Flooring is one of the most important decsions you will make when it comes to building or rennovting your home. Floors and Walls cover the most surface in our homes which is why, when building a Healthy Home, it is important to be mindful of the materials and adhesives you are using. Toxic flooring can have a negative affect on indoor air quality, human health and the planet.
Floor Coverings Impact on Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality can contribute to a number of health affects such as:
- Sore Throats
- Frequent Colds
- Allergies and Asthma
- Memory Lapses
- And even cause and increased risk of cancer
Indoor Air Quality constantly changes throughout the day due to humidity, gases, outdoor pollution, temperature, ventilation, pets, and more!
Contaminants found in flooring cant trigger allergic symptoms and even asthma attacks. It is best to select flooring that is easy to vacuum. Bye, bye carpet! Speaking of carpet, not only is it a trap from dust, to dander, and other alergens. But carpet and adhesives also contain formaldehyde, which is a commonly used Volatile Organic Compound. When exposed at high levels or if one experiences severe allergic reactions, these contaminants can really take a toll on our health.
VOC’s are found in virtually all man made products, but some produts contain low-voc’s, you can also look for non-toxic adhesives and underlayments.
Healthiest Flooring Options for the Home
One of the best things about choosing materials for the home that are safe for people, is that these materials are often time also safe for the planet to. Feel good about your flooring selections by following this list of healthy, non toxic and sustainable flooring options:
1. Natural Solid Hardwood Floor
Natural hardwood is one of the purest and safest options when it comes to flooring. Wood actually contains terpenese that are safe (and beneficial!) to healthy people who do not experience sensitivities to natural materials or aromatic woods.
When selecting natural hardwood floor, opt for FSC certified, use Zero VOC finishes and sealers, and non toxic adhesives. Some woods, such as pine naturally contain VOC’s, which is something to consider if one has chemical sensitivities. One other thing to mention about hardwoods is they are more prone to harbouring mold compared to less porous materials so it is best to used hardwoord in non wet areas of the home.
2. Polished Concrete
Polished concrete is one of my favorite non-toxic flooring materials. It has the ability to fit a variety of styles from traditional to modern, and can really be quite beautiful! Most polished concrete systems use sodium silicate or potassium silicate which are very safe! Polished concrete is great for all areas of the home, including wet areas becasue of its breathable qualities.
It is also virtual indestrectible and one of the easiest materials to clean. It can also helo add light into your space depending on the level of sheen you select with your polish.
Tile is not only extremely durable and resillient, but it’s a great option for a healthy home! One thing to look for is the lead levels of the tile if the tile is glazed. All ceramic/porcelain should be tested for lead and when removing tile be extra careful as the dust can be very harmful. Most tiles made in the US will not contain lead based glazes.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles come in a variety of styles ranging from wood look to marble, they look beautiful, are highly durable and extremely easy to clean!
4. Natural Linoleum
Linoleum is an environmentally friendly, affordable flooring option. It is both water-resistant and resilient, meaning it has a little give, which makes it a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms. It is made from all natural materials including wood flour, resins, ground limestone, jute, and linseed oil. It is one of the greenest flooring options out there!
The best installation method for linoleum is to do a floating floor rather than a glue down. This flooring material now comes in a variety of styles from wood look to stone. It is also a reusable material that decomposs over time when placed in landfills.
To Learn More About Healthy Flooring Materials: