Green Finishes for Kitchens
Protect Your Family’s Health by Choosing Safe Finishes. Many materials and finishes in a renovated kitchen have the potential to cause health problems, but there are ways to avoid compromising your children’s health.
Seal Particleboard and MDF
Kitchen cabinets and counters are often constructed of particleboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF). Both these products often contain urea formaldehyde glue, a known cause of myriad health issues. To reduce exposure to the glue, paint exposed particleboard on cabinets or the underside of the counter top with several coats of a water-based, low VOC sealant. It is much preferred that sealing be completed at the factory or counter shop, prior to installation in your home.
Choose Low-Formaldehyde Products
Cabinets and countertops can be made using exterior grade plywood which is typically held together with a glue made of phenol formaldehyde. Phenol is less toxic than urea formaldehyde. The best option is to use formaldehyde-free MDF.
Choose Low- or No-VOC Paints and Wood Finishes
Walls are the largest surface area in the house. Every remodel requires painting when the work is completed. Use semi-gloss low or no VOC paints. They are water based and don’t off gas solvents into the living space. If you are finishing wood, like window sills, make sure that the low VOC wood finish is a good water-proofing sealant.
See Chapter 6, The Kitchen in the book Green Remodeling for more details.
Review Our Green Kitchen Remodel Best Practices