Greenovation: The Great Floor Debate

The popular eco-friendly products are not always the best solution. Lester and’s Matt Grocoff drop in on Matt’s neighbor to help him with his hardwood floor dilemma.


In home improvement projects, the popular eco-friendly products are not always the best solution. Lester Graham has the story of a home improvement intervention.

Kevin Leeser was not happy with the floors downstairs in his one-hundred year old house.

KL: “Well, we’ve lived here five years and just over the five years they’ve started to get grayer and you can tell that the finish was –in the high traffic areas—you could tell where we were walking it looks like we were hamsters walking through this place.”

LG: “This is maple, right”

KL: “Pfft. Yeah, that’s what they tell me.”

Kevin toyed with the idea of finishing the maple floors… but that sounded really involved.

And then the in-laws visited during the holidays.

KL: “My mother-in-law was like ‘Why don’t you get new floors.’ (laugh) And I was like well, yeah, it would be easier, ‘cause the things I was concerned about were sawdust, and ‘cause I have a newborn, just dirtying up the house and figured just getting some clean stuff, cutting it outside, sticking it down and be done with it.”

LG: So, wanting to be eco-friendly, he thought he’d put down bamboo flooring. Bamboo is renewable and it grows fast… and it’s pretty popular these days.

Then his neighbor stopped by. Matt Grocoff… the eco-friendly home improvement guy with Greenovation-dot-TV who had some –eh—thoughts about Kevin’s plan…

MG: “And, I, like, practically smacked him in the face and I said ‘What are you thinking? This is a gorgeous floor. Go rent yourself a sander or even hire someone for a few hundred bucks to strip the floor and then refinish it.’”

LG: So…You’re not a big fan of bamboo?

MG: “Bamboo is a great product if you have to do something new. You have to ask a question: do you need that new product or do you have something that works now and just needs to be renewed.”

Oh, yeah. Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. So, Kevin’s wife, Lauren and their baby were away for a few days. Kevin rented a sander… …and then started looking for an eco-friendly sealant for his maple floors. Matt had an idea for that.

MG: “Kevin’s using a natural oil from BioShield which is a mixture of tung and linseed oil that is so easy to use. It’s easier to use than even a low-VOC or zero-VOC polyurethene finish and easier to maintain in the long run.”

And in the end… renting the sander, buying sanding pads, buying the floor sealant, paint brushes and all that stuff… ended up costing Kevin about HALF of what it would have if he put down bamboo. Not a bad deal.

But… the big question… what did his wife, Lauren, think of the refinished old floors.

LM “It looks absolutely beautiful and we didn’t have to get new floors. Win, win. We love it. Beautiful.”

Matt Grocoff says he was sure Kevin and Lauren would be happy, because he did the same thing at his house.

MG: “The first thing that I did when we finished with our floor is I took a glass of red wine when we were celebrating and I poured half a glass of red wine on the floor and my wife was like ‘What are you doing!’ And I was like, look, we’re going to spill wine on it eventually, let’s see what happens now. The wine beaded up on the floor. We took a little sponge, wiped it clean and it’s gorgeous, five years later.

LG: “That’s Matt Grocoff with Greenovation-dot-TV. Thanks, Matt.”

MG: “Lester, this is always so much fun. I’m glad to be doing it.”

LG: “That’s The Environment Report. I’m Lester Graham.”

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