I really enjoyed your comments Nicole.
It got me thinking about the most recent upgrade we did on our house, the countertops. We ended up with granite. Fortunately living in NH (the granite state) it was quarried somewhat locally, but I really didn’t even think to research the environmental impact of that choice. I’m thinking it’s probanly better than the fiberboard/laminate option, but I’m wondering how it compares to say concrete or butcher block? I’d love to hear some input on this from people.
As for siding we have grooved red cedar shingles. We had to re-shingle the south side of the house last year and the red cedar shingles are crazy expensive. Fortunately our house is small and the south side has a lot of windows so the total area wasn’t large, but we could not have afforded changing over our entire house to cedar shingles.
It does seem like a lot of the “natural” materials are more expensive. Cedar shingles, granite counters, solid wood doors instead of the hollow laminate doors... you get the point. But that said most of these options also have a much longer life. So the investment could be worth it financially speaking.
It really is amazing what you can learn to do by watching a few videos. We have done nearly every project ourselves. This is our first home so we had little to now experience before hand, and yet we have now done floor installs, retaining walls buildt with wood, stone or prefab blocks, wiring, painting interior and exterior, building and finishing new walls, patching holes in walls, replaced light fixtures, replaced faucets, re-shingling exterior walls, and removed old counters. The only things we have hired for was the window replacements and the new counter install both of which were required by the manufacturing company for quality assurance. If you just have some patience, attention to detail, and some faith in yourself, you can do more than you may think. Doing the labor yourself has the added benefit of freeing up more funds to spend on quality materials. Certainly a worthwhile benefit in my book.