Best for Remodeling

Step into sustainability with these great home-improvement products.

| May/June 2009

  • Photo Courtesy Garuda Woven Art

  • Photo Courtesy Liberty Valley Doors

  • Photo Courtesy RainTube

  • Photo Courtesy Wicanders

Totally tubular

Gutters aren’t glamorous, but they’re essential. RainTube’s shape deflects debris, controls splash and works well with rainwater harvesting systems. Plus, it’s made from recycled—and perpetually recyclable—material. “We were looking for a way to collect water and withstand the elements,” RainTube cofounder Steve Spratt says. “We chose recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) as the core ingredient for the same reason it’s so terrible in the landfill—it lasts forever.” RainTube has a lifetime warranty, and you can return it to the company for recycling—a promise that earned the product Cradle to Cradle certification. “If you create products, you should take responsibility for them from birth to rebirth,” Spratt says. “We designed our product around that criteria.” RainTube: $6 per foot (installed). (866) 724-6356.

Get corked

Cork feels good on your feet—and your conscience. Cork flooring by Wicanders comes to your home via the centuries-old tradition of cork oak forestry in Portugal, where the bark is stripped from live trees every nine years, says marketing manager Ronit McGuthrie. The process does not harm the trees, and they reproduce their bark within a few years. Wicanders flooring is a byproduct of parent company Amorim, the world’s largest wine stopper maker, founded in 1868.      

“The agglomerated cork used to create our flooring is bound together with Acrodur, an eco-friendly resin,” McGuthrie says. “It’s 100 percent formaldehyde-free, and there’s no outgassing.” She notes that cork flooring will work in any room except the bathroom. “Our most recent innovation, the cork plank, is micro-beveled on all four sides and has a narrow width to resemble wood,” she says. “Its angled drop-in installation system makes it easy for people to install themselves.” Wicanders Cork Plank: $6.50 to $7.50 per square foot. (410) 553-6062.

Handmade underfoot

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