Granite Counters May No Longer Help Sell Your Condo
We just celebrated the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, now expanded into Earth Week. On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, I happened to be on a family trip to Washington D.C. and on the mall where the first Earth Day event was taking place. I can still remember listening to a young Ralph Nader speak about the need to protect the environment. Thirty years have gone by and our environmental problems have become so much worse. Maybe it’s time for us to start taking our part in the problem more seriously. So here is my contribution for Earth Week 2008 (a tiny bit late).
There has been a lot of focus on ‘green buildings‘ lately, like the new Garden Street Lofts in Hoboken, which also happen to be some of the highest priced Hoboken condos ever. Yet every day I hear buyers ask “does that condo have granite counters and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen?” and “are the bathrooms all tiled?” Many sellers think that putting new granite counters in the kitchen or replacing the carpets with hardwood floors is an easy, inexpensive way to upgrade their condo before selling. Granite, marble and most other stone is not green! Stones like marble, granite, slate, sandstone and limestone come from quarries. They are dug out of the earth from quarries which leave behind a huge, permanent, ugly gouge in the mountainside that disfigures the landscape for years and years. Stone quarrying causes all sorts of destruction to natural habitats, noise pollution, air pollution and water contamination from waste. We’ve all learned what damage has been done to our forests by over harvesting of trees. Now hardwoods are “FSC” certified (they come only from forests that are sustainable).
Why Not Recycled Paper or Glass For Your Next Kitchen or Bath?
Today there are hundreds of green products you can consider when renovating your condo. From recycled paper counter tops to reclaimed hardwood and even tile floors, the choices are affordable and attractive. There are many websites like the GreenHomeGuide where you can find advice and descriptions of these new options. Many of us, myself included, thought that if you wanted an upscale, luxurious finish granite, marble and stone were the way to go. Now we know better and have the information to make an intelligent, responsible choice. So before you begin selecting granite colors or looking at hardwood floors, explore the new options. Here are just a few to start:
- Bamboo for floors, cabinets and counters
- Marmoleum (made from linseed oil and natural pigments),
- Glass tile from Oceanside Glass made of recycled glass,
- IceStone (icestone.biz) produced in Brooklyn. Made of cement and glass, 75 %recycled, it is suitable for floors, walls and counters. Surfaces are available in almost any color, as the pigment can be added to the background mix and customers can select from a variety of sizes and colors of glass.
- Vetrazzo by Vetrazzo LLC (www.vetrazzo.com), which uses 80 percent postconsumer or postindustrial recycled glass and produces no off-gassing or VOCs.
- EnviroSlab (www.enviroglasproducts.com) is a recycled-glass terrazzo built in a color-pigmented epoxy resin.
- PaperStone (www.paperstoneproducts.com) composed of postconsumer waste paper and natural resin. Very strong and durable, its Certified line of counters uses 100 percent postconsumer waste.
- Richlite (www.richlite.com) another paper-and-resin counter, made from pulp derived from managed forests in the U.S. Like PaperStone, this matte slab material comes in natural colors that add a soft, comfortable feel to the room. The surface is stain-, scratch-, and heat-resistant, durable, and easy to maintain.
- Counterfeit, manufactured by shektaStone (www.shetkastone.com), is made from decommissioned paper money. Tops are scratchproof, waterproof, and stain-resistant and come in shades of green, including one that looks like marble and another that has pieces of U.S. Treasury bills visible in it.
- Reclaimed tile floors – take a look at the gorgeous ones at Pave Tile & Stone.
The list grows every day as more manufacturers are answering the demands of consumers for greener, healthier products. Remember, those same consumers are the ones willing to pay top dollar for environmentally friendly living spaces like the Garden Street Lofts. When time comes to sell, your greener floors and fixtures will lead to more green in your wallet! There are plenty of resources on the web where you can learn more about green building and remodeling alternatives. One of the most respected informational sites is buildinggreen.com. You’ll be surprised by the beauty and affordability of these new options and can sleep better at night knowing you did your part to help protect the earth while getting top dollar when you sell your Hoboken condo.