Whether you are completely remodeling your kitchen or simply replacing your old cabinets, cost is likely one of your considerations. However, your new project may take a toll on the environment as well as your bank balance. Replacing cabinets creates plenty of waste as well as plenty of bills, but there are options. Could going-green save you money as well as being beneficial to the environment? Here are three areas to consider before remodeling:
Is Refacing an Option?
Refacing involves fitting completely new doors, drawer faces and hardware to your existing cabinets, meaning that the interiors are not touched. If you are changing the layout of your kitchen, refacing isn’t an option. However, if you are happy with the layout of your old cabinets but simply want a new exterior look, refacing may be of interest. Most old cabinets end up in landfill, especially if they are particleboard. The bad news is that this material likely contains formaldehyde and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) that will seep out into the environment. Refacing keeps a huge amount of material out of landfill sites and typically costs around 50% less than what you would pay for full cabinet replacements.
Is Certified Wood Available?
Wood grown in a responsibly managed forest is certified as sustainable because for every tree cut, a new tree is planted. The exact certification stickers and logos you’ll need to look for when shopping for cabinets will depend on the source of the wood. For instance, if the wood comes from Canada, you may see the FSC Forest Stewardship Council Canada (FSC-CA) logo on the cabinets. This tells you that the wood used to make them comes from a managed forest. Using certified wood not only helps the environment but may save you money over the long term. Due to stringent standards, certified wood is often of a higher quality than wood lacking this standard. This leads to a longer lifespan of the wood and less chances of expensive repairs due to warping or cracking. Certified wood also uses formaldehyde-free glues and finishes with low volatile organic compounds that release very minimal or no toxic fumes into the environment.
Before you purchase cabinet doors, also ask if they’re built with wheat board or straw board as they’re made with agricultural waste, like chaff, that are left over from wheat crops in the farm. These also use formaldehyde-free glue and surpass the standards placed by the American National Standards Institute for medium density particleboard, which is commonly used to make cabinet boxes.
Does Reclaimed Wood Work?
If you want a standardized, uniform look to your kitchen cabinets, reclaimed wood isn’t for you. However, if you are happy with natural color variations and textures, using reclaimed wood could save you money and help the environment. It also offers a unique style as each piece could look slightly different. Reclaimed wood is essentially recycled wood. It may come from old buildings, structures or even discarded river logs. Using reclaimed timber means that you aren’t contributing to the demand for new timber, thus lowering your carbon footprint.
Each of the options discussed here are only suitable for certain circumstances, but it’s worth it to venture the options for the sake of the planet and your pocket. Considering the environment when choosing new cabinets can help reduce your costs as well as your impact on the environment.