If you are new to Green Building, there is a very simple but often overlooked segment of the design program called walk-off, walk off area or walk-off matting. No matter what you call it, a carefully designed foyer or vestibule will accomplish a lot in terms of Indoor Air Quality or IAQ for your building occupants.
Long considered just a means to prevent slip and fall liabilities or a way to reduce cleaning costs after storms or seasonally dusty or dirty conditions, the well-planned and carefully executed walk off area will accomplish that and much more.
Foyer mats or matting is not commonly considered a driver in the formula for clean indoor air by most building designers but consider the following:
1. What is coming in? Everything that enters the building on your shoes in a wet form, whether it be mud, snow, ice or rain carries with it a whole host of bad things like hydrocarbons from road tires, asphalt residue, organic residue from our fields and forests but also pesticides, herbicides and chemicals from ice melting as well as free silica and ash that is in the air naturally. The drying out process often allows thermal drafts to pick these nasty little particles up and put them into the air in our occupied spaces.
2. What to do about it? It’s not just practical to have negatively pressured and vented air locks for buildings to keep dust and particulate always on the way out, but also to have a good run of abrasive, semi-absorbent and absorbent materials to clean shoes and boots and prevent it from coming in.
3. What’s to gain? When you factor in the cost of putting out and taking up mats, cleaning, sweeping and maintaining floors, premature wear of carpets and resilient flooring, it really does make sense to have a carefully designed walk-off system in a building.
Might we recommend a look at the Coral, Coral Duo and Grip systems from Forbo Entrance Systems as an alternative to throwing time, money and energy away?
Restoring a Linoleum Floor is not that hard.
Lets get down to the details. Your old linoleum floor is in rough shape. It has a bunch of fine scratches, a few gouges and has lost it’s lustre and pizazz.
Its always best to start with a proper cleaning of a floor with plenty of elbow grease and a coarse cloth or even a very fine abrasive pad. Using the typical linoleum cleaners at full strength rather than the typical one ounce per gallon will do an amazing job of cleaning a floor of all its accumulated dirt and grime.
First thing everyone trying to restore a linoleum floor should verify is that the floor is actually linoleum and that it is not vinyl or laminate flooring. How would you know? It would be best to take some sandpaper, the finer the better and go to a spot that would be hidden by furniture or appliances and begin a fine sanding of the area. If the color layer on the flooring is not wearing through and has color at least halfway through it’s thickness it is likely to be linoleum. Ideally, if there is a spare or loose piece of the flooring somewhere it would be linoleum if it has a grid of jute as the backing. The flooring is very pliable and has a pleasant natural odor rather than a chemical or plastic petroleum smell. One of the last clues that might help tell what the material is, would be to see if it installed in a width of greater than 79″ because linoleum is so heavy that the rolls can only be two meters wide.
Once we are sure the flooring is linoleum, we can go about lightly sanding the floor by hand, ideally with a scrub pad or very fine sandpaper, the whole time paying careful attention not to spot-sand too aggressively in any one place. An area that may have been worn under a desk chair may take a bit of elbow grease to get the scratches leveled out, but true linoleum if carefully and uniformly abraded will prepare beautifully for refinishing. The process is actually a form of screening and polishing. Industrial floor machines can also be used on linoleum to remove existing finishes, remove scratches and nicely prepare a floor for refinishing but extreme care must be used not to burn through the color on the flooring.
Once the floor is leveled out with all the scratches gone and presenting all as the same uniform color, the gloss needs to be restored. One last item that may need attention would be to fix small gouges and if they are bad enough the only way to do that well would be to scrape some of the color layer from the flooring and to make a repair paste by mixing that dust with white carpenters glue. Once pasted in, leveled off and left to dry, the patch can be gently sanded prior to refinishing.
The finishing is usually best done with a sponge mop or a spreader bar and spreading and applying thin uniform coats is always the best bet.
Be sure to check our other post on applying TopShield and Top Shield 2.
The History of Marmoleum Countertops
Marmoleum Countertops: All through history people have had to pick things up and put them down… especially while they are preparing, cooking or serving food. If you think about the history of shelters, there was always some kind of stone jutting out from the wall that served as a shelf for the person working at the hearth. Naturally, man has always used whatever he had at hand, until he started to become good at the survival thing and then he (and his wife) wanted to make their tools not only functional, but long lasting and beautiful.
A slab of stone is about as practical as you can get, but people like variation and change and ultimately they want to introduce a little fashion into their choices. Those choices followed a very long, drawn out process of improvement, with stone and wood being about all that was available for the first few million years. The last 150 years have seen an astounding leap ahead in the number of countertop choices. Being able to transport goods around the world has made granites, marbles, woods, porcelains, plastics and composites abundant. The one really awesome counter that seemed to be forgotten in history and that was invented just before plastic laminate or Formica was the Marmoleum Countertop. Made of natural materials, the product is easy to care for as long as you don’t cut on it and after that it brings all kinds of benefits to the home, like its natural anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties.
Ultimately, we are finding Marmoleum counters being used in libraries and utility counter areas all around the world but for folks who grew up with it and learned to care for it, they are still being put in today. If you love something and it is dear to you, you take care of it. Unfortunately, in our throw away society we don’t see much of that, but there are still folks putting in Marmoleum Countertops in their kitchens and they love them. The material is waterproof and strong and more than anything, this handcrafted natural material is beautiful.