Allergic Living susses out 8 must-have products for a healthier renovation for families with breathing concerns.
If you’ve ever renovated or built a home, you’ve probably experienced it: having your mind boggled by the sheer number of building products on the market, in every shape, size, color and material. If someone in the home has allergies or asthma, or is sensitive to chemicals, it adds a whole other layer of complexity.
So what are some of the products that top green architects and contractors are turning to now? We’ve gathered a list of some of their go-to favorites – and a couple of new additions to the market. Just remember to test products, where feasible, before using them in the home, since what’s safe for one person may trigger symptoms in another.
Healthy homes don’t need to be bland, and Kirei proves it in a big way with the company’s eye-popping wall panels and cabinet materials. Made from renewable products such as sorghum straw, bamboo and coconut shells, as well as low- or zero-VOC finishes, the highly textural boards can be used for anything from feature walls to cabinet fronts. Looking for peace and quiet? They also make acoustical panels.
Ultratouch Denim Insulation
Made from recycled blue jeans, Bonded Logic’s Ultra Touch provides everything you want in an insulation – excellent thermal protection, sound absorption, fire resistance, mold resistance – but it doesn’t contain formaldehyde or other chemical irritants like many other types of insulation. The company boasts that it’s so safe that it requires no warning labels; and it installs just like any other batt insulation, too.
Wood coating can be a tricky business, especially for people with asthma, but many health-minded pros opt for Rubio Monocoat. It’s zero-VOC, comes in 40 different tints, is easy to use, and can be applied to all types of wood in a single layer. In the process, it protects the wood from scratching, moisture and other damage, and gives it a beautifully natural glow. What’s not to love?
PureBond Hardwood Plywood
Whether it’s laminate flooring, particle board or plywood, any product that involves layers of wood glued together can spell trouble for those who are sensitive. But PureBond swapped out the often formaldehyde-laden glues with a soy-based adhesive, so you can skip the hefty VOC emissions, and get better moisture resistance to boot. Perfect for cabinets, shelving, furniture and more, and made in North America. (See the project gallery here.)
Quartz, granite and solid surface countertops are all good bets because they don’t off-gas, but IceStone adds extra sparkle to any space. It’s made from concrete and tiny bits of recycled glass, and you can choose the colors of the glass, so it’s tailor-made to your taste, and the options are endless.
Long before most consumers had ever heard of volatile organic compounds, AFM‘s founder was working closely with allergists and environmental scientists to make products that put people’s health first.
That is why their no-VOC paints, stains, adhesives, caulking and other coatings are a go-to choice for people with asthma and sensitivity to chemicals. They’ve also launched Safecoat Naturals, a line of plant-based finishes that are biodegradable and don’t emit toxins or other irritants.
If you’re looking for a splash of color in your kitchen or bath, San Francisco’s Fireclay Tile will hand-make gorgeous tile exactly to your liking and ship it your way; and many of the company’s lines incorporate recycled content that ranges from old window panes to CRT television monitors.
If you want to really go natural, check out American Clay, an alternative to paint, wallpaper and plaster that’s made from all-natural clay and pigments. Unlike most latex paints, it breathes, so it resists mold, and it absorbs sound. As for esthetics, it’s got a wonderfully calming, organic look, and you don’t have to scrimp on color, since it comes in a variety of earthy hues.
With product ideas from by ZeroEnergy architect Stephanie Horowitz and OrganicARCHITECT founder and author Eric Corey Freed.