A Chip Off The Ol' Blog: Tricks of the Construction Trade

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The Lowest VOC Emission Choices of Flooring for a Home Remodel

Posted by FortRock on February 17, 2014

Tired of sneezing from those old, shag carpets with thirty years of dog hair and dander they’ve collected? Considering a home remodel and wondering what kinds of natural flooring are available? Many people who suffer from allergies, asthma, or have trouble breathing choose hardwood floors, but there are also other options out there. Many of our clients in Eugene, Oregon are more health conscious and environmentally aware about the products they choose. There is a rise in people wanting materials low in chemicals that can affect health and local ecology.

 

Using flooring made from natural materials produces better air quality in the home because there aren’t as many VOCs or volatile organic compound emissions. Traditional kinds of flooring contain binders, adhesives and sealants that are higher in VOCs. Many of the flooring option below also have the added benefit of being made from renewable resources or are recycled, and for those reasons are better for the environment.

 

Healthy kinds of flooring:

 

Hard wood flooring

Wood is easy to clean and great for people with allergies because they don’t collect dust. Oak, cherry, teak and walnut are favorite hardwood floors. There are brands out there that use binders that are low in VOC emissions, but it isn’t the standard.

 

Bamboo

Bamboo is stronger and more durable than hardwoods—if one buys good quality. Bamboo should harvested from plantation managed timber rather than the wild, produced with low VOC adhesives, and dried to withstand humid or dry climates. This will also help ensure it will be scratch resistant.

 

Eucalyptus

This is harder than the hardest of woods. It is durable and inexpensive. It is also good for the environment because the Eucalyptus tree grows fast and is highly renewable. It’s also low on VOC emissions.

 

Cork

Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees and is a renewable resource. Cork is lightweight, an acoustic insulator (muffles sound), is soft to walk on, and recovers well from the weight of furniture. It is resistant to fire, mold, mildew, termites, gasses and liquids and is antimicrobial.

 

Natural-fiber carpeting

This kind of carpeting is made from natural materials such as wool, a wool-hemp blend, or grass blends like sea grass, sisal, linen or juke. Wool is water and fire resistant, and hemp is mold, mildew and pest resistant. The grass varieties are strong and naturally anti-static. On the downside, many of these natural-fiber carpets do not do well in bathrooms or environments that are constantly getting wet.

 

Stay tuned for next month’s blog post on other natural and salvaged materials that are good for your health and the environment.