Posts Tagged ‘adhesives and sealants’

LePage’s Green Series of Adhesives and Sealants — Ultra Low VOC

April 21st, 2011

Please note that as of April 6, 2016, the website for Lepage Green Series has been taken down. I have contacted Lepage to ask about why and if these products still exist but have not received a response.

Indoor air quality has become an important issue in the last few years. One of the culprits identified as causing poor indoor air quality is the amount of off-gassing of chemicals used in the construction of new homes.  I spoke with Marcelo Orchon, the Senior Brand Manager for LePage’s and he told me that in a newly constructed 2100 square foot home which uses traditional adhesives and sealants, the air can be filled with 110 pounds or more of VOCs.  LePage has developed a series of sealants and adhesives which are ultra low VOC.  The “Green Series” line of sealants produces less than 2 pounds of VOCs within the same sized home.

That’s a pretty significant difference. I asked Marcelo what the performance of the products is like. He said that they performed as well, if not better, than their traditional counterparts. It really makes you wonder why you’d want to stick with the traditional products.

Availability: LePage’s green series of sealants and adhesives are available at some hardware and building stores across Canada. Their availability depends on demand. To find out if the products are carried in a store near you, see this page.

LePage’s Ultra Low VOC Products:

LePage Green Series PL400 SubFloor and Deck Adhesive: Use for installing subflooring, decks, as well as panelling and moulding.

LePage Green Series Draft and Sound Interior Sealant: Use sealant around wall perimeters to decrease noise transfer and drafts.

LePage Green Series PL200 Drywall Construction Adhesive: Use adhesive to bond drywall to wood, good for attaching paneling to drywall, drywall to wood or metal.

Recently, LePage conducted a survey of Canadians and discovered that while the desire to build and renovate using greener building materials is high across the country, the percentage of Canadians who actually do so is low. In fact there is a disconnect between wanting to build with greener materials and doing it.

Across Canada, LePage’s survey found that:

  • An overwhelming majority of Canadian homeowners view home air quality (98%) and using sustainable and green building products (75%) as important. Women (76%) and those aged 55+ (82%) find home air quality very important.
  • Regardless of importance, only half (49%) of Canadian homeowners are aware of products to improve home air.
  • One in five Canadian homeowners use sustainable and green renovation / building products. British Columbian homeowners (27%) are the most likely to use sustainable and green renovation / building products and those in Alberta (15%) the least likely.
  • Nearly all Canadian homeowners that look for sustainable / green products view performance (99%), price (97%), and product (92%) as important.
  • Despite the perceived importance of sustainable and green building products, nearly two thirds (65%) of Canadian homeowners who have used professional help have not asked them to use sustainable and green building products in home renovation projects. One third (33%) have never asked for professional help for their home – of which the majority (54%) are not sure if they would ask a professional to use these products.

Follow Sustainable Practices in Home:

  • 20% using sustainable and green renovation, building products (27% BC, 15% AB, 20% Ontario, 19% Quebec)
  • 96% recycle (99% BC, 86% AB, 99% Ontario, 97% Quebec) Condo owners less likely at 93%
  • 46% composting (50% BC, 33% AB, 54% Ontario, 31% Quebec) Condo owners less likely at 16%
  • 69% energy efficient appliances  (74% BC, 72% AB, 85% Ontario, 38% Quebec)
  • 36% organic, local food  (48% BC, 28% AB,  37% Ontario, 31% Quebec)

If you take a look at the “using sustainable and green renovation building products” statistic, note how low the usage amongst consumers is. This shouldn’t come as surprise to any of us who are actively involved in the building sector. Finding green building materials is difficult, even in a city the size of Toronto and with a local population that professes to have an awareness of environmental issues. When I go in search of green building materials, I usually have to drive a fair distance to find a store that carries what I’m looking for. How much CO2 am I putting in the air in order to “build green?” There has to be some sort of contradiction in there.

If you’re hiring a contractor to do the work, convincing him to use low-VOC products can be even trickier. As the survey notes over half of respondents said they would not ask a contractor to use green building materials. Getting contractors to try new products is not an easy task — believe me, I’ve tried. There are, however, legitimate reasons for their resistance (and you can read about how to talk to your contractor about using green building materials here).

Building a Wall Using Green Building Materials by a Beginner Builder — Me.

October 4th, 2010

Boys' room before wall

When we first moved into this house three years ago, it was with location in mind. We moved from a beautiful four bedroom home in a pretty neighbourhood just outside the city core, to a smaller, semi-detached home with three bedrooms in an excellent school district, walking distance to the subway. I knew that the boys sharing a room was going to be an issue one day, but it’s only been in the last year that they’ve been bugging me about to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Fortunately it’s a big room with two windows evenly spaced. Initially, we put up a curtain to divide the area, but we used a wire and hook system, which wasn’t all that sturdy so it came down on a regular basis. We looked at putting IKEA bookcases down the middle of the room, but for many reasons, it wasn’t going to work. So it seemed to me that there were two possible courses of action. Either, leave it alone and let the boys work it out, OR, use this as a perfect excuse to test out my new-found building skills and build a wall! Guess which one I chose?

I developed my materials list and sent it to Ian Burns at the BiY Learning Center to make sure I had everything down and the correct amounts of each (I did, hooray! Off to a great start!). I called in an electrician to have him move the one centered light in the middle of the room to two lights and two switches. It was then that he told me I had wet insulation above one of my son’s bed, which meant a leak in the roof above. Figures.

After having a temper tantrum and then dealing with the leak and the resultant damage caused by water pooling in insulation and the vapor barrier, we were back on track to building the wall (the leak is a whole ‘nother blog post).

Lumber: I located FSC-certified 2x4s at my local (Leaside) Home Depot. What I forgot to check was how straight the pieces were — which, it turns out, weren’t very. Last week when I was at the Green Building Festival, I remarked to Mark Kidd of Tembec on the fact that 4 of the 9 pieces of timber I’d bought (and cut before I could return them) were significantly warped. Tembec is the main supplier of FSC-certified lumber to Home Depot and he told me that that’s unusual because Home Depot orders tier 1 lumber, which is the highest grade lumber you can get. I put it down to beginner’s inexperience of forgetting to check the lumber before buying.

cutting away the baseboard

Initial Frame Construction

Framing is complete!

We measured and constructed the wall frame and I based the measurements on the drywall sheet size so there’d be as little waste as possible. We cut the baseboard out of the wall so we could mount the wall completely flush to vertical wall, nailed in the ceiling and floor beams, measured between each beam at 16″ intervals and cut studs to match. This is the part my husband, Kevin, and neighbour, Victor, helped me with. Victor kindly cut the pieces of wood with his skill saw (way faster than manually, although we did about half of them by hand), and Kevin hammered in the pieces — also faster than me.

First side of drywall

Oops! First insulation, THEN second side of drywall!

Drywall: I located CertainTeed drywall at Rona, Sheppard and Willowdale, which is synthetic, recycled drywall made in the west end of Toronto. We screwed the drywall to one side of the wood frame. The ceiling is lower than a regular ceiling, so we had to cut the second piece of drywall down to 3.5′, again measuring at different intervals because the ceiling height varies as you go towards the middle of the room.

Ultra Touch Cotton Insulation

Insulation. We used Ultra Touch insulation. Although there won’t be a door of any kind between the two sections, the insulation adds sound dampening and sturdiness to the wall. Ultra Touch Insulation is a great product; no gloves or masks required to use, it fit snuggly into the wall section and it’s made from scrap denim fabric.

Drywall assembly complete!

Next, we sealed up the wall with the second two sheets of drywall. It turns out you do have to measure again on the other side of the wall. Logic would dictate that the wall would be the same height on both sides of the frame but then, logic would be wrong! We goofed a little on the cutting the second upper piece of drywall so there is a bit of a bump up at the ceiling/wall joint that just screams “DIYer!” — oh well. You have to make a mistake here and there.

Mudding and taping -- Arghh!!

Mudding and taping -- arghh

Mudding and Taping and Sanding, Oh My. Oh my, oh my oh my. I still suck at this part of the job. While I’m improving, it certainly is a skill that takes practice. I can see my mistakes pretty easily, and as much as I tried to apply as little mud as possible, this was easier said than done. I’m sure if I did a few hundred more walls, I’d have the technique down pretty thoroughly. I don’t think I’ll ever get that far though.

Priming and Painting and Caulking. I used a low VOC caulk from Adbond, a Montreal company that makes a lot of eco-friendly sealants and finishes. I primed with Behr water-based primer and painted the ceiling after patching the holes made by the light being moved and the roof leak. I painted the peninsula wall (the divider wall), Cloud Blue from low VOC Pittsburgh Paints….then then I gave up. Yes, that’s right, I threw in the towel, I called “uncle!” I raised the white flag! I called my trusty painter Terry MacKenzie to finish the painting. By this time I’d been working on the darn thing (which was now known as “THE WALL” in any email correspondence I had with friends) for about 3 weeks in the spare time that I had and our house, my work, the family and my mood were all suffering for it. I’d already seen signs that I was cracking: I’d left little blue smudges of wall paint on the new white ceiling and I didn’t care. When you work that hard, you want the results to show it and a sloppy paint job is the first thing people will notice. Terry finished the job in 4 hours, it would have taken me 16.

The Wall -- Finished!

Voila! I feel pretty proud of myself now that I have this new set of skills to build a wall. Granted, it was a simple job, but still and all, it feels like an accomplishment. While I was building this wall, I had a thought: Building is a lot like cooking. You have a set list of ingredients, a certain amount of each is needed and they’re combined in a specific order. So I decided I’ll write a book all about construction skills to help women not be quite so intimidated by building projects and I’ll call it If You Can Cook, You Can Screw! What do you think?


Home Depot, 101 Wicksteed Ave., Toronto, ON. for FSC-certified lumber. Call your local Home Depot first to make sure they carry it.

Rona, 258 Sheppard Ave. East, Toronto, ON. for CertainTeed Drywall. CertainTeed Drywall: Synthetic drywall manufactured in the west end of Toronto. Even the face and back paper are 100% recycled.

Eco-Building Resource:  136 Wellington Street East, Aurora, ON. Ultratouch Cotton Insulation, AdBond caulk.

Terry MacKenzie (painter extraordinaire): 416-254-3090

BiY Learning Centre :  358 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON. For home improvement classes.

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New Products Available at Eco Building Resource

June 24th, 2010

Kevin Royce, owner of Eco Building Resource, has added some new products to his store. Eco Building Resource specializes in green building materials, in particular those that are good for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. He carries a variety of products including water-based stains, low VOC sealants and adhesives, radiant barrier vapour wraps, cork flooring and Logs End salvaged wood flooring.

Below are some of his newest additions:

DMX Flexsheet

DMX FlexSheet™ is the leader in Foundation Wraps. It is the air-gap membrane that exceeds today’s most demanding building codes. The average 6’ roll of DMX FlexSheet contains 300 recycled detergent bottles!! $161.79/roll. (dimensions: 6.5′ x 65.5′)

Accuvent Catherdral Ceiling Vent

Accuvent Cathedral Ceiling Vents. Designed specifically for cathedral ceilings:

  • 100% recycled PVC
  • Work with all insulation types
  • Provides efficient airflow

Quick & easy installation. $4.99 each.

Concrete Counters and Sinks

Concrete Counters and Sinks, Locally manufactured to your specifications. A beautiful sustainable finish to your kitchen or bathroom. Call for a quote.


StoneRox, The Natural Stone Alternative. Versatile and functional. Available in a wide array of colours and styles  Precision Ledge

100 sf minimum order.


EdenPURE GEN3 Model 1000 Infrared Even,Soft Flawless heat that does not consume oxygen. Coverage area up to 1000 sq.ft. Weighs just  26 lbs

Pays for itself in a couple of months. Cost: $499 plus tax.

Bakor Waterproof Foundation Coating

Bakor 700-01 Waterproof Foundation Coating, Odourless, Non-Toxic, Environmentally Friendly, Contains no asbestos or volatile compounds. Heavy Brush consistency. $59.99 plus tax (18.9 litre can).

FSC Lumber

LUMBER Products FSC Stick Lumber & NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde) Sheet Goods. Call or Email for details and quote.

ECO Building Resource Ltd.

136 Wellington Street East,
Aurora, Ontario, L4G 1J1

Tel: (905) 841-3535
Toll free (outside GTA): 1-877-741-3535
Fax: (905) 841-3536


Contact Us:

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Nu Green — No Urea Formaldehyde added particleboard by Uniboard

May 20th, 2010

Urea formaldehyde is a naturally occuring substance in our environment and cannot be avoided. It is, however, also added to many household products as a preservative, from clothing to furniture.  Some studies have linked  urea formaldehyde to certain forms of cancer in lab animals and humans, and as such, different countries allow for different exposure levels to the chemical. In the United States, the EPA notes that an acceptable  indoor air quality level is 0.1ppm (parts per million). Health Canada notes that a study was undertaken in PEI and Ottawa measuring levels of formaldehyde in the home and it was found that levels vary between 3 and 81 parts per billion, much lower than what the USEPA considers an acceptable level. It also notes that the link between specific forms of cancer and formaldehyde occurs only with exposure at very high levels for prolonged periods of time. People who work in certain industries (such as wood milling, textile preparation and undertaking) are more prone to the negative risks of formaldehyde than the regular population.

It can however, contribute to very poor indoor air quality, and certainly did so during the the 1970s and 80s when it was used as foam insulation (also know as UFFI — ureaformaldehyde foam insulation). People who are sensitive to urea formaldehyde can have symptoms such as irritated eyes and nose, sore throat, asthma, migraines and/or nausea.

Urea formaldehyde is used as a resin to bind wood fibres to produce particleboard and plywoods. Most homes today are filled with particleboard products from melamine covered shelving to bookshelves to closet inserts to kitchen cupboards. One thing to keep in mind — if the particleboard is completely sealed it will emit very low levels of formaldehyde, so if you do have some melamine cabinetry, bookshelves or furniture, check to see if all sides are sealed. While regular sealants such as oil paint and polyeurathane will effectively seal exposed areas, these products also contribute to poor indoor air quality. AFM Safecoat Safe Seal provides an effective alternate sealant with very limited VOC exposure.

If you’re planning on renovating your kitchen, or having some cabinets built, there are alternatives available to using standard particleboard. The problem has always been knowing what they are and where to find them.

NuGreen is a “no ureaformaldehye added” particleboard manufactured by UniBoard out of Quebec. Not only does this product not contain any added formaldehyde, but also, the wood fibres used are 100% recycled or recovered. NuGreen is also available in white melamine.

Cost: I spoke with Adam Dardis at Commonwealth Plywood and he quoted me the following prices for Nu Green particleboard (note these prices are valid as of May 2010. Prices will vary over time):

1/2″x4’x8′ $28.16 per board for up to 10 boards. There is a discount for ordering more boards.

Other particleboard sizes: 3/4″x4’x8′, $33.28/board; 1″x4’x8′ is $44/board.

Where to buy in the GTA (for distributors outside the GTA see Uniboard’s list of distributors):

25 Dansk Court
Rexdale, ON
M9W 5N6
tel.: (416) 675-3266 or toll free 1 (800) 268-6965
fax: (416) 675-3482

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AFM Safecoat Products — High Quality, Low to Zero VOC, Low Toxicity

April 8th, 2010

AFM Safecoat is a California-based company that specializes producing zero-VOC paints, sealants and adhesives that are considered some of the safest and least toxic on the market today. Off-gassing of harmful chemicals has come to the forefront of indoor air quality  in recent years, and it is one of the primary reasons people search for “low volatile organic compounds” emitting paints. Indoor air quality is known to be poorer than outdoor air quality, particularly as houses become more airtight. Coatings and adhesives used in everything from particleboard to fire retardant applications on rugs and sofas, contain highly toxic chemicals that can off-gas into our indoor air environment. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and asthma in children have become more and more of an issue over the last few years in part due to poor indoor air quality.  For these reasons, AFM Safecoat manufactures the least toxic paints, adhesives and sealants, and they’ve been doing it for more than 25 years. There are a few places in and around Toronto where you can get some of their products. A brief description of their more easily available products is below. For more information on their products, visit their website:

One interesting note from their website about volatile organic compounds:

Many so-called “Zero VOC” products on the market reduce emissions that cause outdoor air pollution, but still contain a host of unregulated toxic ingredients (such as formaldehyde, ammonia, acetone, exempt solvents and odor masking agents) that cause indoor air pollution.


Paints and Primers:

  • Safecoat Transitional Primer: An excellent primer for painting over panelling with knotholes (prevents knotholes from appearing under paint), also good when changing from oil to water-based paints.
  • Wallpaint: All wall paint is Zero VOC including Zero-VOC colour tints. Note that many paints are zero or low-VOC until the tint is added. Tints for many major paint companies still contain VOCs. Paints are fast curing, almost odourless during application, and odourless once dried. Available in flat, eggshell, semi-glossand exterior.

Carpet Care:

  • Carpet cleaners and sealers: One of the worst off-gassing of toxic chemicals occurs from new carpets. Safecoat makes a series of cleaners and sealers to trap the off-gassing from manufactured carpets. SafeChoice Carpet Shampoo is a powerful cleaner that is also biodegradable that effectively and safely cleans carpets without using toxic chemcals. SafeChoice Carpet Seal is designed to seal synthetic carpet backings which off-gass harmful chemicals. When applied properly it’s effective for up to one year or five washings. SafeChoice Lock Out helps to seal in and prevent off-gassing of toxic chemicals, and also to repel stains and dirt.

Caulking and Adhesives:

  • Caulking: SafeCoat produces a zero-VOC caulking product which replaces regular oil-based caulking products for use in sealing windows, cracks and general maintenance.
  • Adhesive: SafeCoat Almighty Adhesive is a non-toxic, safe general construction adhesive that effectively bonds up to 500PSI.


  • Safe Seal: is formulated for application to highly porous surfaces such as particle board, plywood, processed wood products and porous concrete to prevent off-gassing of toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of these products. It has a low gloss finish and is water-based.
  • Hard Seal: Semi-gloss sealant used to cover both porous and non-porous surfaces. More durable than Safe Seal and is used as a top-coat over products to prevent off-gassing of chemicals.
  • Mexeseal: is a water-based sealant formulated for application over medium porous surfaces such as flagstones and concrete. Resistant to oil and waterstains.
  • Grout Sealer: Grout sealer has almost no odour during application, and, as it dries it soaks into the grout, becoming part of the grout. Dries colourless and prevents moisture absorption by grout.


Eco Building Resource

136 Wellington Street East
Aurora, ON L4G 1J1
(905) 841-3535


121 Old Highway #26
Meaford, Ontario, Canada
N4L 1W7



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