During his presentation at the Remodeling Leadership Conference, celebrity contractor Mike Holmes named these seven products as some of his favorites for building homes with an eye toward health and indoor air quality. Find more of his recommendations on the Products page of his website.
Recommending 2-pound (closed cell) spray polyurethane foam (SPF), Holmes referred to BASF products. The maker says its Spraytite and purple Walltite (shown) SPF products use zero-ozone-depleting blowing agents and emit no VOCs. On top of keeping homes comfortable, spray foam insulation fills the nooks and crannies of wall cavities where allergens, pollutants, and other pests might otherwise enter the home.
CertainTeed introduced this VOC-eating drywall in 2010, and Holmes menioned it multiple times during his presentation, noting its abilities to take compounds like formaldehyde out of household air and turn them into inert compounds that stay within the wallboard itself. He also encouraged remodelers to seek out mold-resistant drywall to help eliminate the threat that mold poses to indoor air quality.
With his base of operations in Canada, it's no surprise that Holmes specifies many Canadian-made products. Two of those include treated lumber brands Bluwood and Pinkwood. Bluwood is treated with a two-part coating that protects framing members from moisture with a water-repellant barrier and also treats them with a fungicide and insecticide. The combination helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew that can negatively affect indoor air quality.
While Bluwood is available in the U.S., Pinkwood's website says it's currently looking for U.S.-based distribution partners, though the material does meet 2012 International Residential Code for the States, and Holmes says the product can be purchased here. Pinkwood (now produced in a light tan due to a color-related lawsuit brought by Owens Corning), is treated with a fire-retardant coating that allows residents longer egress times in case of fire.
"What a tool!" Holmes said in reference to infrared cameras. He didn't
specify a preferred brand, but Flir recently introduced the TG165 model
at an ideal entry-level pricepoint for remodelers. Read more about it here.
Though he didn't name a specific model, Holmes told RMLC attendees that Panasonic "has the best fan on the market and every single one of you should talk to them." He added a suspicion that a higher price tag may be the reason more builders and remodelers don't use Panasonic fans, but find the features and benefits outweigh the extra expense. Panasonic introduced its WhisperGreen Select model in 2014 with modules for humidity sensing, motion sensing, variable-speed operation, and a nightlight. See a video of the WhisperGreen Select from our sister brand BUILDER.
Comprising threads of basalt rock and recycled slag, Roxul forms its stone wool insulation into dense batts that are easy to cut with a serrated knife, and provide a high R-value in the cavities they protect. More importantly, the lack of organic material in its makeup makes Roxul highly water resistant, and its "stone" components offer fire-retardant properties. Roxul opened its first U.S.-based manufacturing facility in summer of 2014.