Products & Certifications

Yellow cast on new linoleum is no cause for alarm Q. I wanted to install Marmoleum Click flooring in my daughter’s room because it is supposed to be very good for healthy indoor air quality, and my daughter has allergies. But when the installer from the flooring company started taking the flooring out of the boxes, the color did not look like what we chose. Instead, it looked like the material had yellowed, like something does when it gets old. The installer said this was normal and that it would go away. But with the price of this product already being higher than many other options, I did not want to take the chance. I sent the flooring back and cancelled the job. I really wanted this floor. Is it possible that I just got a batch that was defective? A. The problem you are describing is not a defect. It is called “ambering,” which is a yellowish cast that appears on Marmoleum – and the competing brands of linoleum. As the installer said, it is normal. It goes away entirely after the flooring comes out of the box and is exposed to light for a few days.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article was accurate as of the date it was published, and was signed off on by all of the manufacturer sources quoted. That said, manufacturers frequently change their formulations and ingredients, so this article, given its age, becomes background. DO NOT rely on this article for purchasing these manufacturers’ current products. The questions are relatively simple, but if you would like help in getting guaranteed answers about certifications on a current product, sign up at: https://www.naturalinteriors.com/consumer-subscription/ “Green” certifications that test chemical emissions don’t require compliance until long after the paint is dry GREENGUARD®, Green Seal and SCS Indoor Advantage Gold. They’re all top third-party certifications designed to help us choose paint that will not make the air in our homes dangerous to breathe. But while these labels mean chemical emissions have been measured -- or in the case of Green Seal dangerous ingredients have been prohibited -- none of them tells us what we are breathing at the time the paint is being applied. And certifications that test chemical emissions don’t require compliance with safety limits until 14 days after the paint is dry. “When it comes to verifying sustainable claims, it may be wiser to start by being a ‘doubting Thomas’ instead of a ‘gullible Pollyanna’ …,” says Michael Mauch, AIA, LEED AP and principal of RWA Architects in Cincinnati, OH. “Third-party verification is supposed to work like Politifact -- an organization to sort out the truth. But third-party verification is not a perfect system. In theory, it works, but in reality, there are many influences that can sway the outcome.”

Authentic reclaimed hardwood can have advantages over wood that is made to look old “Distressed or old?” A designer that I work with was going back and forth about reclaimed hardwood and hardwood flooring that is purposefully distressed to make it appear old. “I like the idea of reducing wastefulness and landfill mass by making floors from old barns,” she said. “But could this floor be less durable because it is old and had a past life? Or what if it was salvaged after a forest fire or taken from a tree that was killed by beetles? Could it be infested?” She was thinking it is safer to stick with flooring products that have been made to look old, but are not. This is an example of confusion that has resulted from having too much information.

“Greenest” hardwood from DuChateau is now distressed to look like barn wood The time-worn look of reclaimed hardwood is getting so popular that every flooring manufacturer has to have one. DuChateau Floors – which makes FSC-certified hardwood with a natural, nontoxic oil finish – announced its new Heritage Timber collection today. While the wear layer on these flooring planks is not made from deconstructed barns and buildings, the reclaimed wood is artfully replicated with scrapes, nail holes, notches and saw marks. The company chose to create the look, instead of using barn wood, in an effort to offer a product at a more competitive price.

Past and present green building trends mean 2012 will bring increased interest in healthy indoor-air quality, reclaimed and recycled products, and smaller homes Residents on the West Coast have been walking the green building walk longer. But even in the Midwest, which often lags behind, people who build or remodel in the New Year likely will be doing more than talking the talk. From seeking smaller, more energy-efficient homes to using low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints, finishes and furniture, healthier, planet-conscious trends have a firm foothold that can only grow in the future, experts say. “Clients are now asking for sustainable strategies in the first meeting,” says Michael Mauch, architect, LEED AP and principal of RWA Architects in Cincinnati, OH. “We do not have to bring it up. They bring it up. What homeowner does not want clean indoor air? Lower energy bills? And smart design? Now they know they can ask for it up front.”

Year in review shows Natural Interiors visitors focus first on style and indoor-air-quality, then concern for planet health We couldn’t head into a New Year without a baby. Fortunately, the winner of our Natural Housewife Contest – one of our Top 10 traffic generators for 2011 – now has one. 1.  Sara Eickhoff reports that son, Hayden, now two months old, enjoys the sisal-look wool, chemical-free Nature’s Carpet his Mom won by submitting some of the best tips for keeping a natural and healthy home that we received. “ We converted the large piece into smaller area rugs, which we use throughout the house, including one that Hayden uses daily for tummy time,” Eickhoff says. “It's so nice to know he's getting the comfy support he needs for this activity, while at the same time avoiding unnecessary chemical exposure.”

Styling, price and performance determine engineered hardwood flooring sales, though environmental attributes abound If you’re thinking about putting engineered hardwood flooring in your home, style, performance and price – rather than the product’s planet friendliness – are probably the points you are pondering. More people in the Midwest are choosing engineered hardwood because of a growing demand for wider plank flooring, particularly the 5-inch wide hand-scraped products. The fact that these products use less premium hardwood than solid wood floors, along with other green attributes, is not the focus.

Toledo customer wanted a planet-friendly product that also offered healthier indoor air Ordering and installing Nature’s Carpet “felt great for a number of reasons,” says Julee, who now has “Clearwater,” part of the “Dark Green” line, in her home in Holland, OH. She found the carpet at Carpets by Otto, which has several locations in the Toledo area. The “Dark Green” line from Nature’s Carpet is made from New Zealand Wool, with no synthetic materials or chemical additives. Julee wanted a product that was good for the planet and would not emit chemicals in her home. “After having lots of negative symptoms with new carpeting, I was wonderfully surprised at the lack of odor with Nature’s Carpet, which means, of course, there were no chemicals to off-gas,” she says. “I purchased the wool felt padding as well. For the first time in my life, there literally was no odor from the carpet. With my chemical sensitivities, I had zero problems with the carpet. It was a true Godsend.”

Part I: Engineered hardwood flooring can be a greener option than solid, but there are many factors to consider before you buy We knew the day would come. Many of us in the green products industry pushed engineered wood floors because they require less premium wood to manufacturer than solid hardwood floors. Many customers resisted. Solid wood is stronger, lasts longer and doesn’t echo when you walk on it, they argued. Not true, we countered. When properly manufactured and installed, engineered wood floors can be more durable and feel almost the same underfoot as a solid, hardwood floor. Today, the argument has dwindled. Engineered hardwood is a top pick for people building green homes on the West Coast. And the trend also has spread across the country. It’s even apparent in the Midwest.