When you paint your house, the protocol is that you pick the paint color and the painter picks the paint brand, primer, spackle, caulk, joint compound and other building materials. After all, your painter is a professional, has been doing the job for a number of years, knows which paints will last, and can give a guarantee on products with which she or he is familiar.
You get to make the important choice: the color! Right? Wrong!
What really matters, more than the color, is any adverse health effects to you and your family. The common misconception that “it wouldn’t be on the market if it weren’t safe” is just that, a misconception. There are many products on the market which not only have the potential to be harmful during the remodel, but also leave a toxic residue. For example, joint compound can continue to off gas for many months after the application.
This happens with most remodeling. With tiles, you pick the tile or stone, and your contractor picks the cement, backerboard, tile setting material, grout, etc. With flooring, you pick the wood, and your contractor picks the underlayment, subfloor, vapor barrier, wood fill, etc. Selecting different tile setting material or different underlayment makes a difference with the ultimate product, even though you can’t see it.
Selecting green building materials doesn’t suffice. Sadly, many green building materials are toxic and the methods used matter as well with regards to leaving a toxic residue.
So, the question is, how can you know which building materials and methods are better, and even if you knew, how could possibly ask your contractor to use building materials and methods that you recommend when the contractor is the expert?
It is a challenge; but an important one since the health of your family is at stake.