If you build it…

July 7, 2008 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

For the past week, I have been working out of a box. Not because I am going through a Kerouac-ian journey (complete with Tang) to get in touch with my inner self – although the detour does sound nice – but rather because we are getting new carpet at the office.

The old stuff was well used and quite threadbare. Also, the new stuff, pictured on the left side of the photo, is sure to keep everyone awake if they should happen to look at the floor for too long.

Remodeling is a popular pastime, whether you are sprucing things up for yourself or trying to get an edge in the cut-thought real estate market. While bathroom remodeling is still the most popular, according to Gregg Hicks, director of marketing for Reliableremodeler.com, over 10% of polled individuals planned to redo some flooring or paint their walls as the most popular remodeling request for contractors. My guess is that a much higher percent of the population plans on these two projects, but may be the more do-it-yourself types or are counting it as a larger remodeling project. (If you are planning to blast through the side of your house with enough TNT to send Wylie E. Coyote into the next state to add a lavish master bedroom and bath mentioning that you are planning to repaint seems like a moot point)


A few tips to make your project eco-friendly.

Plan Ahead.

What will you do with all of the stuff you are tearing out of your home? If you are DIY contact local recyclers to see what can be recycled of your construction and demolition debris. If you are working with a contractor, make sure they handle your waste in a responsible way. Some recycling companies will recycle your old carpet. Could you donate items that no longer fit your decorating scheme? Check out Waukesha County’s C&D recycling page to see what other materials you can reuse or recycle.

Use Sustainable & Green products

Green paint, as in eco-friendly – not chartreuse – use less harmful chemicals and are easier to dispose of. For some good background information, visit the state of California’s website, which has some great information on what makes an eco-friendly product.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

This would not be a cliché if it were not true. Well, at the very least it is good advice. Make use of online calculators. This one tells you not only how many gallons to buy, but figures it out based on what type of painting you are doing. (For normal painting with a roller make sure to select that information on the second page because the calculator defaults the most paint you would need for very absorbent and rough surfaces.) Average cover rate is 400 to 450 sq feet per gallon. Use green sealed paints if possible and latex as a second best choice.

Options for leftovers.

Try to use up leftovers. After all, mom did always tell you to use what you take. Some reuse ideas include:

  • Touch-ups
  • Paint a piece of furniture that goes in an adjacent room
  • Donate it to a friend, church, high school, recreation department, community theater group, or other organization

Latex paint, once dried, can be thrown away with your normal trash while oil based paints must be treated as household hazardous waste. These are very expensive disposal options.


By pre-planning and thinking about how to be eco-friendly through disposal, product selection, and leftover products your reconstruction project will be as easy as pie.

recycle more,
Recycle Raccoon


Entry filed under: Green Building, Hazardous Waste, Shopping, Sustainability. Tags: , , , .

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