container; place the container in a darkened area at room temperature for a couple of days to ripen. When painting in a house, old newspapers can be used as a good way to stop drips and splashes. Newspapers can be spread around the floor or taped to walls and windows that are not to be painted.

What is an Acoustic Ventilation System?

acoustic-ventilation

Most people know about the hazards that air pollution presents to the lungs. They always hear about the products being made to reduce pollution and consume minimal energy. Both indoor and outdoor air quality is important, so that is where an acoustic ventilation system becomes valuable. Indoor air pollution is considered to be just as bad as the outdoor type. Most people spend most of their time inside homes and buildings. An acoustic ventilation system draws in fresh air so that pollutants are removed and humidity is controlled. At the same time, the system is not seen, smelled or heard for the benefit of sensitive people.

Subpar air is created by dirt, dust, smoke and mold particles that are easily released by products of technology. The only way that bad quality can be detected is when home air becomes thick, humid and emits strange odors. The best way to remove this problem is to use a ventilation unit. It is not easy to tell if a house contains the right system. Many people who do know about these units cannot operate the functions properly.

Ventilation use is an important way to decrease the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses. People who suffer from asthma or allergies will suffer the most from complications caused by filthy air. However, just opening the door or window may not be enough to eliminate the spread.

A system may not be usable because it causes too much noise. Acoustic ventilation is effective in eliminating this problem. If a system works well, the air is not felt as it streams out of the vents. The streams should not come out in large gusts, as well, which is common when a fan is used. Also, odors should not be smelled. Residents should not have to feel the air being diffused throughout the house either.

To maintain the quietness of the system, the ducts must be insulated. Some grilles, or vent slits, are specially designed and insulated to block out noise. For the best effect, the grilles should be placed away from the street and noisy areas.

An acoustic ventilation system does not need much maintenance, but a user can increase the value by cleaning parts of it at least once a year. Natural ventilation requires no expenses or maintenance, but it is far less effective than mechanical equipment. An acoustic ventilation system is not well-known, but it is designed to improve long-term indoor health.

Colors You Should NEVER Paint Your Walls

090402d

Painting a room is a great way to revitalize its appearance. After years with the same wall colors, many grow tired of the room’s appearance, and a couple coatings of paint can transform its appearance dramatically. It is important, however, to realize that while painting is not permanent, repainting costs money and can take away a weekend. Thought is necessary, but there are a few colors that a room should never be painted.

Near the top of the list has to be pink. Most think that only young or teenage girls would consider this option, but pink walls are surprisingly common in houses. Pink can make a great accent color, but an entirely pink room is overkill. “Visual noise” is a term used to express an overwhelming feeling from too much visual information, and pink paint can turn the visual noise rating up quite high. Pink is a tiring color, and it gives the room a juvenile appearance.

Another common mistake is painting a room black. Black rooms rarely achieve the look homeowners strive for, and most who choose black end up regretting the decision quickly. Black paint will effectively shrink a room and may cause a claustrophobic reaction in some. With the exception of dedicated home theater rooms, black should be never be considered for a home; it does not look tough, and it does not look elegant. It simply looks bad.

Green and blue are other popular options, but extreme caution is due when considering these colors. With some competent advice, there are some shades of green and blue that can be effective, but the vast majority of green and blue hues come up short. Baby blue might function in a baby’s room, but this look fails in other portions of a house. Kelly green or darker shades may work in a sports or billiards room, but lighter shades will demand a repaint in the near future.

Finally, homeowners should be wary of red paint. Bright red is simply unusable in most rooms; the shade is visually overpowering and has been shown to induce stress. Darker shades of red may be effective, but it requires careful coordination with the room’s furniture and accents. Unless considering a complete room remodeling, red should be scratched off the list.

Painting is fairly easy, and its cost-to-change ratio is perhaps the best among room renovation options. Sometimes, however, a bit more thought is necessary. A painted accent stripe is a great option, and some are considering eco-friendly wallpapers instead of paint. The best advice for would-be room painters is to slow down and take time to find the best option available.

blooming-snake-plant

If you don’t have much of a green thumb, you’re not home much, or simply don’t really have the patience to take care of plants, feel comforted in the fact that you still can own house plants. There are numerous types of house plants that are extremely easy to care for. In fact, some of them are downright impossible to kill. Many require very little sunlight and don’t need to be watered much, making them perfect for those of us who don’t really want to spend all day and night caring for our houseplants. Let’s talk about five house plants that are very easy to care for.

The Snake Plant, otherwise known at Mother-In-Law’s-Tongue, is a visually stunning plant as it has tall, upright leaves that can grow up to four feet tall. It requires a good deal of indirect light, but you can get away with watering it only about once a week or even every ten or so days.

Spider Plants are also easy plants to care for as they do not require direct sunlight, but sufficient indirect sunlight. These plants have long leaves that resemble blades of grass or a spider’s legs, hence the name. Keep the soil moist and drained well and that is pretty much it for this hearty plant.

Ivy is easy to care as it requires little water and very low light. It will pretty much grow anywhere, so no need to find the perfect spot in the sun for it. Ivy looks beautiful trailing from hanging baskets and it can adapt to almost any environment. Some people use it to decorate shelves as its vines grow very long and pretty. Some common types of ivy include Irish Ivy, Persian Ivy, Algerian Ivy, and English Ivy.

Another houseplant that requires little care is the Wax Plant. This plant looks great in hanging baskets and it has thick, green leaves that are sometimes speckled with white. The Wax Plant needs more direct sunlight than the other plants we have mentioned, but is still very easy to care for. If it gets enough light, it may produce white or pink sweet-smelling, star-shaped flowers.

Arguably the simplest houseplant to grow is Pothos. It features long-growing vines full of beautiful heart-shaped, pointy leaves that can be variegated in white or yellow. This plant requires little water. In fact, you can get away with watering it a couple times a month. Three varieties of Pothos include Marble Queen, Golden, and Tri-color. It is very easy to produce other Pothos plants by simply sticking a cutting of the plant in a cup of water. When the roots start to grow, plant the new plant in a pot with some nice, fertile potting soil.

baking soda

For years, home cooks have been utilizing baking soda in their kitchens as a leavening agent. From baked breads to battered foods, baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) has a wide range of different culinary applications. While this ingredient’s use in food preparation is widely celebrated across the board, many are surprised to discover just how powerful baking soda can be in other household applications. From cleaning the home to keeping the human body functioning effectively, it can be utilized to perform an assortment of different tasks. The following 5 uses will have you thinking about that standard ingredient in your cupboard in a whole new way.

1. Treating Fungal Infections
Baking soda can be used an an effective fungicide, keeping pesky fungi at bay without employing harsh chemicals. Many gardeners employ the use of baking soda in their plots, treating fungal infections on their plants with the product. Baking soda can also be used to treat fungal infections in humans. Nails are skin are particularly prone to issues with fungi. Soaking the infected area in a baking soda and water solution can help eradicate the issue.

2. Flame Extinguisher
Small kitchen fires can easily be extinguished with baking soda. It is commonly used in grease and electrical fires, when water presents a unique danger. When used in this capacity, it is essential to utilize extreme caution.

3. Splinter Removal
A pesky splinter can be incredibly difficult to remove from the skin. Baking soda can be used as the base in a paste to soften the skin and simplify the splinter’s removal. Once the paste has been applied, the skin should become more supple, allowing the splinter to be worked out.

4. Clothing Softener
Instead of relying on a chemical-heavy fabric softener, baking soda can be added to washes to soften clothing. It also has additional uses that can further benefit textiles, including odor and stain removal. Baking soda is much less harsh than traditional bleach, but will nevertheless whiten fabrics that may have become dull with age.

5. Insect Repellent
Keeping pests from entering the home can be a major hassle. Instead of using a commercial bug repellent, baking soda can instead be used to create a non=toxic barrier to insects. The product should be sprinkled around the window and door seals that typically allow insects to enter the home.

Baking soda is arguably one of the most powerful tools in a home’s arsenal. As it is non-toxic, it is ideal in homes that have small children. Baking soda is also an incredibly environmentally-friendly way to maintain the home.