Which is the healthiest flooring for homes?

Healthier flooring options include solid wood, natural linoleum, cork, bamboo, tile, and stone. A key feature of all of them is that they are easily cleaned from dust and dirt.

Which is the healthiest flooring for homes?

Healthier flooring options include solid wood, natural linoleum, cork, bamboo, tile, and stone. A key feature of all of them is that they are easily cleaned from dust and dirt. Laminate, vinyl and synthetic carpets can contaminate indoor air with hazardous chemicals. Use solid surface floors instead of carpets Choose FSC-certified solid wood Use natural linoleum or tiles made in the U.S.


Choose finishes and sealants that are low in volatile organic compounds Look for NAF certified products Avoid laminate, vinyl and synthetic carpets. Don't use floors that emit

harmful volatile organic compounds or those that are made with formaldehyde glues or vinyl that alter hormones. Use solid surface floors instead of carpets.

Carpet can contain a large amount of harmful chemicals and trap contaminants in your home. If you use glue, choose a glue with a low content of volatile organic compounds that is Greenguard Gold certified. Avoid laminate, vinyl, and synthetic carpets if possible. These flooring products carry the highest risks of indoor air pollution caused by hazardous chemicals.

Avoid all products treated with biocides or fungicides. Choose wood dyes and sealants that are low in volatile organic compounds to reduce gas emissions. Composite wood flooring products, such as engineered hardwood, bamboo and laminate, are manufactured by fusing layers of wood with glues and resins. However, these glues are usually made with formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen and a serious household air pollutant.

In addition to the impact of a product on your health, consider sustainability when choosing a floor. This is especially true when using wood and bamboo products, because poorly managed logging practices can have significant environmental impacts, such as deforestation, habitat loss, the extinction of plant and animal species, soil erosion and water pollution. Therefore, we recommend choosing wood and bamboo products that are certified by the FSC, which is the best indicator of sustainably harvested wood. Keep in mind that not all products from a certified company may be FSC certified, so be sure to read the label of the wood or bamboo you are buying. We recommend using solid surface flooring instead of carpet whenever possible.

This will help you avoid the chemical and allergenic air pollution commonly associated with carpets. Suitable for bedrooms and living areas Hardwoods such as oak and maple take longer to grow, but are generally more resistant to dents and damage than softwoods such as pine and birch, which grow faster and are more easily replaced. Hardwood planks are usually more expensive as a raw material, although the costs of installing and finishing the wood should be the same. Check that the wood species you choose is not endangered.

The branch of the non-profit organization Friends of the Earth maintains a guide to good wood with more information on the different types of wood. Suitable for most rooms, including bathrooms and kitchens, linoleum is an affordable and environmentally friendly flooring option. It's water resistant and water resistant, meaning it has a little bit of stretch, making it a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Natural linoleum is a mixture of linseed oil, pine resin, wood flour, cork flour, limestone and pigments pressed onto a jute support. This low-maintenance option can be installed on a wooden or concrete subfloor and usually only needs a layer of natural wax (beeswax and linseed oil) to protect and care for it.

With proper maintenance, these floors should last for decades. Dirt can stain or damage the finish, so it's important to vacuum or mop with a wet mop regularly. Never leave the floor wet and clean up spills quickly because water can damage the surface, as can aggressive cleaners. Follow the instructions below if you are interested in using cork, solid wood or bamboo floors in your home.

We can recommend these flooring products only when they are carefully selected, using our parameters to avoid products manufactured with harmful chemicals or those with negative environmental impacts. Cork floors are often suitable for kitchens and bathrooms due to their properties resistant to mold and moisture. It's also naturally fireproof, doesn't absorb dust, is warm underfoot and provides cushioning when standing. It is a natural product made from the bark of cork oaks and, since the harvest does not harm the tree, it is highly renewable.

Cork is as durable as hardwood and can be placed on plywood, concrete or existing floors such as tiles or sheets. And at the end of its useful life, cork can be composted or recycled. However, the composition of cork floors can vary greatly and may contain harmful binders. Engineered wood floors are comprised of a top layer of real wood veneer attached to a core of plywood or other wood material.

The advantage of engineered hardwood is that it comes pre-finished, making it less labor-intensive to install on site, and it can be sanded and repainted at least once. The disadvantage is that glues and wood composite materials can contain formaldehyde. Bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable material that can be harvested every three to five years. Some types of bamboo are harder than oak and can last 30 to 50 years. However, some bamboo harvesting practices are unsustainable and contribute to deforestation, and few bamboo products are currently FSC certified.

In addition, bamboo floors are composed of glued strips and, until recently, all bamboo floors contained formaldehyde-based glues. Some replacement glues may also contain isocyanates, which can cause respiratory irritation and sensitization that can lead to severe asthma. Although popular and easy to install, vinyl is probably the worst flooring option in terms of health, sustainability and production. It is a non-renewable material made from petroleum-derived chemicals.

Vinyl is made of PVC plastic, or polyvinyl chloride, which produces toxic chemicals during manufacturing, such as dioxin, a carcinogen and toxic to reproduction. Most vinyl floors contain multiple harmful chemicals, including the same phthalates that have been banned in children's toys. Phthalates can release gases from building materials for years after installation. Phthalates are related to birth defects and can alter hormones. Also, keep in mind that many older vinyl floors contain asbestos.

If you're removing old vinyl, it's best to assume there's asbestos and consult a licensed contractor for help. Asbestos is a known carcinogen linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Laminate flooring products are manufactured with a plasticized “image” or an image of wood attached to a fiberboard and, as such, cannot be sanded or refinished. Recently, laminate floors have been in the spotlight for emitting significant levels of formaldehyde, which is found in the glues used to join the layers of hardboard laminate and the adhesives used for installation.

Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen, with no safe level of exposure, and has been linked to many other health consequences derived from short-term exposures, such as eye and throat irritation, headaches and nausea. Forest Management Council (FSC) California Air Resources Board NAF California Air Resources Board ULEF. Please wait a moment and try again. Marmoleum isn't just your grandmother's floor anymore, this healthy and durable floor is a great choice for even the most modern homes.

We care about your health, safety and well-being, and it's our top priority regardless of the style or quality of the flooring products you choose. Pine is a fairly common floor, but for some reason it is most often found in custom homes in rural areas. Some people find that concrete floors are too hard to stand comfortably on, in which case you can cover them as long as you choose a material that isn't affected by underfloor heating, if you have them. Its installation is cheaper than a hardwood floor, but it will likely need maintenance much sooner than a hardwood such as oak or maple, so it's worth considering the long-term costs. If you're working with a contractor or installer, it probably makes sense to buy the floor through them, as they'll get it at a lower professional price.

It has its fans (Swedlow calls it “the best material in the world”), but it's a category with a particularly wide range of qualities, so it's best to buy them from a specialist flooring dealer who can help you find a high-performance line. There are all types of engineering floors, such as maple, birch, oak, and you can also find cork engineering floors. The site has an extensive library of practical virtual clinics, for those looking to save by installing their floors themselves. You will notice it more if the floor is completely cool and you activate it, since it will take a little longer to reach the temperature than if it were made of masonry or concrete.

Many homeowners focus on the look and price of the floors, without thinking about what it will be like to live with the material in the long term. Due to the high content of lead, cadmium and VOC in vinyls manufactured in the past, there is still a negative outlook for vinyl floors. As you search for options that are low in volatile organic compounds, you'll find stylish and durable green flooring options for ceramic tiles and porcelain stoneware.

Velma Plotzker
Velma Plotzker

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