Green remodeling . . .granite countertops oh my . . . .

So as I have indicated in the About Me section of my blog, my husband and I are in the midst of renovating our 1960s ranch in a very "Green" way. One of the very first things we did when bought our home was have a radon test. Radon is a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. I was pregnant at the time we purchased our home and we were especially concerned because children and developing fetuses are vulnerable to radiation, which can cause other forms of cancer. The E.P.A. recommends taking action if radon gas levels in your home exceed 4 picocuries. Now I would have to go back and look at our actual test, but our radon levels were quite high . . . I want to say well over 100 picocuries. So as a result we had a radon mitigation system placed in our home. This system consists of two pvc pipes which are located in our concrete slab . . . there is pvc pipe which runs across our basement ceiling along the floor joists . . . to a fan which is located on the outside of the house. This system keeps our radon levels at our below the recommended maximum of 4 picocuries. It is also recommended that once a system is in place it be inspected every 2 years.

One of the spaces in our home that we would like to someday renovate is our kitchen. I have always loved granite countertops and have always thought that one day I would like to replace our countertops with granite. Now I am thinking twice because of an article I read recently in the New York Times recently entitled What's Lurking in Your Countertop?

The article gives an example of a homeowner who after a routine inspection learned that her newly purchased home had elevated levels of radon. The source, her granite countertops! Radiation experts agree that most granite countertops emit radiation and radon at extremely low levels. This particular granite had high levels of uranium, which is not only radioactive but releases radon gas as it decays.

Now that we've worked so hard to improve our indoor air quality and install a radon mitigation I will definitely be rethinking my countertop choices when the day finally comes to remodel the kitchen. PaperStone is a product that we will definitely be looking into at our house in lieu of the ever so popular granite. As with a lot of things we've done . . . . it's not always popular to be green . . . but we are certainly enjoying the benefits so far! Check out

Information on radon and certified technicians as well as DIY test kits are available at as well as at hardware stores and online if you want to see what the radon levels may be like in your home or place of employment before you call in the professionals.

1 comment:

Stika said...

I called Cleveland Granite about using Paperstone for our bathroom renovation. Ouch! They wanted $1700 for a 37" x 19" vanity counter installed. Real nice stuff though.

Even trying to use Icestone was expensive b/c we were told you have to purchase the entire slab, not just the size of the piece you are using. The local distributer here,, said it would be $100 sf per slab.