Monthly Archives: October 2010

DC Green Festival wool rug, sisal rug and $1,500 project drawing results

The event at the Washington Convention Center was immensely enjoyable for us as exhibitors and now it’s a bit more fun for 3 lucky winners.
Heather from Germantown won the $1,500 prize and selected a fantastic cork floor for her home.
Kristie from Fairfax won the natural wool rug.
Liza from Arlington won the natural sisal rug.

We had many entrants and as of this afternoon, I’m going to offer discounts to all (just not as steep as free rugs, but still great). Send me an email and let me know what natural flooring project interests you and we’ll put our resources into giving you the best deal, a zero-landfill installation and LEED-accredited advice.

All the best,

Chris

Chris Moline, LEED AP

How to install Teragren’s bamboo flooring – Drop and Lock strand

Teragren’s drop and lock strand woven bamboo represents a fantastic choice is sustainable, rapidly-renewable flooring.

All the best,

Chris

Chris Moline, LEED AP

DC Green Festival and green flooring

The DC Green Festival is winding down as I type this from our booth. We’ve had many conversations about cork flooring, sustainable harvesting of wood and FSC certification, and our zero-landfill facility… yes, we are zero-landfill!

If you were there and saw our booth, check out this link for some of the videos I’d mentioned – AlexandriaGreen.com
At the festival I mentioned eating a piece of Marmoleum to prove how green it is (a link to the video is there), my 75-lb German Shepherd on our cork floor (I have over 500 square feet of cork flooring installed in my home, and a tour of the Portuguese Cork Association mobile showroom.

All the best,

Chris

Bathroom Blogfest “Stuck in the 60s” inspired by Mad Men… This will be fun!

Heard of the “Bathroom Blogfest”? Well, thanks to Christine B. Whittemore, you’re reading a bit about it right now (thanks CB).
According to Christine, “This year’s theme “Stuck in the 60s?” is inspired by Mad Men, the show that has captured the imaginations of many for its portrayal of life in the 60s when social and cultural taboos meant that many critical aspects of life – like bathrooms – were ignored, glossed over and treated dreadfully.”
What’s my take?

bathroom blogfest

Well, it’s often been said in design that “what’s old is new.” I’d like to give that one a makeover…
“What’s old is new, but sometimes, it just plain sucks and needs to go!”
Think about it.
Who doesn’t want a bigger, more well-lit bathroom? I haven’t met anyone yet who prefers a closet-sized loo with a tiny, powder-blue tub and water-wasting toilet.
When it comes to a retrofit, have you ever have someone stuck in the past redo a room, then you learn about a fantastic option you could have had… say, heated floor with 7-day programmable thermostat like mine :)… but it’s too late now that an out-of-date point of view was steering the design truck?!
Or, what about your glass block throwback and baby-blue tile that be would in-style, sort of, if only it had x or y product or installation method/tile size/pattern?
How about a sustainable “green” retrofit?
Dual-flush toilets, low-flow faucets and shower heads, low-energy lighting… all of which would have gotten you laughed at in some showrooms years ago… are now top-of-mind and show forward-thinking. They also add value to your home, much more than, say, a wall sink with rusty steel legs and exposed trap, perhaps?

All the best,

Chris

Chris Moline, LEED AP

Our buddy “Blondie” the 195 lb Rottweiler comes to the office for a Friday “Big Dog” visit

Every time Arianna brings him in, we all have fun with this big guy.

If you want to know how a floor will hold up to a big dog… a really big dog, just ask Arianna or any of our gang and we’ll be happy to help. I’ve got a 75-lb German Shepherd and many different types of flooring in my home, all of which perform differently “under paw.”
The cork in the kitchen and sunroom really hides spots and takes a beating. The newly-refinished oak in my living room does well as long as I keep area rugs around to absorb the “Scooby” effect when my pup takes a corner fast.
The laminate in my Florida room has never shown a sign of an issue.


But, I say this because I’ve chosen each floor very carefully, knowing how I, my wife, three very active kids, and our big pup live.
All choices reflect a higher-end level of quality combined with some pattern to mask wear and spots.

It’s worked out very well.

All the best,

Chris

HLI & IAQ in your home – the Healthier Living Installation system with anti-microbial pad, spray and shoe covers, plus HEPA vacuuming for a cleaner, healthier home

The HLI – Healthier Living Installation – system impacts the interior environment in your home, which is incredibly important to your health. It’s for this reason that we’ve launched what we believe is the most people-friendly carpet installation system in the flooring industry.
As a US Green Building Council LEED AP familiar with IAQ issues (Indoor Air Quality) and their effect on health, I’m putting everything I have into this because I truly believe in it, and so does my team of professionals.
What is it?
or here is a quick video I recorded in our showroom:
HLI is a 4-step system designed to keep contaminants in your home to a minimum by doing the following:
– Installers use protective shoe covers – this means less particulate contaminants will be tracked into your home (you know – dust, bug parts, dirt, etc…);
– HEPA vacuums are used to clean the subfloor prior to installing pad – HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and represents the most advanced filtration method, keeping your indoor air cleaner.  Wikipedia: “A high efficiency particulate air, or HEPA (pronounced /ˈhɛpə/), filter is a type of high-efficiency air filter.”
HEPA vacuum used in HLI installation method
– A special anti-microbial spray is applied to your subfloor to minimize the growth of mold and mildew.  This means there is far less likelihood of mold growing in your subfloor or pad;
– HLI pad with anti-microbial protection built-in is then installed. This doubles up on the protection added by the spray and serves as extra insurance for you.
Now, I’m sure a lawyer would want me to add that we’re not a mold abatement company and all kinds of legal-ese… and that’s true, but we are a concerned bunch of professionals who’ve stepped up to the plate to offer you something no other company can – the HLI system.
And let me add an aside to this post.
I’ve been in the flooring business for 15 years and my wonderful wife has seen just about everything this field can throw at a guy. When I told her about this system, she said “Wow!” and really meant it. To me, that means the world!
Here’s to your healthier home,
Chris

Chris Moline, LEED AP

Flooring scams, carpet rip-offs, things you need to know before buying that new floor

I’ve been in the flooring business for nearly 15 years and one thing that constantly amazes me is the consistently poor quality of uniform information from different sales people. I’m not talking about blatant “bait and switch” scams of delivering a product other than what was sold.
What I’m referring to is a simple matter of obfuscation.
Even the mills seem to be in on the game by changing names of styles from store-to-store or big box, making it harder than heck to shop a product.
Well, I’m not going to accuse anyone in particular of doing anything wrong, but I am going to tell you how to spot, in the best case, a poorly-trained sales person, or in the worst case, an unscrupulous one.

First things first – get everything in writing.
You are entering into a contract and if you can’t get your understanding in writing, walk away.
Ask to see the warranty descriptions and know the difference between a “wear” warranty and a performance warranty (abrasive wear-through or texture retention).
If you don’t have at least a basic understanding of the protection you’re getting… think twice.
Second – make sure your pad (if you’re buying carpet) meets at least the mill’s minimum standard, or your warranty is worthless. Here’s an image of a very good piece of Karastan carpet totally ruined by inferior pad that didn’t meet the mill standard:

Base grade, foam pad ruined this carpet.

The above carpet was good quality… but the sales person, intentionally or not, killed it by specifying poor quality underlayment.
The pad above is a “builder-grade” (aka “crap”) 2.5-3 lb foam… and the mill minimum is 6 pound for cut pile, 8 pound for berber.
So, know what’s going under that fantastic floor as well.
Same goes for a floating floor where you may have expectations of sound-deadening, because all underlayments are not created equal.
I’ll be adding to this post, but you can add, too, by submitting your comments.
All the best,
Chris
Chris Moline, LEED AP, Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America

Chris is Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America & Alexandria Carpet One

Green Flooring In Northern Virginia and Washington DC – Where Do You Turn For The Most Accurate Information & No “Green-Washing”

I can say without a doubt that a zero-landfill, local, dedicated flooring business with 4 LEED AP’s and a LEED GA on-staff in Alexandria, Virginia just outside Washington DC would be your best bet.
Of course, I’m a bit biased, but the facts speak for themselves.
Are you looking for natural floors with no VOC’s?
How about un-dyed wool carpet with no added chemicals?
In fact, I’ve gone so far as to “put my money where my mouth is” so to speak and eat a piece of natural Marmoleum flooring, posting the video on YouTube!
Here it is

We’ll be at the DC Green Festival at the Washington Convention Center in a couple weeks, so come on out and let’s talk green floors!
Or, we can talk about biodiesel and solar energy since those are two of my hobbies as well.

All the best,

Chris

Chris Moline, LEED AP

 

Which LEED categories apply to wood flooring?

Though the type of certification may affect whether or not certain credits apply, the following should be a good guide.
Just be sure to use the latest USGBC regulations before making a decision.

Environmental Quality (EQ)
Environmental Quality (EQ) Prerequisite 2: Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control: To prevent contamination of indoor surfaces and systems, the project must be completely non-smoking or permit smoking only in limited, protected areas, even during construction.
Simply stated, no smoking on-site by crews.
On-site staff should have a designated smoking area for workers.
EQ Credit 3.1: Construction IAQ Management Plan:
This encompasses several areas:
• During Construction: The project manager will be concerned with anticipating and preventing IAQ problems resulting from the construction/ renovation process.
• Scheduling of Deliveries: Deliveries of wood and other absorbent materials are to follow dirt-, dust- and VOC-producing construction activities in order to reduce exposure to contaminants from other building materials.
• Source Control: Your highest dirt/ dust producing activities should be scheduled around other construction activities and could require you to work during “off hours”; the wood finishes and adhesives specified will be low-VOC or no-VOC.
• Pathway Interruption: The project documents may specify a dust containment system and your work area may be sectioned/sealed off and be exhausted directly to the outside.
• Housekeeping: for a wood flooring contractor, this is generally vacuuming and proper disposal of cut-offs and other waste.
EQ Credit 3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan: Before Occupancy: This credit requires a flush-out of the air volume with outdoor air, or testing the air contaminant levels after the installation of all finishes but before occupancy to document that pollutants and contaminants referred to in 3.1 have been dealt with properly.
EQ Credit 4.1: Low-Emitting Materials: Adhesives & Sealants: All wood flooring adhesives must comply with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule No. 1168, which specifies a VOC limit of 100 g/L less water. For subfloor adhesives, the limit is 50 g/L less water.
EQ Credit 4.2: Low-Emitting Materials: Paints & Coatings: All clear wood finishes, floor coatings, stains, primers and shellacs applied to wood flooring must not exceed the VOC content limits established in SCAQMD Rule 1113. Documentation of compliance and VOC limits are available from the manufacturers.
EQ Credit 4.3: Low Emitting Materials: Flooring Systems: All hard-surface flooring, including wood, must be certified as compliant with the FloorScore standard by an independent third-party or meet VOC emissions criteria developed by the California Department of Public Health, widely known as Section 1350.
EQ Credit 4.4: Low-Emitting Materials: Composite Wood & Agrifiber Products: For the wood flooring contractor, subflooring and engineered flooring fall under this credit. These materials, including their adhesives, must contain no added urea-formaldehyde resins. The credit allows for naturally occurring traces of formaldehyde.
Materials & Resources Materials & Resources Credit 2.1 & 2.2: Construction Waste Management: A project-wide plan will be in effect to divert waste from landfills. The wood flooring contractor’s cut-off waste and other un-usable wood materials, along with other construction debris, will go to a designated area for removal. If your flooring comes packaged, consider unpacking it at your company’s location. If possible, request that the manufacturer use the least amount of packaging while still protecting the product during shipping. This plan will also include cans, bottles and other food and beverage packaging brought onsite by construction personnel.
MR Credit 3.1 & 3.2: Resource Reuse: This involves something near and dear to my heart: wood flooring from reclaimed wood. Certification is not required for this but a statement of origin will be requested; a letter from a reputable supplier should suffice.
MR Credit 5.1 & 5.2: Regional Materials: To contribute to 5.1, flooring must have been milled within 500 miles of the project site; for 5.2, it must have been both harvested and milled within the 500-mile radius. If it is a salvaged wood (for MRc3) it must have been reclaimed from a building and milled within 500 miles. A statement of origin is required.
MR Credit 6: Rapidly Renewable Materials: For the wood flooring contractor, the only likely applicable product is bamboo flooring.
MR Credit 7: Certified Wood: FSC is the only certification accepted by LEED. FSC starts at the forest and goes via Chain-of-Custody (COC) certification to the manufacturer and distributor. Flooring contractors are considered the end user as it relates to COC. As LEED is written, if contractors install FSC-certified flooring they have purchased (and for which they have documentation—PO’s, invoices, etc.—showing the manufacturer’s FSC certification and FSC COC for all other parties in between), the flooring contractor does not need FSC COC certification. Reclaimed wood flooring is excluded from this credit.

Usually, a LEED AP assigned to work on a project will be aware of these facts, but it helps to be educated when shopping.

All the best,

Chris

Chris Moline, LEED AP

Chris Moline, LEED AP, Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America

Chris is Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America & Alexandria Carpet One