Community: Green products and materials

Q & A Instructions

[Click map to enlarge]

The web site has a wealth of articles on a wide variety of construction topics. Before posting your question, you may want to check out the articles on this page: How To Do Everything. You just might discover an article there that provides the information you seek.

Please register for a free account or sign in to ask and answer green building questions.

If you want to post a question, the usual rules of courtesy apply:
1. Be nice.
2. If you can't be nice, be polite.
3. If you can't be nice or polite — well, please be brief.

To attach a photo or illustration: Under the box labeled “More explanation,” look for the words “File attachments.” Click that, and you should be able to attach a photo.

Thanks for joining the conversation!

1 Answer

How do I know whether the finish on a hardwood is safe?

We need to rip up our carpet ASAP because my mom told use to use scotch guard and we and our 5 month old little baby have had health problems for five months.

We were thinking of having lumber liquidators install hardwoods bc we can only afford around 8,000 for the materials and labor for a 1500 sq ft home in Greenville sc.

What is a safe hardwood? Unfinished? If we get pre finished how do we know it is safe?

We are concerned our son might develop autism because he has showed signs of regression and we need to eliminate as many toxins as possible from the home.

Thank you

Asked By Wendy Waskovich | Sep 18 13
16 Answers

Shortchanged on spray foam

OK - So I began to rip down some of the smelly open cell foam and realized that the foam guy
completely ripped me off with the closed cell that was supposed to be under the open cell. There was supposed to be 2" of closed cell....I'm lucky if there is 3/4.

My question is do I leave the envelope alone and just live with it or do I have someone come in and rip it all out and seek legal action for the removal and for the shortchanging on the closed cell?

I'm supposed to have R-38 in the roof decking. I'm lucky if I have R-24 or R-30 in some areas.

Asked By joe k | Jun 19 13
8 Answers

U-value calculation of glazing on custom windows

In the midst of a micro-cabin SIP build that uses very custom sized windows and doors. The frames have been built and are awaiting the custom-ordered glazing. I've searched all local suppliers of insulated replacement glass and can't find anyone that knows what the u-value is on the units which they sell.
Is it possible that u-value is only tested on completed doors and windows (As I'm being told)?

Asked By Al Cobb | Sep 11 13
2 Answers

Zero-VOC vapor barrier and foam/caulk?

I have to replace the vapor barrier in my crawl space and air seal all plumbing and HVAC sub-floor penetrations.

I wonder if there's a zero voc vapor barrier and zero voc foam/caulk that can be used for these purposes.

I live in the 4A geographical area (Raleigh NC).

Thank you.

Asked By Aldo Valenti | Sep 4 13
2 Answers


Hi - I am battling serious solar heat on the west-facing wall of my FL home that is 90% windows.
Experts: what is the most efficient window technology I can get?
- Does anyone have much experience with thermochromic/electrochromic?
- How about Suspended film (SF)?
- Can you steer me to installers in the Tampa/Clearwater area?


Asked By David Sillman | Sep 3 13
4 Answers

ARXX ICF versus Durisol ICF in a Mixed Humid Climate?

I'm trying to evaluate the pros and cons of using ARXX ICF versus Durisol ICF in a mixed humid climate. I've used ARXX here in North Carolina and definitely like the system. I'm considering Durisol because I would like to direct-apply a stucco finish. I'm familiar with a Durisol - type system built in a cold dry climate (Innsbruck) and it seems ideal still many years later. However, i have heard concerns about moisture in the wall assembly as well as thermal bridging in the Durisol product. I'm grateful for any help...

Asked By Randall Lanou | Feb 24 11
0 Answers

Green wood sealer

I am looking for a green good quality sealer for wood window sills and vertical trim. Has anyone tried the Envirolast XT, or Target Stays Clear EMtech EM2000vxw or the Benjamin Moore Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane all listed in the product guide here? Do they stay clear and how is the wear and water resistance?



Asked By Patrick Walshe | Aug 27 13
9 Answers

Sound insulation for existing apartment interior wall

My apartment has a common wall with a neighbor that has poor sound insulation consisting of a thin fiberglass batting. I can hear conversations taking place on the other side of the wall. It's got to be reciprocal, right? When this room was built above the garage, we had cellulose insulation blown into the exterior walls and ceiling. At that time I had no idea how bad the sound insulation was between the two apartments. The contractor said that they couldn't blow the insulation into the common wall because of existing fiberglass batting insulation in that wall.

Asked By Daniel Weiss | Aug 21 13
11 Answers

LED recessed cans?


Looking for opinions on LED recessed cans vs. installing LED bulbs in a standard recessed can. It seems it costs much less to install a standard can and install LED bulbs. As well as giving you more flexibility to change/ upgrade the bulb as advances are made in the LED technology.

We have only used the LED cans a few times and they seem to work well.

FYI - these cans are going into the first floor ceiling, not a roof...

Asked By Chris Harris | Feb 26 13
2 Answers

Concrete with insulation value?

Anyone heard of concrete with R value in the R1/inch range?

Asked By Jerry Chwang | Aug 23 13
Register for a free account and join the conversation

Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!