Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to make sure your new cabinets are as green as they come, no matter where you have them installed.
Cost vs. Value and Going Green with Cabinetry
First and foremost, many people are concerned with the budget implications of going green with cabinetry. Many may ask if going green is worth the trouble where cabinets are concerned. Going green with your kitchen, bath, or other cabinetry project isn’t about finding the cheapest price. From a green remodeling perspective, greening your cabinets means eliminating common health risks associated with economy cabinetry materials.
- Avoid MDF, Interior Grade Plywood, and Particleboard—Every one of these products is a major ingredient in stock and semi-custom residential cabinetry. They also all contain urea formaldehyde based adhesives, a proven carcinogen that can off-gas into your home for years after installation. If you can, avoid cabinetry made from medium density fiberboard, interior grade plywood, and particleboard.
- Seal MDF, Interior Grade Plywood, and Particleboard—If you do purchase cabinetry made from these materials (most cabinets you can purchase contain these materials to some degree), be sure to paint over any exposed surfaces with several coats of a paint or sealer before installation.
- Choose Custom Cabinetry Made with Formaldehyde-free products—From a health perspective, the greenest cabinetry on the market is custom cabinetry. It also happens to be the most beautiful and functional cabinetry solution, since it’s custom built for you, your space, and your needs.
- Use Low- or no-VOC Paints, Stains, and Sealers—Paints, sealers, stains, and other finishes used on cabinetry can off-gas a host of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your indoor environment, including some that have been implicated in skin disorders, respiratory problems, and even cancer. By choosing low- or no-VOC paints, stains, and sealers, you’ll reduce your exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals, or eliminate them all together.
Which Shade of Green is Right for You?
While thinking green when it comes to cabinetry is a smart choice for your health and the environment, it’s not unusual for homeowners to feel a little overwhelmed when presented with the full scope of green remodeling options. If you’re feeling unsure about how green you’re willing to go with your new cabinetry installation, there’s no need to worry. Going green isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, and any step you take in a green direction is a smart one whether you paint an old set of cabinets with low-VOC paints or spring for a set of custom built cabinetry for your kitchen or bath remodel.