Mondays are for rolling up sleeves, so we can get to those inspiring images of breath-taking reveals!
We’re not yet at breath-taking (more like gasping and groaning) but we’re moving in the right direction. There’s still loads to do, but let’s review progress and have a look at our Green report card to see this earth and budget-friendly basement reno rates.
The contractor faux pas sent this space back to the drawing board – thick pile, old grungy wall to wall carpet was removed only to reveal double carpet pads duct-taped to a basement floor, intentionally concealing moisture problems in this basement. But let’s regress to clarify that 98% of basements have moisture issues to some extent – this is the nature of concrete. We are talking leaking corners intentionally staged to hide a mask a problem, creating a bigger one. When the roof was re-done, a foot-wide over-hang was installed that put a stop to that pesky leakage. But not in time to prevent a mold farm from growing beneath the carpet. The double padding also hid improper leveling the basement cement floor.
The mold and old carpet padding that was adhered to the floor in places was made even more special by the presence of mastic that could have been asbestos; a door prize from a forensic removal of an old linoleum floor tile past. Asbestos is only dangerous if you disturb it – so soaking the stuck-on padding with bleach and water did dirty double-duty, removing both pad and irradiating mold and mildew – fun times!
DRICore is a tongue and groove wafer board featuring a plastic moisture barrier with integrated cleats on its underside. It formed a new sub floor to elevate that “floats” above the concrete basement floor. Air flows between the cleated “feet”, minimizing inert concrete VOC emissions ( a green “F” of conventional concrete at large) and drying the normal moisture levels associated with seasonal sweating of concrete floors. The product is recycled by default, due to it’s wood chip and resin wafer board construction.
It’s hard to see, but those black plastic forms protruding from beneath the unfinished edge are plastic shims. Normally, Dricore is a simple install, taking about a day, depending upon the size of your baement – but for older homes, particularly ones whose foundation are built into hillsides and prone to settling) just use the time x 3 rule – what a pain!
But when you are working with an older home, triple your projected project time for any process reliant on square or plumb architecture! This being said, Dricore is fabulous and I am recommending it without any sort of endorsement.
So what about those whitewashed floors I was working on?
You may recall there were initially 3 surfaces involved in that busy basement floor!
Originally, I bemoaned my budget-conscious choice to replace the wall to wall carpet with a LEED -friendly carpet made from recycled soda bottles – but the closer summer break comes, and the more I watch the kids interacting with the house, and the greater my conviction that this is wall to wall I will regret. So I did some research – what Green flooring could I match up to those restored white-washed hardwood floors?
Whitewash bamboo! My projected budget for carpet was give or take 20%, about $1300. The solid bamboo floor wold take me about $400 over my magic number – but let’s look more closely. What do I get for the money, and what do I lose?
Because bamboo is essentially grass as opposed to a wood proper, it grows a great deal faster than a tree, making it a renewable resource in every sense and is recognized as a green material under LEED. It’s one short-coming is that this particular product is that it’s a vertical cut bamboo, as opposed to a strand woven type bamboo, which is up to 40 x harder than oak flooring. But it’s Janka rating is still 1630 which is well above average. The Janka rating is the system that rates the hardness of various wood flooring, much like the system that functions for gems – strand woven bamboo is the diamond of the Janka system, up there near Brazilian Walnut. Bamboo is not technically a wood, so it is slighted from this chart.
So when do you make the dramatic choice to paint a floor?
- When the boards show gaps, and a cottage look can infuse some style
- When there is distracting and unattractive variation in color that you feel distracts from the unity of your space
- When floors have stains that refinishing won’t fix.
- When you want to
So, does a white or painted floor mean that you are knit to a cottage style until sale do you part? No, of course not – but be careful how you pigeon-hole a style! Cottage can be eclectic and as savvy as any other style – or as horrid. It is what you make it!
So how about that report card?
The brutal bottom line on GREEN achievement or failure:
Ceilings: Not so green wainscoting – an acceptable loss in contrast to my son’s asthma – C-
- Built-ins – I couldn’t save the shelving, but the bulletins were refinished and painted with a bright splash of low VOC paint color – the wood was recycled. A-
- Fireplace – I poured 600 lbs of concrete to close a wall and make may for the eventual addition of a gas fireplace insert – and demo’ed 29 square feet of contractor tile laid on plywood that had no where to go but the land fill. I could have painted it, but hearth tile on plywood is not safe! Still – C-
- Replaced energy sucking, unsafe track lighting with 2 energy star LED tracks - A+
- Tore out nylon carpet that sadly could not be recycled that went to the land fill – but replacing with LEED friendly renewable bamboo flooring that will have to be shipped – a solid B
So far, if you consider the big planetary picture I have earned a B average, largely due to bad choices made in the home prior to my arrival. That being said, I am doing a pretty good job at corrections and feel good about the progress.
But there’s a long way to go – lots more opportunity to raise that Green grade, and the style bar! I’ll keep you up-dated as we go!
- Wood Floors – A Lighter Approach! (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- Interior Style Trends 2012 – Katie Ridder on Design Lemonade! (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- Interior Design Trends 2012 – Green Design on a Budget – Part 1 (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)
- DIY Green Basement Remodel – The Saga… (redoitdesign.wordpress.com)