Albuquerque small business
- What is currently on the floor?
- If you are replacing an existing hard surface flooring, floating floor planks can simply float directly on your existing floor if it is well secured and flat. In fact, if you have very old synthetic tile – they could contain asbestos and it’s best just left in place and covered.
- Do you have a worn, ugly wood floor – or is there an old wood floor under the carpet ? Perhaps just a good sanding and recoat is all you need. Remember to use less toxic, healthier stains and finishes – yes, we offer those!
- What is the substrate the flooring be installed on top of?
- Concrete slabs are most common here in New Mexico at ground level. If your concrete slab is in good shape you can simply etch, stain and seal. If it needs repair, spread a concrete micro-topping before staining and sealing. If you prefer not to live on a hard and chilly floor, woods, bamboo, natural linoleum (marmoleum) and corks are available that just ‘float’ – no glue or nails required. Several styles have a built-in underlayment - the woods will require an additional underlayment – we like 1/8″ cork.
- Some solid woods can be glued directly to concrete.
- Tile can be installed directly on concrete, but again is hard and cold.
- If you have in-floor radiant heat a floating floor can work great but some certainly work better than others in conducting heat and/or performance.
- Plywood or particle board is another common floor substrate. Most all flooring choices can be either glued, nailed or floated on this substrate.
- Will you hire somebody to install your floor or Do-It-Yourself?
- Some flooring materials are best installed by a professional. For instance, sheet marmoleum requires special skills, tools and knowledge of the material.
- Gluing and/or nailing a wood floor also requires a skill level and the appropriate tools.
- Drop-n-Lock or click panels are the easiest to install or the least expensive labor.
- There are lots of great videos online to help instruct you along the way. Rent or borrow the tools you may need.
- How will the room or space be used?
- Consider how much use and what kind of use you expect the floor to manage. For instance, cork is a wonderful choice for kitchens and bedrooms where we spend lots of time on our feet and/or barefoot, but may not be a great choice for a mudroom.
- If you are hiring a contractor, have them look at the job prior to ordering materials, they can help determine the correct amount of material to order and explain exactly what will be required to get the best install. We can recommend an installer that is experienced with our flooring if you like.
- The flooring you choose most likely needs to be ordered and shipped to the store. Allow for 10 days to 2 weeks for the product to arrive at the store.
- Flooring products require time to acclimate in your home before installation. Solid woods can take up to 3 weeks while engineered woods, cork and marmoleum only about 3 days.
- Assure your floor or substrate is level enough – some filling and sanding may be required before installation.
- What about the baseboards? Can they be re-used?
- Pre-finished materials can be lived on immediately, while refinishing a wood floor or staining and finishing a concrete floor will take more time. The finishes need to dry and cure before moving back into the room.
- Most all hard surface flooring manufacturers will require and/or suggest a humidifier – keeping the humidity to between 30% and 50%. In reality most of us do not run a humidifier and most floors do okay without them, however it may invalidate your warranty.
- Keep the floors swept – dust underfoot acts as sandpaper, wearing your floor.
- Damp mop as necessary.
- Use the manufacturer’s recommended cleaner. Usually a good, PH Neutral cleaner will work. Always test a small spot if unsure.
- Manufacturers also may have their own polish. These are applied as necessary to renew the luster of the floor.
Southwest Green Building Center would like to help you choose a beautiful floor! We will make sure you leave with installation and maintenance instructions! Do it right the first time for a healthy floor that will last a lifetime!
Keeping it Non-Toxic, Gorgeous and Affordable with Marmoleum from Forbo Industries.
Marmoleum – Natural Linoleum - ”The most natural of materials” “Life-cycle analysis shows that our linoleum products are the ecologically preferred floor covering. Linoleum is produced from renewable materials: linseed oil, rosins, wood flour, jute and ecologically responsible pigments. These materials underlie the charm that gives each design its inimitable, distinguished look.” from http://www.forbo-flooring.us/Environment/Our-environmental-promise/
Marmoleum is Asthma & Allergy Certified – the components in the materials are naturally anti-microbial – making this an extremely healthy flooring material. Available in both sheet goods and click planks in 1′ x 3′ and 1′ x 1′ – perfect for patterns. So many fun and fantastic colors too!
Keeping it Non-toxic, gorgeous and affordable at Southwest Green Building Center with US Floors.
US Floors - “USFloors Natural Bamboo, Natural Cork and Natural Lino products all satisfy LEED credits for Indoor Air Quality AND meet the European E0 Standard, a strict test that measures the amount of formaldehyde in a product. Formaldehyde is found in the glues and adhesives used to make bamboo and cork floors, but USFloors specifies low formladehyde content in all of its Natural Bamboo and Natural Cork floors to exceed health standards established in the United States, Europe, and Japan. 100% formaldehyde-free products are our ultimate goal. In addition, HDF core boards used for our floors have no added formaldehyde.” from http://www.usfloorsllc.com/why-natural-cork/eco-mission/
Navarre Wood Floors – “Lyon” – 5/8″ x 12″ x 86 5/8″ – FSC Engineered - Natural Oil Finish - $5.19/sq. ft. till gone.
Engineered Drop & Lock Strandwoven Bamboo – Spice, Tiger or Natural – 3/8″ x 3-3/4″ x 36″
Special – $3.59/sq. ft.
These photos were taken at my sister’s home. She installed over 1000 square feet last year and loves it. Removing the carpet and installing this flooring created an entirely new look and clean feel in her home. It is wearing incredibly well – no scuffs or marks!
US Floors offers hundreds of patterns in cork flooring. These floors offer comfort and beauty for the life of your home. Great in the kitchen where you spend most time on your feet. Everyday pricing ranges from $3.89 – $6.69/sq. ft.
This discontinued style is $3.29/sq. ft. while it lasts!
Stop in today!
If you are in the market for a new sofa, bed, dining table, baby furniture or even new cabinets, you might want to do a bit of research to find out what’s really in there. Like most consumer products, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive furniture, shelving and cabinetry will be constructed with pressed wood – a particle board, plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) with a thin veneer of real or faux wood or laminate. The problem lies in the adhesives used to bind the wood or wood bits together – which most likely contain formaldehydes. Formaldehyde is off-gassed from these pressed woods for years after the purchase and can greatly affect your health, especially in infants and elderly folks.
Solid hardwood, on the other hand, is a much better choice – just watch the finishes. Although most all solid hardwoods emit negligible natural VOC’s, some stains and finishes contain high levels of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) which can off-gas unwanted fumes.
Furniture with cushions or soft seating, like loungers and sofas, are constructed of fabrics stuffed with foams or fibers. The first issue is the foams – they are usually made with synthetic and petro based products. Petro-based materials are often composed of numerous hazardous chemicals. Another issue with cushions are they most likely contain fire retardants. According to a July 2012 article by Chicago Tribune reporter, Michael Hawthorne, “some of the most widely used chemicals are linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility.” Fortunately the same article says the EPA recently announced it will conduct a broad investigation of flame retardants. Meanwhile, the Consumer Product Safety Commission urged lawmakers to grant special authority that could speed the removal of hazardous flame retardants from new upholstered furniture, including sofas that can contain up to 2 pounds of the chemicals in their foam cushions.
Furniture – some answers
Remember that phrase, you get what you pay for? Furniture, especially beds and mattresses may be the area you want to make that extra investment. For starters, do it for you and your family’s health – priceless indeed. In addition, good constructed furniture made with solid hardwoods will outlast a particle board/veneer finished piece ten times over. While your mattress may not become a family heirloom, a nice piece of furniture certainly will hold it’s value and can be used for generations. This saves money, resources, and prevents more unnecessary additions to the landfills.
If you have recently purchased shelving, furniture or cabinetry, look inside or underneath the piece to determine the construction. Particle board, plywood and oriented strand-board are pieces of wood that are glued together to make a board. Particle board is made of very small wood fibers, OSB contains larger pieces of wood and plywoods are thin slices of wood glued together to achieve a desired thickness. If it is indeed made with plywood, particle board or OSB, you can apply a coat of AFM’s SafeSeal or HardSeal, sealing the material to prevent further out-gassing. Even if the furniture is laminated or painted, a coat of HardSeal can do the trick. If the furniture is over 5 years old, the out-gassing is pretty much over – don’t worry about it.
If you recently purchased a sofa or chair – something with cushy seating (foams) and pretty fabric – it is probably treated with fire-retardants. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to it to rid of the chemicals, short of replacing the foam. However, off-gassing is strongest at first, so if you can let your new stuff air out in the garage or outside for the first several weeks, you can help to minimize the problem.
What to look for in new furniture:
- Old furniture – that’s right – used furniture has already had a chance to off-gas. Solid hardwoods will be much less expensive on Craigslist, the flea market or an estate sale. If a re-finish is in order, choose low VOC stains and/or finishes – we offer several good choices! Cushions can be re-stuffed with wool, natural latex or soy-based foams and/or re-upholstered with eco-fabrics.
- Untreated upholstery or non-toxic fabric treatments for fire resistance, waterproofing and stain-proofing
- Locally manufactured using local materials if possible
- Solid hardwood construction (no glues) or non-toxic glues
- Fabrics of organic cotton or another natural fiber
- Non-toxic stains and/or finishes
Southwest Green Building Center Solutions
AFM Safe Seal – is a multi-use, waterbased, low gloss sealer for highly porous surfaces such as particle board, plywood, processed wood and porous concrete. Used primarily to reduce toxic outgassing: in particular, it is highly effective at sealing in formaldehyde outgassing from processed wood such as plywood and particle board. Safecoat Safe Seal is virtually odorless on application and odorless once cured.
AFM Hard Seal – is a multi-use, clear gloss sealer specially formulated to provide scratch resistance to both low and high porosity surfaces. Because it forms a continuous membrane when applied properly, it is particularly effective at sealing in any pollution or toxic chemical compounds outgassing from the surface to which it is applied.
Stains & Finishes – we offer several products from AFM Safecoat, Eco-Procote, OSMO and Vermont Natural Coatings
Dapwood Furniture – Bedframes, nightstands and dressers made from solid hardwood – right here in Albuquerque! Check out their great looking items at www.dapwood.com or on our website.
Savvy Rest Mattresses – no fire retardants – the wool component provides the required fire resistance. All natural and organic foam too! Crib mattresses also available and becoming popular!
Dapwood + Savvy + latex/wool stuffed pillows = an awesome sofa or daybed!
Speed & Distance
Questions of “how fast” and “how far” seem to be the most popular questions beyond cost. In short, cost and performance are correlated – and both are heavily determined by the battery.
For example, you can do the basic conversion with lead acid batteries, plug-in to your garage outlet for 8 hours per night and be able to get around town the following day. The miles you can travel would be anywhere from 20 to 40 – at top speeds of about 60 mph. A conversion is normally optimized for the particular needs of the driver. You could even start with a lead-acid battery pack then convert to a high performing lithium battery pack down the road.
The high performance Tesla with a bank of lithium batteries can charge in 15 minutes at a Level 4 Station (see Charging Stations below), reach a speed of 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and travel 245 miles per charge at reasonable speeds.Lead acid batteries have a lifetime of 3 to 4 years and take you about 20,000 miles. Lithium batteries last 6 to 8 years and can take you around 150,000 miles. The lead based batteries weigh twice the lithium and have half the range. The cost to replace the lithium battery is about 4X higher, but the overall added value and performance of the lithium battery is the future of the electric vehicle. Southwest Green Building Center recently installed a Level 1 charging station. Fees are $.50 for the first hour and $.25 each additional. Fees are waived throughout the month of September in celebration of National Plug-in Day, which is September 23rd.
Next time you ‘take the trash out’, take a good look inside. What materials take up the most space? Is anything reusable or repairable? Can you reduce the amount of disposable products you use? Can you substitute products that aren’t available in packaging made of reusable or recyclable materials? If you are throwing away leftover products, can you give them to someone else or compost it? Helpful shopping guidelines:
- Do you really need it?
- Buy durable products instead of those that are disposable or cheaply made – watch “The Story of Stuff” for great info.
- Repair/restore used items before replacing them.
- Buy items you can re-use.
- Buy items you can recycle locally through curbside collection or recycling centers.
- Avoid excess packaging and buy products in bulk when sensible. Think lunchbox items!!
- Save $50.00 on either a Bio Orb or GardenWise Backyard Composter. Now just $79.00.
- Make your next mattress an organic Savvy Rest - they last 2-3 times longer than a conventional mattress.
- Save $1 per box on all sizes of BioBags.
- Avoid Carpet – huge item to landfill every 10 years – yowza!
- Save $5 on a Max-Air Kitchen Composter – to gather your composting for transport to the larger pile.
- Bring your rechargable batteries here for appropriate recycling.
- Composting Thermometers – only $20.00 in August.
- Complimentary “Dispose-A-Paint” packets for safe disposal of paint – while they last.
Clay Plaster is a wall finish, called American Clay, that replaces paint. It is made right here in New Mexico, is non-toxic and has zero VOC’s. It can be applied on drywall and on previously painted or plastered walls. There are 4 finishes of varying texture and appearance and hundreds of colors available. American Clay creates a wall that functions and looks like no other. While you’re admiring the calming beauty of your walls, they are absorbing odors and controlling moisture. In addition, this wall treatment lasts a lifetime and is easy to repair. You can apply American Clay Plaster yourself or we’ll send Kent, with Solamente Clay Walls, over for a complimentary application quote. Solamente Clay Walls has their showroom in our entry so you can see and feel American Clay on large walls.
Clay Paint by Green Planet Paints features ingredients like plant resins, clay and other natural minerals - material that has been in paints for thousands of years. While the color palette is limited, they are all naturally occurring mineral and clay based colors that appeal to all. Green Planet Paints contain zero VOC’s and are non-toxic – this paint actually improves air quality. Available in eggshell and flat – light and mid-range colors.
Clay Stone is a fun one – both a super durable finish by Solamente Clay and the name of Kent’s two man band. Solamente Clay Walls – American clay applicators – achieve their signature Clay Stone finish with a special lime wash. Great for bancos and high traffic walls.
On the other hand, Clay Stone the band- yes, named after the finish by Kent Gurley, Solamente Clay owner, is a super fun duo. I have enjoyed a couple very festive evenings with entertainment provided by these guys. So whether you need entertainment or an amazing finish – call Kent at 205-6010!
Recently a customer reluctantly called asking about pricing on EcoTimber strand woven bamboo. She knew it was rated #1 in Consumer Reports 2 years in a row. She was not even going to bother calling as she had already contacted the larger outlets in Albuquerque offering EcoTimber and was discouraged by the high pricing. When she heard my price she came in the next day, confirmed the product and pricing and placed the order! Dianne recently sent this email with a beautiful photo and the following testimonial, encouraging me to “get the word out”.
“After extensive research, I discovered EcoTimber Bamboo Flooring was top rated by a consumer magazine. I went to several bigger stores thinking they would be less expensive. Boy was I wrong. SouthWest Green Building Center was not only one of the least expensive businesses to buy from, this business was a pleasure to work with. The EcoTimber flooring is absolutely gorgeous! It has transformed the whole room. I definitely plan to floor my entire house in this incredibly durable and beautiful flooring.”
See you again soon Cathy
My thanks to Dianne for the photo and taking the time to send me this wonderful note.
Thanks in part to Dianne’s testimonial, our website is improved and now offers an online buying opportunity. Most importantly, everyone can now see the pricing of our products on the site. This will help us all and show that buying from a small local business is not more expensive! In fact there are many reasons buying local and supporting small business makes sense – read more about that next blog.
Cathy Kumar – Owner/Operator