Question

Can you help me find information about earth-friendly interior doors?

Asked by Jen Dyl, San Diego, CA

I am trying to find information about "green" interior doors. I would prefer not to use the typical wood products since my contractor told me one company we were considering was using the last of some Honduran alder. Makes me sick to think that the last of a forest could be hanging as a door in my home! Can you point me in the direction of earth-friendly manufacturers and products?

Answer

Tracy A. Stone

Answered by Tracy A. Stone

Los Angeles, CA

Tracy A. Stone Architect

September 5, 2007

The most sustainable solution is to look for used doors, which often offer a higher quality of wood and more interesting detail than new products currently on the market. If you can locate salvaged doors in your area, you will eliminate the energy use and pollution associated with transportation. In the San Diego area, start with Architectural Salvage of San Diego and Builder’s Trading Company.

If you cannot find a used door that is right for your project, consider the following factors when evaluating a new door:

  1. Where was the door manufactured? Most building professionals accept the U.S. Green Building Council’s definition of "local or regional materials" to mean those manufactured or harvested within a radius of approximately 500 miles from the point of final use.
  2. What kind of glues (if any) were used to bind the door's elements together? Glues used in fabrication should not contain urea-formaldehydes.
  3. Were the raw materials harvested sustainably? A truly "green" door would use renewable and sustainably harvested materials for all components. Look for wood products that carry Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

To be sure that your new doors meet sustainability standards, you may wish to have them fabricated by a local carpenter. A door is typically composed of a core, the face, and sometimes a veneer. There are several sources for FSC-certified lumber for the core. You could start at The Home Depot (read tags carefully to be sure you select FSC lumber) or Hayward Lumber. Then you need to decide on a face or panel material. You could use renewable materials like agriboard, bamboo, medium density fiberboard (MDF), or sustainably harvested veneers from companies like Columbia Forest Products.

If you choose to purchase manufactured doors, check with Home Depot for FSC-certified doors from the Main Door Corporation and Masonite. In addition, the Humabuilt company in Oregon makes an interior door with a wheatboard core and ultralow-VOC adhesives.

For more information:

Consult Build It Green's Resource Guide, which lists suppliers and manufacturers of eco-friendly interior and exterior doors.

Tagged In: certified wood, architectural salvage, replacement door

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