Sunday, August 7, 2011

Going Green

As more and more environmentally friendly products are coming to market, it seems only fair to mention the role of a few construction material products that are doing their part in helping to clean up the environment. Known as green construction or sustainable building methods, some of these innovations are quite interesting if not amazing. Goals of green building include being health conscious by decreasing pollution and toxins thereby limiting the impact on our environment. Also designed to conserve energy and valuable natural resources, many of these materials are quickly renewable such as fast growing bamboo used to manufacture flooring and paneling. Some products indirectly offer environmental benefits by conserving the water that would normally be an ingredient used to complete the final product such as cement used to mud-float showers and bath tubs in preparation for the installation of ceramic tile.
Although many building contractors and tradesmen are very negative when it comes to new products and techniques, these are usually old school veterans who are very set in their ways. You know the ones who live by the motto: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But in keeping an open mind, one will understand and soon admit that there may very well be superior products and techniques available today that were not available yesterday.
One product that comes to mind is a waterproof backer board designed to be applied directly to a tub or shower wall prior to the installation of ceramic tile. While there are several different manufacturers, the benefits are primarily the same and include:

·Lightweight and easy to install over existing drywall or open studs.
·Water conservation. Minimal water usage required.
·No need to for a sand/cement mixture which can release toxins as bags 
 are opened and mixed.
·Minimal gray water or cement debris generated thereby making clean up
 easier both in the staging area as well as in the work area.
·Installation options include flush surface or simulated mud-float.
·Designs and specifications allow for soap and shampoo niches, shelves and
 seats, and even tub decks and bases.

If you are considering the installation of a new shower or tub ceramic tile surround and based on the benefits mentioned above, I think it would be prudent to at least investigate using a new product such as this. Not only will you be environmentally conscious and socially responsible but it just might save time and money.