For some reason I’m amused at being able to title a post, “off-gassing.” Bear with me…
I snuck out of the house for a brief period on Friday night to shoot some pictures (results as yet unknown), but otherwise I spent nearly the entire weekend painting half of my basement. The idea is to go from the autumnal, pumpkin colored walls (I am beginning to despise the previous owners’ adoration of dark wall colors) to a nice, warm, space-opening, volume-perception-increasing, pale yellow. So there I was, taking in all 16 hours of golf coverage whilst painting. The other half of the basement will get done soon – perhaps this coming weekend – once I’ve adequately slid the furniture around to allow me to get to it.
The paint we’re using follows the ethos of previous painting projects – Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint, which is a low-VOC product that features less off-gassing impact and higher overall indoor air quality than normal paints once it has dried. That’s the catch, though – it has to be dry. While wet it is like any other paint. Its gasses are stinky and surely unhealthy to breathe in. Being cooped up in my basement, comprised of 4 small windows (only one of which opens) and putting three coats of paint on half of my basement led to umm, a loss of appetite, let’s say. Or, a wildly more exciting experience watching Y.E. Yang’s PGA Championship victory. Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad.
All this painting is in preparation for new carpeting that we’re having installed in our basement. For some reason the previous owners completely finished the basement except for the floors. They chose to paint the concrete and that was it. After seeking long-term resale advice from our trustworthy realtor (oxy-moron, no) we decided to finish the floors with carpeting. We would have loved to go with cork or some other renewable material, but he said for the sake of resale value, we should stick with something potential buyers know and trust. So on Friday, we signed a contract to have carpet installed in our basement. While we wait for it to arrive, we decided we should paint – to achieve the colors we want that will match the carpet we selected, while we don’t need to worry about drop-sheets. And, the sooner we paint, the drier the walls will be by the time the carpet comes in (a month from now).
While it would have been nice to have the carpets there when we bought the house, this reno project has allowed us to choose exactly the flooring we want and keep in line with our low-impact, sustainable, semi-granola philosophies. The product we found comes from a company called Shaw, who are apparently research leaders in using recycled material in carpet. It is made from recycled PET bottles – otherwise known as pop bottle plastic. This carpet has great durability, looks like any other carpet, feels even more luxurious, and has the same or better warranty. Regular carpet is a bane on the environment – typically comprised of chemicals and using fossil fuels in the manufacturing process, and the resultant fabric can become a haven for mould and bacteria. While the carpet we chose did not exactly fall ripe out of a tree, it is made of 100% recycled material and it is inherently resistant to staining, moisture and microorganisms. Some quick references can be found here, here and here (scroll down 3/4).
We’re hoping that the painting and flooring installation will all take place before mid-September, when we head out to Vancouver Island for two weeks. More on that later.