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Posts Tagged ‘Chemical Sensitivities and Building Materials’

EcoTimber Available at The Arch since 2007

The Arch became Asheville’s first EcoTimber dealer in 2007 and our experience with this fine company has been one of teamwork and education.  eco_timber_logo_09 Over the years, EcoTimber’s commitment and professional support has provided The Arch with a healthy perspective of sustainable flooring practices.

Consequently, The Arch has developed a long list of satisfied customers in the South East and beyond now living with beautiful and healthy flooring installations. This amazing company has remained committed to their mission statement protecting and helping change the way forest ecosystems are managed while at the same time providing high quality, beautiful, healthy products. Since 1992 EcoTimber helped to pave the way and their dedication to protecting forests started long before most companies got “on-board” or created a ” green division” within their company.

Post ag orchard walnut trees that have “out-aged” their ability to produce fruit turned into pristine flooring.
Unfurled bamboo flooring
Unfurled bamboo flooring

What is the point of having  some  environmental products and not all? ALL the companies The Arch works with are dedicated to sustainable forestry and forest conservation.  You won’t walk into The Arch and see  ANY flooring with added urea-formaldehyde, or flooring from mills with questionable labor practices, or products from damning forestry practices. The Arch seeks out and works only with companies that do not compromise their beliefs.  Eco Timber  continues to seek to remain on the cutting edge of environmental awareness and action.

In addition to EcoTimber, The Arch works with other excellent companies leading the way with healthy environmental practices: Eco Fusion, known for cutting edge bamboo technology and sustainable practices, US Floors LLC with a broad range of flooring options and environmental practices, Whole Log Lumber which one cannot argue the sustainability of their reclaimed material and this company’s fine time-honored reputation, and more recently, a regional  Central Applachian based company-WoodRight, offering beautiful domestic solid hardwoods. These companies can all be highlighted as among the best in the  the country. See our flooring link for more on these flooring sources.

The Arch is  located in The Riverside Business Park, Unit 10, which is just to the right of the park office on the river side of the building.   Give us a call at 828 253 5455 or come by today.  Please remember, The Arch can have orders shipped directly to your residence or commercial site and often without additional shipping expense.

Visit our website contact page for hours: www.thearchnc.com

American Clay Classes at The Arch Offers More Than Technique

The other day a woman that had taken one of our full day American Clay workshops came by to pick up her 16th bag of clay for her home studio project. Strong, petite, and energetic,  her comment to us was: ” I think I’m pretty good at it!”.  “I’ll never go back to paint!”. ” I love it!”

Not everyone chooses to cover as much area as this woman,  but many love it so much that they want it everywhere.  Why not? It’s beautiful, it’s quiet, it’s moisture controlling- naturally taking in humidity breathing and breathing it out so you won’t have  mold issues, and it offers a depth unlike  that of paint. American-Clay-Room-Scene-detailbdsc_0849-copy7The finish options and pigment selections are many. We have customers wanting the most rustic of applications, to installations in contemporary homes. Older bungalows suffering from holds, cracks and years of wear can be repaired with a beautiful fresh finish of clay and has provided a remedy to otherwise costly plastering techniques.  Clay can go over a number of substrates but you should ask questions first so that you have the best installation possible. This is where a class might be helpful, if not for yourself, perhaps you might be able to encourage a contractor you have hired to take our class.

Chemically sensitive people have come in looking for American Clay because of it’s natural healthy qualities.

“It’s clean and I’ve had no issues with air quality”, an Asheville resident shared.  She added,  “I don’t have to worry about mold either, which is so important and a big relief to me”.

I’ve shared these images before, but here are a few images showing how American Clay is humidity buffering. Click on any image to read.

Hummidity Buffering AC humidity 3 AChumidity1 AChumidity2

If a large project isn’t  something you want to start with,  perhaps it’s time to include American Clay in a bedroom or add some comfort to a dining area,  or possibly consider an accent wall.

American-Clay-Room-Scene-Watermark-31-MD

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A class is a great way to learn all about the full range of products.   Shown here are some photos that show class members experiencing different clay types and techniques. Working on corners, creating textures, burnishing the smoothest clay (Porcelina), are just a few examples of what we cover in a full day class. Participants have the opportunity to apply all stages of the process.

DSC_0113 (1128 x 748)

Half day classes are helpful as well, especially if you have a smaller project in mind, but if you want to try your hand at larger expanses and learn some additional techniques with more in-depth discussions a full day class is recommended.

Visit our American Clay gallery on our website to see installations we have completed  as well as some additional images from American Clay’s gallery and some customer work.

American Clay lists all classes on their website. If you don’t see a convenient date for a class at The Arch, just give us a call. We usually have additional dates in mind or we haven’t posted them yet.  WORKSHOP SCHEDULE 

In addition, click here to learn more about finishing services we provide.dsc_0821-copy8

Mica Village open-air lobby with American Clay Loma clay

Mica Village open-air lobby with American Clay Loma clay. No problem with outside temperatures

Taking a class points participants to their favorite finish and ultimately will help them create the look they want. If you don’t want to do the project yourself and prefer The Arch do the installation, just let us know and we’ll provide an estimate and answer any questions you have.

Call us today! 828 253 5455 or visit our contact page and visit our showroom.

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EcoTimber’s New Engineered Woven Bamboo Escape and Silver Lining Compliments Decor

Beautiful and contemporary Bamboo Engineered  Silver Lining and Escape  are  perfect for those looking for that slightly subdued bamboo texture with either a cast of  Silver Brown/Gray or  a distant wheat field under their feet. They are not strong  colors nor are the patterns overwhelming, but instead will blend with many color schemes.  The strands of bamboo are seriously compressed  into long blocks using a “cold press” method for optimum stability . “The unique engineered construction provides the most stable platform in the industry while maintaining the status of a completely renewable resource since each layer is composed of 100% Moso bamboo”. All Eco Timber flooring is free from added urea-formaldehyde and other harmful VOC’s and contribute to LEED points.

For more information on specifications of these products:

Silver Lining

Escape

EcoTimber Woven Engineered Bamboo- Silver Lining

Designers have taken an interest in the soft tones of these two new products. There are a number of dyed bamboo floors on the market that are so busy that  they are not of interest for the larger living areas.  Silver Lining and Escape are two selections that work beautifully with so many settings. Drop by The ARCH to see the larger 17″x17″ samples.

Remember- The ARCH can have an order drop shipped anywhere. Give us a call 828 253 5455

American Clay’s Humidity Buffering Qualities Contributes to Healthy Air Quality From Bathrooms to Wine Cellars

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

The growing interest and importance of air quality continues to reinforce  our great feeling about American Clay Earth Plaster. We are confident that it is good for us and the air we breathe!  There are some interesting advantages that American Clay offers to those wanting  more consistent humidity levels and the reduction of potential mold and mildew, as well as a quieter space.

Arlington VA Clay application by Roxanne. A welcoming American Clay finish provides benefits for humidity control or "buffering".

From personal experience we have lived with clay plaster in our own home and have experience with a broad variety of applications and placement of clay.  We have American Clay plaster in a kitchen/dining area, sun room, bedroom and in two bathrooms.  We’ve enjoyed the benefits the clay provides in every space and have witnessed, felt, and breathed in it’s  ability to absorb  and release water vapor when high levels of humidity are present without a spec of mildew appearing anywhere -EVER! What might seem to be a vulnerable location is where we applied clay along the top 18″ above the tiled walls in two shower areas but absolutely no problems have resulted- instead it benefits these areas.  In contrast,  if a  painted wall experiences high levels of humidity such as in a bathroom the surface will eventually develop condensation from water vapor creating an environment favorable for mold and mildew growth.  Another more extreme experience that we had was with several large3’x6′ foot display panels we made and applied with clay plaster for an expo.  After a three day event we drove home and with the onset of a rain storm we rushed the panels into our (less than perfect) garage several years ago.  We had an unfortunate heavy rain that evening that ultimately flowed into the area where these panels were situated.The panels were trimmed  with wood for presentation purposes. After about a week we noticed a mold made its way up the wood strips  but did not touch the clay. Not a spec!  The mildew completely avoided the clay.  If ever conditions were ripe for mildew this was it.  We cleaned up the wood and put them in dry storage and years later they still have no mold on them. (I wish I had taken a photo).    The following diagrams portray how American Clay provides humidity buffering in your home or business.  (Click on diagrams to enlarge text).

Powder Room at CIEL with American Clay, Porcelina, Chesapeake Bay, Designer Talli Roberts

As noted in this last image, the more clay there is in a given space the greater the humidity buffering. We called a few customers that have applied the clay in wine cellars  as this is an excellent application choice to assist in maintaining a consistent humidity so critical in a wine cellar.

Beautiful wine cellar with American Clay walls

In reading about climate control in wine cellars, efforts must be made to maintain a certain temperature as well as humidity level.

Hey, where's the wine? Jim- applied clay in wine cellar in CIEL residence

If the humidity rises above 70% I have read that this is when the potential for mildew on the corks can develop which may create a problem for the wine.

Prevent mold on corks with proper humidity control

There are several benefits when using the American Clay plaster- it assists in maintaining consistent humidity levels, assists in preventing mold and mildew, helps purify the air which is also important, and it is beautiful!  We asked several customers how their wine cellars are doing after the applying the clay years earlier.

One of our customers shared that he has had no problems and added that he also selected the clay for the old world look. Shown here are two other wine cellars.  Most of the wine cellars include applications on the ceiling contributing to humidity buffering benefits.

Mica Village open-air lobby with American Clay. A welcoming finish for a welcoming lobby

Lastly, I  have shared this open-air  lobby area before, but is a true testament that the humidity does not bother it. The benefits of American Clay go well beyond those mentioned here; in fact they are nothing short of amazing!

Give us a call anytime to discuss your project.

Interesting article: The 10 Most Common Wine Cellar Problems and How to Overcome Them

Click here for a  humidity demonstration done by American Clay.

Prevent Your Deck From Screaming: Help! I’m Thirsty!

Everything Looks so much better with a maintained, nicely finished deck

It’s funny how  every time you have a new product or personal interest, you start noticing that very product seemingly everywhere. You know the feeling; if you’re shopping for cars, you’ll start seeing the same model everywhere and certainly the blue ones. Whether you’re shopping for a new roof, in the market for a bike, or you’re looking at what color to re-finish something, you selectively notice just these objects, colors, and styles everywhere you look.

Deck Cleaning Services available at The ARCH

Well, it has been this way with decks and other outdoor wood surfaces for The ARCH.  It’s seems that we want to breathe new life into old, cracking, (deteriorating in many cases)  wood surfaces. They seem to be everywhere!

What a difference just cleaning it makes. Next comes the finish

So much wood out there is  thirsty for both attention and a new finish! Give the wood a drink I say!

Before cleaning! Dirty and slippery with mildew

One of my daughters  was visiting Asheville this weekend looking at houses to rent and several places we looked at seem to keep up the interiors, but many of the exteriors and decks needed a great deal of attention.

Investing in maintenance and finishes is important. The deck and all that surrounds the house definitely influences the person looking for a new place.

Finish helps protect feet as well as the wood

In need of Vermont Natural Poly Whey exterior finish

If the wood is maintained the renter or seller may actually make the sale, children may not need shoes every time they walk across a sorry-looking deck, years could be added to the life of a house  exterior, and, if someone would only notice,the garden bench might actually make it another decade.

Autumn Red Exterior Finish

Vermont Natural Coatings not only provides protection, durability, and beauty, but it’s healthy, non-toxic and so easy to apply.

Healthy finish required for Health Food bins

I read that a health food store coated vegetable boxes with a Vermont Natural Coatings finish and they’re loving the product because it is non-toxic as well as durable. Shown here are a few projects showing some happy decks and happier homeowners.

Hopefully, I’ll start noticing the details of islands and the varying shades of blue in the ocean!

For more information about Vermont Natural Coatings exterior, flooring and furniture finishes click here.

New Exterior color

New color just in! Exterior Finish Barn Red

All Vermont Natural Coatings products are available at The ARCH.  We also offer deck cleaning service.Free estimates in the Asheville area.

American Clay Workshops – Take it From The Pro- It’s Always Worth it!

American Clay Earth Plaster is a very user-friendly product. You don’t have a time crunch as with lime plasters to consider, it’s healthy to be around, and it’s a pleasant natural product to work with. May we suggest however, that if you involve yourself in an informative (and fun) workshop the learning curve becomes even  smoooooother!

Your may find that your clay stays on the hawk better, you’re likely to have a better feel for the ideal thickness of each layer, you’ll know how to approach  working corners and edges, and you’ll learn from others in the group.  Did I mention- the coffee is great too?!

Everyone is welcome- from novice to professionals and it is affordable! Like with any new product the sharing process between everyone, (and this most certainly includes professionals  in some type of finish application trade), – we learn from each other and lots of questions get answered.Room to play

Jim Erskine,  instructor of  the classes held at The ARCH in Asheville, is an “American Clay trained applicator” as well as a mason by trade.  He has applied well over 50,000sf of clay and in many different settings. With more than a bit of experience  he has had his share of trouble shooting  which makes for a great instructor as he’s likely to have more answers for all kinds of applications.  (Always helpful).

Everyone  works with the application of a first coat, then a second coat, compression of the clay, then we touch on working corners, edges, and repairs.

Jim’s experience doesn’t come from just a single large job- he has worked with and learned from a wide variety of applications such as: all kinds of homes, commercial spaces, historical homes, bathroom ceilings, conference room walls, educational facilities, high walls, tight spaces, stairwells, wine cellars, kitchens, new construction, old construction, chimney chases, applications over brick, over block, over repaired plaster, over dry wall, over Hempcrete, along stone edges, on curvy walls, from rustic settings to contemporary, for happy-go-lucky customers to the more “selective” customer- and the list goes on. He’s worked solo, with other applicators, teamed up with customers or other professionals.

Mastering the first coat

Confidence building!

For several years The ARCH has held morning workshops once a month. The half-day workshop is great to learn all the basics, better understand the products, get your hands into it, gain a little extra confidence, and it’s an opportunity to ask a LOT of questions. Most of all participants develop a passion and understanding for clay as a fabulous wall finish. It lasts, it’s breathing, it’s healthy, it feels good, it contributes to LEED points, and it has DEPTH! (My favorite descriptive word is DEPTH!) unlike flat finishes such as paint, clay has a depth. Paint has no “doorway of interest” like clay. In the workshop Jim discusses the different clay types, the new products including Up& EZ which, when added to the clay, can be rolled on and troweled out, he shares examples of samples and walls within the showroom, demonstrates the walls within the showroom, demonstrates the mixing process of the clay and pigment, demonstrates trowel use, how to get a nice consistency with the clay, and much more.

Jim discussing technique with applicators

Finally there’s time to play with different finishes and techniques.  It’s an easy going product! Easy to apply, pleasant to be around, great to live with.

Cleaning off the hawk. Natural and safe

A customer was  in the other day that had taken a class a couple of years ago and  is about to begin a second home project with an artistic lime putty wash finish. He shared that he  occasionally goes around misting his walls  with a fine mist of water just to smell the wonderful earthy aroma that when hydrated slightly will evaporate right back into the air.  Oops, he “overshot spraying his plants” – just a pleasant reminder to do it again! Ah, a guy that uses all of his senses.

CLASS INFO:
Monthly 2.5 hour class:                                                                                                             To sign up for our monthly class at The ARCH call us directly at 828 253 5455 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            828 253 5455      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or  email us at: cmsilver@thearchnc.com. Class details listed on American Clay’s workshop schedule   Cost: 50.00 per person.  Western North Carolina Green Building Council members take 10% off.
Full day class:                                                                                                                              With enough participants we can arrange a full-day class.  Look for future postings of this class. If we don’t have one scheduled and you’d like a full day class- call us and it’s our motivator to arrange this class. Cost will be 125.00.
Artistic application workshop coming this Fall. Available to those that have previously worked with American Clay.
Professional 2 day class. Cost 500.00. To be arranged based on interest level. This class is for those interested in becoming a trained applicator, or adding it to your professional offerings.  Call us!

Taking a Closer Look At Selecting Healthy Flooring and Finishes

How intentional are your choices these days? What kind of building and finish materials do you live with? I watched a little girl  say “yes” to the CVS clerk when asked if she wanted a bag for her purchase the other day. The little girl had purchased a single pack of  (already) packaged gum. Out she ran with the bag around that oh so heavy and certainly awkward pack of gum. The store clerk didn’t get it and the little girl was taught absolutely nothing about conservation. From small purchases to larger ones the “compromise meter” should be leaning more towards “smart” than “stupid”  by now. Take the flooring industry for example.  By now most everyone knows that  toxic chemicals are present in many flooring products and finishes  on the market,  or perhaps we don’t want to wrap our minds around the fact that that “steal of a deal”  floor we’re interested in may have been manufactured where unjust labor practices take place, or perhaps lurking behind that “green” label is a company that is  wasteful and compromising on every other level. The ARCH chooses to work with companies with the highest environmental standards.   For more information about the companies and products we work with we invite you to check them out or give us a call and we will share what we know about sustainable practices. Whether you’re looking for a floor that is FSC- certified, LEED compliant, reclaimed or recycled,  whether the company maintains high standards for fair labor practices, high quality control, The ARCH has made an intentional choice to work with reputable flooring and finish companies.

Eco Timber Recycled Woven Poplar Flooring

Here are a few of the companies and their environmental standards that The ARCH is proud to be working with:

Eco Timber

Merida Meridan Natural Fiber Rugs

Vermont Natural Coatings

American Clay

January is a good month to think about detoxing your home. As noted in a LOHAS blog (Lifestyles of health and sustainability) the average home contains 500-1,000 chemicals resulting in indoor air quality that is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air

How about inviting more positive intentional changes into our environment?