Eco-Living Magazine

Inbox Inquiry: Refinish Or Replace Kitchen Cabinets?

By Livinggreenor

Inbox Inquiry: Refinish or Replace Kitchen Cabinets?

Today’s inbox inquiry comes from a Twitter follower wanting to know about kitchen cabinets.  Please see my response below and share your own advice in the comments section!

Inbox Inquiry: Refinish or Replace Kitchen Cabinets?

Answer:

It’s definitely better to refinish or reface your existing kitchen cabinets versus install new ones, even if you’re installing eco-friendly ones.

The greenest, eco-friendliest option is making your current kitchen cabinets work instead of replacing them.  By painting, refinishing and repairing, instead of replacing, you’ll save water, energy and other natural resources and have extra cash in your back pocket.

If you must go with new cabinets, opt for bamboo or wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  Choose wood bonded with formaldehyde-free glue and finished with low or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) varnish.

Also by using existing cabinet’s, you avoid adding a few hundred pounds of particleboard or plywood to the waste stream.  There are some organizations that will take them for recycling.  In Portland, organizations such as the Rebuilding Center is an option, but it’s always best to check first due to current inventory.

Formaldehyde

Probably the most important environmental benefit of cabinet refacing, however, has to do with indoor air quality.  The off-gassing of urea-formaldehyde resins found in plywood and particleboard cabinetry can be quite toxic.  People with chemical sensitivities can experience respiratory problems and nausea in the presence of formaldehyde gas.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “In homes, the most significant sources of formaldehyde are likely to be pressed-wood products made using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde resins. Pressed-wood products made for indoor use include: particleboard (used as sub-flooring and shelving and in cabinetry and furniture); hardwood plywood paneling (used for decorative wall covering and used in cabinets and furniture); and MDF (used for drawer fronts, cabinets and furniture tops).”  Formaldehyde tends to off-gas more rapidly at first but then decreases over time.  For example, ten-year-old cabinets shouldn’t emit much formaldehyde, if any at all.  So why replace them with new ones that pose a health risk.  Opting for eco-friendly cabinets are an option, but refacing or refinishing is always a better option.

If you’re looking for more detailed information on cabinets, check out the Green Building Green Cabinets Guide.  It takes you through a series of questions, helps you formulate the right plan, gives you a better understanding of air quality and resource conservation and goes over common materials found in cabinets to help make your decision easier.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Through the Eyes of My Expat Child! Lessons Learned.

    Through Eyes Expat Child! Lessons Learned.

    People keep saying to me, “Oh your little girl must be loving the normality of being back home in Australia.” I smile, nodding meekly, not wanting to seem... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Mint Mocha Musings
    EXPAT, SELF EXPRESSION, TRAVEL
  • Taking Stock – April 2017

    Taking Stock April 2017

    Another Month has come and gone!  We are travelling through 2017 far too quickly!   As much as I would love time to stand still for a moment – it can’t, and it... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Mischieviousmum
    FAMILY, LIFESTYLE
  • Soda Sales at Deepest Valley Since 1985

    Soda Sales Deepest Valley Since 1985

    US soda sales are at the lowest since 1985. And they're not likely to pick up soon, as reports about the potentially brain-damaging properties of sugary drinks... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Cartoon Guide to Biodiversity Loss XLI

    Cartoon Guide Biodiversity Loss

    Number 41 of my semi-regular instalment of biodiversity cartoons, and the first for 2017. See full stock of previous ‘Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss’... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Bradshaw
    ENVIRONMENT
  • Snow in April

    Snow April

    Seriously what is going on with the weather? I woke up yesterday morning looked out the window and was greeted by beautiful blue skies, brilliant I though to... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Ashley Crombet-Beolens
    ENVIRONMENT
  • 10 Reasons to Front-toss

    Reasons Front-toss

    Sitting or standing, underhand or overhand, front-toss is tough to beat.There are several ways to practice hitting. Live BP and hitting off a tee are popular... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Meachrm
    BASEBALL, SPORTS
  • Crooked Federal Judge R. David Proctor, with His Deep-seated Ties to Perjurious...

    Crooked Federal Judge David Proctor, with Deep-seated Ties Perjurious Trump Jeff Sessions, Proves Apple Fall from Tree

    Judge R. David Proctor (center), with family members whohave benefited from ties to corrupt Trump AG Jeff Sessions(From facebook.com)How many ways can a... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Rogershuler
    LEGAL, SOCIETY