NTE Podcast: New Fall Product Releases

Here in Wisconsin, our summers are typically a bit shorter than most of the country. So we embrace the days or warmth and sun and take every advantage of what those days hold for us. Residential construction spikes during this time, but when fall arrives, we finally have a chance to take a deep breath and go through some of new, fresh product ideas that have been presented to us throughout the year.  

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New Fall Product Release


Andy: Fall is definitely in the air. And you know what that means, folks. It means that it’s time for new products! Usually spring and fall are the two times of the year where I get to review new products and decide what we’re going to bring in here to our showroom and other retail stores. So today we’re going to talk about a few of those things and some updates right here on Non Toxic Environments

Well, hello everybody. This is Andy pace with Non Toxic Environments coming to you live by myself today. Jay’s taken the week off but definitely will be back with us next week. 

So today, since it’s just me here, I decided to give you a little update about what’s going on with new products that we’re bringing in. Usually the spring and fall… September, October, March, April… two times of the year where I actually have enough time to sit down and start to review materials that we’d like to potentially bring in and eventually offer to our clients. 

It’s not an easy process because as you know, we’d like to do our FRAT testing and everything that we sell to make sure that there is at least no formaldehyde off gassing. And that takes some time and takes a commitment of blocking off a time during the week and so forth. And I ask a lot of questions with our vendors, end up having discussions with their lab techs and chemists and so forth, whatever it takes to make sure  we’re offering the right product. I want to talk about a few of the materials that we’re going to be bringing in that we’ve tested for quite some time now and are extremely, extremely happy with. 

So first off, let’s kind of get out of the way. Some of the new AFM products. Last year AFM introduced a new matte finish for their Polyureseal BP and their Acrylacq. They brought out a matte finish mainly because over the years… there’s been two finishes. They had the gloss and the satin started almost morphing into one. What I mean by that is as raw materials change, sometimes, so will. the level of gloss that you’ll achieve them with the finished product and their satin finish has just got a little too close to the gloss. There wasn’t enough of a difference. And so AFM brought out the matte finish to be more of a true flat as it relates to a clear a wood finish. And it’s been a just an enormous success. A matter of fact, they brought out that same sheen with their Ecolacq, which is the cabinet paint and it’s a sister product to the clear Acrylacq. So now Polyureseal BP for hardwood floors comes in a gloss and a matte. Acrylacq for doors and trim, over stain or over just raw wood- gloss and the matte. And then Ecolacq, the painted finish for cabinetry in furniture in gloss and a matte.

What this means, however, is that they are finally discontinuing the satin finish. And I know for some folks that might be a bit of a shock, but it really had to be done. The products were just getting too close to one another, like I said, and in order to relieve confusion and not have dealers across the country giving inaccurate information to clients, they decided the time was right to finally get that get that discontinued. So inventory that we have here in Wisconsin, inventory that they have in California, in inventory at dealers across the country, will be dwindling. As of October 15th, they will no longer be manufacturing any of the satin finish. Anything that’s left in stock in the country will be it. 

Now, don’t despair if you do have a larger a need for it. Let’s say you are a manufacturer of a furniture and you love that finish. That’s what you’ve built your specs around, then just reach out to our us or to AFM and they will be able to make the product. There will be a minimum order quantity, but if you’re using it at that amount anyway it shouldn’t be an issue. So again, just to clear up some confusion in the marketplace. That said, their stain, their water-based stain for years, it was called Durostain. But a year, year and a half ago, they came out with their Durotone stain, which is an upgrade in quality, in the color selection and so forth. And they will also finally be discontinuing the Durostain product around that same time, October 15th. And again, if you really need it and you’re a user of it for large scale projects or continuing projects, reach out to AFM and they will be able to assist you. But for the general public and to all the dealers, the product will no longer be available once it’s finally sold out. 

All right. Might as well stick right now with a AFM for a second to introduce a new thing that we are offering. We meaning- Green Design Center. What we’re offering is a new service to finally supply tinted paint samples. You heard that right! Tinted liquid paint samples. It’s been our mantra for the last, how many years that if you really want to test a color, you need to get a sample of it and try it on your wall because paint colors will adjust on the wall. It takes on sort of the persona of the room it’s going into. So the light source, the light direction, the other colors in the room, the porosity of the wall, the tool that you use to put it down, the amount of coats, the sheen, all of those things can overall effect the color that you achieve. And so if you really need perfection of that color, we definitely recommend you order a sample. Up until now,  a quart was the smallest that we could tint accurately, that we could sell for a sample. You’re looking at know, a $20 to $25 per quart or more, based on shipping all in. We have been offering 2oz samples, but that’s for white and just to test for personal tolerance or adhesion. Well, we enormous investment to bring in a new piece of equipment that allow us to tint half pint samples, so 8oz instead of 32oz. What that means is that we’ll be able to offer it to our customers for $9.99, that’s a delivered price for any of the AFM colors as a paint sample. 

Unlike many co companies that do already offer these types of samples, we’re not limiting this to one sheen. The fact of the matter is folks that when you put paint on a wall, the sheen makes a huge difference in how the color is perceived. And so with AFM has four different sheens, flat, pearl, eggshell, semi-gloss. We decided that if we’re going to do a sampling program for tinted paint, we have to be able to do it in all of the sheens because there will be a difference. Semi-gloss versus flat, the exact same color will tint differently. And we thought that we needed to do justice to the line and to provide the best possible scenario; to be able to tend to everything. This also means that we’ll be able to tint samples of Acrylacq and Ecolacq, our  concrete floor paint, exterior paint, really anything that we provide that can be tinted, we can now do a half pint sample of. 

So we’re really excited about that. You all are the first to know about this. The Non Toxic Environments family of listeners here. We haven’t announced this to anybody. We haven’t put it on the website. There is no information about this anywhere, but now that we’re talking about things that are new and exciting and I was just anxious to tell you all. So if you are interested, at this point you’ll have to reach out to Green Design Center directly. This is something that will only be offered through GDC. It’s not going to be offered through any of the other AFM dealers. It was quite the investment and we want to make sure that the program is administered properly, so it will all be done through our store. 

Another really exciting thing to talk about is a joint venture between GDC and AFM. We have developed a new pet shampoo, shampoo for dogs and cats. I don’t know, do even shampoo, you know, shampoo cats? Well… I don’t have any animals in the family. I don’t have any cats or dogs… I don’t even have fish. I tend to have my business here and, and that’s really my entire pastime… Anyway, but it was designed as a dog shampoo. It’s essentially a formulation change, of the AFM Head & Body Shampoo that they’ve had for years. And we’ve had AFM formulate the product a little bit differently to be more suited for animals. 

And what I mean by that it’s just a different type of skin oil. We’re dealing with different types of issues in cleaning and rinsing, and we think it’s going to be a hit. It’s a new product called Mud Puppy and that’ll be available in quart sizes and; the pricing hasn’t been established exactly yet. It’ll be very competitive with all the other natural more organic products that are on the market. What makes this one unique though is that it is essentially it’s a Safecoat, Safechoice product in that it’s gonna be safe enough not only for the animals, but also for their, their owners. All of our clients, most of them anyway, are people with chemical sensitivities and so, it’s easy to make a pet shampoo that is considered dog friendly and are healthier for dogs. But a lot of those products still have health warnings on the labels because of what it can do to humans. And we just thought that wasn’t fair and we wanted to make something that will be safe for both. It’s come in unscented of course; that’ll be our number one seller. Feedback through some market testing suggests some people do want some organic, essential oil fragrances. So we’ll be offering a couple of those as well. Obviously if you are chemically sensitive we’d recommend the unscented, but always test for tolerance. That product that will be coming out this fall. Again, that’s called Mud Puppy and we’ll be blasting that on our website as soon as it’s available. 

Okay. So that takes care of all of the AFM related materials. 

What else is on the agenda? Well, a couple of new products that we are bringing in, which we are extremely, extremely happy about. One is a new sealer for interior and exterior concrete. It’s called Radon Seal. What makes this product unique is that a Radon Seal is a clear, colorless, odorless, sealer that does not leave a residue. You essentially spray it onto raw concrete, let it penetrate, spray on a second coat, let it penetrate, it’s done. What this will do is- it’ll actually block radon gas from coming up through it. It’ll block water vapor. It will give the concrete more of a higher strength, more dust proofing to the concrete. It is just a wonderful material. We’ve been testing it for several months now and really just hitting all the high notes for us. So that particular product Radon Seal and then Radon Seal Plus is available right now on the GDC website. 

We stock it in five gallon containers only because typically with this type of product you’re doing larger applications. There are versions that you can use interior or exterior. I won’t get into great detail about it. You can see it on the website, but just know it’s available. This is a situation that we have been seen for several years now with moisture in the basement that the more we researched this, the more we work with clients all over the country we realized that it’s a bigger problem than even I thought it would be. It’s really crucial for good indoor air quality in the entire home to make sure that the basement is good and dry. If your home has already been built, there’s not really much you can do at this point to waterproof it. If it wasn’t done properly, or with the best grade materials during construction… you know, unless you want to excavate your foundation, there’s really not much more you can do. And so Radon Seal is going to give you that extra benefit of keeping that moisture vapor from coming into the basement and then affecting the indoor air quality throughout the rest of the home. So that is on the website. 

All right, finally I want to talk about a new flooring material. We don’t bring in new floor materials that often because well, quite honestly it’s been hard to find ones that fit our requirements. The last big product we brought in was the Cali Bamboo Vinyl PRO. I think for those who have used it, you would agree it’s just a wonderful product. 

We’ve used that in several health houses across the country now and with just wonderful success. There are some drawbacks of course, as there are drawbacks with everything. It is a vinyl product, at least the the top of it is, the core is a limestone material. If you’re looking for that perfect product, to hit all the notes of being eco-friendly and human friendly, even though it doesn’t release any phthalates, even though it doesn’t release any formaldehyde, people will still say yes, but it’s vinyl and that’s obviously… It’s a personal issue, personal choice. 

So if you’re really concerned about that, you’re gonna love this. It’s a new product made by Amorim. And if you don’t know who Amorim is, Amorim is like the DeBeers of cork and they own about 70% of the world’s supply of cork Oak trees and they have several brands of cork floors like a Wicanders is one of them. Ipocork is another one of them. And so on and so on.

They sell all cork for all different types of things… for countertop materials, for gasketing, for insulation, of just a whole host of uses for a wonderfully sustainable cork Oak bark. The new product is called Amorim Wise. Amorim Wise is really a remarkable innovation in taking old and new technology and putting it together old technology in the fact that they used granulated cork new technology and that they’re using now a new non PVC type plastic, or plastic type material that gets laminated to the granulated cork core and then print it on to look like wood. It is beautiful, for those who like the Cali Vinyl Pro but are looking for something that doesn’t have any vinyl in it, here it is. This is your choice. 

What I really love about this product is that because it is for the most part, almost all cork, it gives you wonderful sound-deadening. It gives you warmth. You know, it’s a very warm floor to  walk on; cork stays more ambient temperature. It’ll always be warmer under foot. It’s considered… they call it a waterproof flooring. Now that doesn’t mean you can use it in the bottom of your pool and put 30,000 gallons of water over it. What they mean is you can use it in a bathroom or a kitchen and water on the top side of it is not going to affect it whatsoever. Comes in several different woodgrains, that you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and real wood folks. It’s really a beautiful product. The real kicker is it’s going to be in a price point that I think will be making a lot of people happy. It’s going to be under $5 a square foot for the material. I think that sweet spot if you’re looking for a new wood floor, or a new tile floor or something like that, or even a new vinyl floor, this is going to possibly give you some new options and give you all the benefits that cork used to give you or still could give you. But this gives you the look of wood and certainly the durability of something like that Vinyl PRO product. So that is called Amorim Wise and that will be on the website coming here shortly. 

All right. The last thing I want to talk about is actually my company Green Design Center. For those of you who know my story… I started the company back in 1992. It was a situation where we were working on a commercial project in Milwaukee. And at the time I was working for my family’s building supply company and we supplied a water-based floor coating for a below grade parking structure. And after the primer coat was applied, several of my own workers had to be taken to the hospital because of inhalation complications. They literally couldn’t catch their breath because the product as it was starting to cure on the floor was literally just gobbling up all the oxygen in the room. It was a scary situation. It was really early on in my career. 

I had started in the family business in the late 80s. And so we’re talking about a few years after I started this happened. And so it really affected me deeply. I realized back then that we needed to do something to change our industry because people are getting sick and if our workers were getting sick and these are folks that work with industrial coatings all the time, if they were getting sick, imagine what would happen with our clients! This is what I was thinking at the time. And so, at the time I started a company called Safe Building Solutions. I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about that on this show, but, well, there it is. So I started a company called Safe Building Solutions in 1992. Safe Building Solutions was a catalog company. A company that sold out of paper catalogs that we mailed to customers all across the country. 

Back then, folks, the internet did not exist, which means podcasting was not a possibility. Times have changed. 

Safe Building Solutions, about the year 2000, we changed the name over to the Green Design Center. Why do we do that? Well, we are trying to reflect more of what was happening in our industry. What I mean by that is that throughout the 90s and 2000s, I was heavily involved in commercial construction and architecture. I was actually president of one of the largest architectural associations in Wisconsin a couple of times. Green building became a popular discussion. We changed our name of our retail store to Green Design Center to sort of capture that market. Well, it never really resonated in my opinion. 

What I mean by that is we never really focused on green building materials, folks. We focused on common sense, healthy building materials, Safe Building Solutions was probably a better name for us. But you know, we were jumping in with the times and we decided to throw green in our title somewhere just to get that audience interested. Well, times are changing again. You all are the only ones know about this so early on all of our loyal listeners. Back in, let’s see, 2012, 2013, I acquired a company out of Carbondale, Colorado called Building for Health. If you’ve been around in this for this industry and have been interested in these things for a while, you probably know Building for Health. Building for Health was a store out in Colorado that was started by Cedar Rose back in the mid 80s. 

When Cedar really… she was the innovator. She was the first one to start selling these types of building materials nationwide. It was awesome because I was one of her suppliers actually, as the distributor of Safecoat, I would ship her her stock to the store. Several years ago she decided that she wanted to move on and do something different and a new phase in life and a was going to retire. I approached Cedar and asked if I could take over the name because first of all, they have such a great name- “Building for Health.” It’s just a great name. It completely captures what we do here. Also she built up such a wonderful reputation and the industry and everybody who’s involved owes a great debt of gratitude to Cedar for all the time and effort she put into furthering this. 

So as a thank you to her, I wanted to keep the name going. If you’ve noticed on our Facebook pages and some things we have been sort of morphing over to GDC/Building for Health. We are going to continue that movement. We’re going to start using GDC/Building for Health on all of our literature, websites, marketing pieces, and eventually we’ll probably just settle on the name Building for Health because folks that really captures exactly what we want to do. It’s all about the health of the human occupants. There are other companies that really want to focus on green and that’s great and the world needs that. But my passion lies in with the health of the human occupant and I feel that it’s necessary that the outward appearance of the current company be that Building for Health.

A brief announcement on and again, to all of our loyal listeners who will hear this, just look for that. As time progresses, you’ll see more of that. So that’s about it. Folks, it’s just a day where I talked about some new things. Rambled on a little bit, probably too long. I apologize. Lots going on here and hopefully these are all some interesting, exciting developments here at GDC/Building for Health. And with that I would just like to thank you all for listening. 

I really want to thank everybody who reached out from our last episode. Our last episode we had Brandon LaGreca on to talk about electromagnetic fields and other issues related to that. And we had a little contest with anybody who receives our weekly emails. That people who wrote a review about the show and put it up on iTunes would get a free copy of a book that Brandon wrote. 

And we had a great response. It was excellent, folks, we will be definitely sending out those books shortly. We have several to send out. So thank you so much. 

That has really pushed our podcast up the charts. We’re now, as of this week, like the 20th ranked podcast in the home and garden division of iTunes. So thank you so much for your loyal listenership, for reaching out, for your reviews and your ratings. Keep it up, folks. We couldn’t do it without you and we really appreciate you. 

I had a client this week who did a consult with me and they said, wow, I can’t believe we’re actually talking to you! And you know, I said the exact same thing back. I just have to pinch myself anytime somebody says I was listening to your podcast. It’s just truly remarkable that people actually listened to this show. And I’m so glad that you all get something good out of it, good benefits out of it. So we will continue to do it for as long as I can. So thanks again folks. I hope you enjoyed the show. We’ll be back again next week. Jay and I with another fantastic topic. Take care.

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