When you are remodeling your home’s kitchen or planning a kitchen for new home construction, you have the freedom to choose environmentally friendly options for every aspect of the room. In a kitchen remodel, cabinets typically account for 40% to 50% of the total costs. By ensuring that the cabinets are eco-friendly, you’ll be making a wise investment in your remodel. All cabinets may seem the same, but you can pick out the ones best for the earth by following these guidelines.
Steer Clear Of Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, meaning that it has been confirmed as a chemical that can cause cancer. Cabinets and their interior boxes are typically made of fiberboard, particleboard, or plywood. Any of these materials are made with added urea formaldehyde binders or glues, which release fumes. Formaldehyde emissions in these materials are more regulated than in the past, but it is always best to ensure that the cabinetry you choose is certified as formaldehyde-free.
Minimize VOC Finishes
Coatings and finishes have two primary functions: protection and decoration. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds and are chemical fumes emitted from some materials. When you choose a finish for your cabinetry, make sure to choose one that is labeled “no-VOC” or “low-VOC” so that these fumes are not emanating from your kitchen cabinets. Water-based products have naturally fewer VOCs and are best for a safe and durable cabinet finish that improves your indoor air quality.
Use Sustainable Wood
You can make a sustainable choice for your cabinets by picking a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified solid wood. This certification guarantees that the wood has come from responsibly harvested forests. Alternatively, you can use salvaged wood for your kitchen cabinets. Not only will you have wooden cabinets with a history that you can share with guests, you’ll be reducing the amount of wood waste that commonly occurs during construction projects. Wood accounts for approximately 20% to 30% of construction and demolition waste.
Make Them Durable
Another way to ensure that your kitchen cabinetry is eco-friendly is to use materials that will last for decades. As you search through sustainable wood options, check that the wood will hold up against the wear and tear of kitchen use. Red oak is available in a wide range of styles and finishes that can be easily customized for your home’s kitchen. It is also one of the strongest and most durable wood cabinetry options. While oak has a pronounced grain pattern, birch is a fine-grain option that offers durability. Birch can take many finishes well, giving it the ability to fit into many different kitchens.
You can make your kitchen into a sustainable haven with a few smart choices. Research your options before you commit to any cabinet options and you can easily build a kitchen that demonstrates your eco-friendly values.