Monthly Archives: April 2012

Benefits of Clay Plaster for Your Home & Health

Traditional paints are now widely known for their toxic properties. Painting your walls and ceilings with these kinds of materials will introduce harsh chemicals into your home. As indoor spaces rarely receive proper ventilation, dangerous fumes can easily linger in your interior air for years to come. Such toxins can be the culprits behind headaches, fatigue, dizziness, asthma, heart disease, and cancer. So if you’re looking to spruce up your walls this spring, don’t put your family’s health in danger. Instead, consider natural clay plaster as a healthier and more eco-friendly alternative.

Unlike typical paints, which are laden with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), natural clay plaster is safe for interior painting. Clay plaster is made from pure, naturally-occurring clay. It comes in a wide variety of earthy tones, and its pigmentation is derived from completely natural oxides and ochre minerals.

Clay PlasteringNatural clay plaster is an excellent choice for your health-conscious and eco-friendly home makeover. It’s completely natural benefits include:

Improving your indoor air:

In our modern world, we can’t avoid filling our homes with dangerous electromagnetic-emitting appliances, electronics, and synthetic plastics. Fortunately, natural clay plasters release negative ions, which neutralize the air. Biochemical studies have also shown that these negative ions have the capability of raising serotonin levels, which can help you and your loved ones better manage stress, depression, and midday fatigue.

Preventing mold:

Natural clay plasters contain the naturally-occurring mineral, borax.  Borax is well known for its anti-molding properties, which is particularly useful in mold-inducing “wet areas” such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Providing Texture:

As it is thicker, natural clay plaster has a greater potential for texture than regular paint. Paint producers have taken advantage of this property, by developing a range of clay plaster textures, including marble, suede, sponged, mica, and speckled. Applying clay texture to your walls will add depth and interest to your living space.

Practicality:

No need to strip your walls. With a quick primer, natural clay plasters can be applied directly onto just about any pre-existing surface, including wallpaper, brick, concrete, adobe, and drywall. Just be careful with glossy surfaces, as they may need a light pre-sanding. Both rollers and paint sprayers for home use should be enough to get the job done easily and effectively. And remember, natural clay plaster should be avoided on oriented strand board (OSB), ceramic tiling, and tongue-and-groove paneling.

Waste Free:

Natural clay plasters are eco-friendly in that they are waste-free. When you’ve completed your paint project, simply restore your leftover plaster for future patch-ups, as dried plaster can easily be rehydrated. Excess plaster can also be let out into soil, with no negative environmental effects.

Many people don’t realize that they are more susceptible to airborne toxins inside of their own homes than outside among smog and fuel emissions. Just because we can easily forget about them doesn’t mean paint-toxins aren’t plaguing our day-to-day lives. So if you’re looking to improve the look of your home, why not improve the air as well? Besides, in addition to being beneficial for your health, clay plasters are naturally practical, efficient, and eco-friendly.

Guest post by Lynn Jackson

Sunsent Triangle Plaza brings open space to LA

Cities are known for being hyper industrial and smog-ridden, and Los Angeles is certainly no exception. But the city is making an effort to improve the quality of living for its citizens. The recent Sunset Triangle Plaza project is a perfect example of what major cities and even your own hometown can do to improve the local landscape.

The Project

The Sunset Triangle Plaza is a highly-publicized street-to-plaza conversion that opened in Silver Lake in March 2012. Not only is it a beautiful spot to sun one’s self in the afternoon or enjoy an iced latte under a shady umbrella, but it is L.A’s first street-to-plaza conversion. With nothing but an idea from the organization, Streets for People, access to construction equipment rental, and lots of hard work and planning, The Sunset Triangle Plaza was completed in a few months. Hundreds of Silver Lakers (residents of the L.A. hipster refuge Silver Lake) converged on March 9, 2012 to celebrate the official opening of the plaza and to congratulate the Streets for People organization for a job well done.

The Goal

The goal of the project was to bring open spaces to Los Angeles in a cost-effective manner. Los Angeles is a city filled with traffic, smog, and very little time to stop and smell the roses. By incorporating a small plaza with patches of grass, umbrellas, and a relaxing fountain, projects like The Sunset Triangle Plaza hope to bring a bit of beauty to a city that, at times, is anything but. Los Angeles, often considered to be somewhat of a concrete jungle, is lacking in parks in some areas.

The Costs

Sunset Triangle Plaza

Sunset Triangle Plaza. Photo by Alissa Walker

Since the plaza is considered to be a trial in the city, the costs were low. The total cost of the project was about $25,000 and included construction equipment rental, paint costs, and labor. The majority of the project was funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Help, fundraising, and donations given to the Streets for People non-profit organization. The plaza was designed by Rios Clementi Hale, an extremely popular architecture firm, known for the unique Los Angelino flair they give to their projects. The plaza is painted lime green with yellow-green polka dots and is a bright addition to the City of Silver Lake.

The Realization

Although such street-to-plaza conversions are seemingly new to the city of Los Angeles, they have been popping up in New York for years and throughout Europe for centuries. Quaint European towns are known for their pedestrian zones, with streets filled with shops and restaurants that are closed to car traffic. While these are outrageously popular throughout Europe and in certain sections of New York, some worry about their practicality in Los Angeles. Sometimes, sections of streets are blocked off to make room for these street-to-plaza conversions. To construct The Sunset Triangle Plaza, for instance, one block of Griffith Boulevard was completely removed from through-traffic.

Whether or not the project lasts more than a year, it’s the first of the kind in the area and a welcome place to kick back and take in the sunshine of a state known for it. If you are inspired by this project, why not initiate your own in your hometown? Contacting your local government is a great way to kick start an outdoor project and using The Sunset Triangle Plaza as an example definitely won’t hurt. Don’t hesitate to take actions that will improve your local environment. You, too, could have a gorgeous park where concrete once was. Encourage fresh air for you and your neighbors!

Guest post by Stephanie Fehrmann

Excellent Chance to Get Environmentally-Friendly Kitchen and Bath Products on Sale

The slab gallery will be full of green deals on May 11 and 12On May 11 and 12, Construction Resources will host a huge sales event at its showroom and indoor slab gallery at 224 Rio Circle, Decatur, Ga. 30030. While there will be a wide variety of their kitchen and bath products on sale, environmentally-conscious buyers will be most excited to hear that there will be special deals on Cambria quartz and Vetrazzo recycled glass countertops.

Cambria quartz countertops are the only domestically produced quartz surfaces and go through an extensive recovery and recycling of water used in the production process. This results in greatly reduced water loss. Combined with the lack of carbon footprint from having to ship the countertops internationally to reach the slab gallery, it is one of the most ecologically-friendly surfaces on the market. During the sale, all Cambria products will be 15 percent off and all quartz remnant inventory will be $10 per square foot.

Vetrazzo recycled glass countertops will also be featured in the sale. These 100 percent recycled glass counter surfaces join the wide array of other brands on sale, including Artisan Stone Collection, Kohler, Saratoga Soapstone, Heritage Wood, Caesarstone, Silestone, Corian, Zodiaq, Shaw, HiMacs, Viatera, Dal Tile, Artisan Sinks, Coastal, Closet Maid, Atlanta Marble Mfg. and Mohawk.

You won’t have to worry about missing a deal across the huge 13 acre facility, as there will be a shuttle to run guests from the indoor slab gallery, slab yard and other buildings. You can explore all over to find more than 3,000 granite and quartz slabs with hundreds of colors, styles and sizes to choose from. More than 30 experienced Construction Resources Project Managers will be on site to assist with your selection process.

Make sure to mark your calendars for this event on May 11 and 12! For more information about Construction Resources and the products on sale, visit their website www.constructionresourcesusa.com.