Remodeling your bathroom is often an exercise in modernization, or at least in using the latest technology to make for a space you can be happy with for the long term. More and more often, this means using green bathroom materials to replace, or to supplement existing materials.
So, where are some of the prime areas to look at when looking to remodel your bathroom this spring? Writer and home improvement blogger Justin Krutz is here to help you get your creative, and eco-friendly minded juices flowing.
As we head into an age where environmental concerns are coming to the forefront – it’s only natural to want to seek out environmentally-friendly options for your home as well. Fortunately, being environmentally-friendly around your home doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style in return for sustainable options.
Remodeling your bathroom in particular is a great place to start, since everything from flooring to lighting can be readily replaced with products that are intended to be green yet attractive.
Lighting a green bathroom
Starting with lighting – CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are both excellent subsitutes for the standard incandescent lighting in your bathroom where applicable, as they consume much less energy and will last significantly longer.
CFLs can be paired with attractive fixtures such as diffusers while LEDs can be utilized in recessed light fixtures in the bathroom to provide supplemental light as needed. Another option for providing lighting in the bathroom would be to add a skylight or solar light tube in the ceiling which will provide a good deal of natural light and can be quite striking on a moonlit night as well.
Bathroom flooring and wall tile
Moving on to flooring and countertops, recycled ceramic tiles and post-industrial porcelain tile are great choices for flooring and/or countertops. They are typically produced from recycled stone and are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Concrete is also an outstanding option for flooring and countertops as it can easily be stained and patterned to mimic the look of more expensive natural stones.
Additionally, concrete is produced largely from recycled stone as well as industrial waste products like fly ash, making it very environmentally-friendly. While hardwood typically is not recommended for bathroom use due to the potential for moisture damage, bamboo or cork are both outstanding choices for the bathroom floor since they are very attractive, offer excellent moisture resistance – and for the environmentally-conscious homeowner, are produced using sustainable harvesting methods.
For areas such as the shower surround and walls, recycled glass tiles have become a popular alternative to ceramic or porcelain tiles since they offer a rainbow of different colors and can be polished to a high shine for great effect. They are generally produced utilizing glass that has been reclaimed from demolished buildings or from windshield and window glass manufacturing operations.
Repainting your bathroom the green way
If you’re thinking about repainting your bathroom – many of the leading paint manufacturers offer their popular lines in green versions that offer the same wide range of colors and finishes. However, these paints significantly reduce the amount of VOCs that fresh paint is known to give off, making them almost or completely odorless in many cases. Other options for environmentally-friendly paints that offer the same looks and durability of traditional paints include paints manufactured from clay or milk extracts that do not use any VOCs at all.
Eco-friendly bathroom cabinetry
Need a new set of cabinets for the bathroom? As with flooring, bamboo has emerged as a popular choice for cabinets since it offers an aesthetically pleasing look but is considerably more environmentally-friendly. Along with bamboo, cabinets made with strawboard have become a viable option. They offer a similar look to standard hardwood or particleboard cabinets, but are very environmentally-friendly since they are manufactured from the waste leftover from wheat harvesting operations and do not use formaldehyde in the adhesives utilized to assemble them.