Green Surface Protection Product Improvements

Surface protection made from recycled compressed paper or recycled corrugated cardboard has several common applications including floor, door, and countertop protection. Ram Board is the most well known brand of rolled fiber board and is commonly used to protect floors and countertops. It is manufactured using 100% reclaimed paper of which 90% is post-consumer material. DoorGuard(TM), the first door protector to market and the most well known, is manufactured with 99% recycled content cardboard. The DoorGuard(TM) is commonly reused several times per construction project and is fastened using natural rubber. It is frequently moved from the bottom floors of a high rise under construction to the upper floors as construction progresses. The DoorGuard(TM) and Ram Board can both be recycled into new products.
Recycled cotton textiles are used in several types of rolled, reusable floor protection providing a soft layer of adsorbent protection that does not scratch countertops or floors. While in the past, there were no leak proof yet breathable floor protection products, there are now several products on the market. Newly installed glue down wood floors require glue fumes to off gas and fume vapors must be able to escape into the air. Breathable floor protection has tiny micropores that are too small to allow liquids to penetrate but small enough to allow vapor fumes to escape. While in the past a plastic liner was laminated to the textile to render them leak proof, they were not considered truly green as they couldn’t be recycled after use. The new breathable and leak proof products have a higher retail price than plastic lined products but are increasing in market share every month. Although imported from Europe, these products now have a US Master Distributor that supplies warehouses throughout the U.S.
The most common types of temporary surface protection and the least environmentally friendly are temporary adhesive films. These films are commonly manufactured in Asia from 100% virgin plastic and then imported to the US. Although these films have a low cost per square foot, they have recommended use times that range from 30 to 180 days and are by no means reusable. Very few manufacturers incorporate used plastics in their products as the cost to recycle plastics are high.
The choice to use surface protection is in itself a positive step toward sustainability. Protecting tubs, floors, doors and other finishes lessen the odds that they will require repairs using toxic compounds or worse yet, that they are beyond salvage and end up in a landfill. This unfavorable result hurts both the environmental and the builders’ profits. Hopefully the trend toward sustainable surface protection will continue to move forward quickly in the future as the choices and popularity of green finishes grows.