Selecting non-toxic flooring for your home might seem easy, but sadly, the majority of the flooring options available contain harmful chemicals. Toxic substances in flooring can be a significant source of indoor air pollution. Statistically, air pollution is now the world’s largest environmental health hazard based on facts compiled by W.H.O (world health organization). If you decide to replace or buy new flooring, it's vital to understand how each option could impact the quality of air in your home
Quickly before we dive into the meat of the matter, let's list the categories of non-toxic flooring we'd elaborate more on later. These kinds of floors are also called "Green Non-Toxic Flooring." The green non-toxic floors are divided into three classes, beginning with the safest ones, like the following:
•The highest shade of Green flooring. (0-VOC)
•A medium shade of Green flooring.
•A light shade of Green flooring.
The highest shade of Green Flooring (0-VOC)
Let’s see the non-toxic floor types that fall under this category:
Natural Solid Hard Wood
Natural wood flooring stands as my most preferred choice. Nevertheless, wood consist of some natural terpenes (volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons) that is reactive to a few, most importantly they contain anti-sap stain chemicals which are in wood used for building, not forest woods. This explains why some people react to the audacious smell of woods.
However, aromatic-like woods (pine) tend to have much higher volatile compounds than maple. Floors with high volatility have a higher possibility of absorbing and nurturing mold than less porous materials. For instance, wood. To combat mold from forming, you should ensure the wood goes through kiln-drying and then storing it in a wet-less area.
What can be used as FINISH for the Highest shade of Green type Floors
There are different options for finishing 0-VOC floor types. For instance, hemp oil which a lot of people use as the “purest” option for their finish is a great option! Another good non-toxic finish is AFM Poly Bp.
What Glues are best for the Highest shade of Green type Floors
Polish concrete is one floor that shouldn’t be taken lightly, it can look green & healthy. It is also beautiful. This floor type comes with a “retro plate” mechanism that uses “liquid glass” (transformed sodium silicate) and is non-toxic 100% and 0-VOC.
You can find this option available across the US and Canada, it depends on the professional who specializes in the system. Furthermore, when installing, you can add natural pigments, acid stains, white sand, or white cement to get a variety of modern appearances.
Various tiles are non-toxic and can be safe for your home.
Theoretically, marble tiles are good but most of it has resin put on it to cover the gaps and fissures with possible chemicals as well. For instance, you can use a low toxin or natural sealer on a pure slab with a shiny finish.
Another type of great marble is slate. You can find unsealed ones at Home Depot. Similar to marble, it uses resin to fill pits and lines. If you would require sealers, then go for Meta Cream or AFM Mexeseal.
You can also use Tung oil for sealing your slate.
Before using any of the sealers mentioned above, be sure to check if the slate requires one. The reason is simple. Some slates are very dense, so no sealer is required.
Concrete tiles are another beautiful tile with aesthetic designs. For sealing, you can use AFM Penetrating Water Stop. If you’re satisfied with the water soap, another viable option is a Meta Cream or Tung Oil.
Also, green companies now create hemp oil and walnut oil that can be used on concrete or natural stone. Theoretically, hemp oil can't be applied as it's a drying oil. As for walnut oil, it's a semi-drying oil so it can be used over a little area.
Ceramic tiles contain a considerable amount of lead in the glaze. Before purchasing, ask for lead test results from the company and perform a 3M lead swab test. But if you want to go deeper on these lead particles (already forming to dust) then hire a professional with an XRF tool.
All ceramic tiles must be tested for traces of lead. The reason is simple. When tested, measures would be taken to prevent health problems. It’s also important to be careful when removing them as they can be harmful in forms of lead dust.
N.B: I suggest you lay replacement tiles over existing ones, to avoid lead particles polluting the air.
Porcelain tiles are different from ceramic tiles in the sense that they hardly contain lead particles. This means no sealing.
Medium Shade of Green FlooringMID(0 to low-VOC)
Let’s see the non-toxic floor types that fall under this category:
Natural linoleum is gotten and made from wood flour, binders, dry pigments and linseed which are combined and then turned into calendared fabric. It has a UV curved sealer on top that acts as the glue used to install it.
This is one of the floorings I recommend as it often looks cool and comes in many colors.
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP)can be habitable than most people realize, although most of us think it's a bad option. If you're considering an RV, then go for luxury vinyl.
This is another good non-toxic flooring option that can be recommended.
Natural Safe Carpet
Natural, non-toxic carpet & natural fibers can be great. It has no mothproofing, no non-toxic adhesive and also no stain repellent. Although not all of them smell of wool but listed below are the best non-toxic natural wool carpets:
This wool carpet does not contain latex, mothproofing, or any other form of treatment. I recommend using wool carpets with no dyes because they are sensitive.
This wool carpet contains natural adhesives. The middle line has no latex, but it contains mothproofing.
Light Shade of Green Flooring (low-VOC)
This wood type has terpenes on it. (Has a natural odor). It uses resin to bind the tiny pieces of cork together into flat pieces. It also uses an adhesive to hold it down, or for floating floors, it is glued to a substrate or fireboard which can be harmful due to its chemical release.
You can finish it with acrylic/urethanes because it gets tolerable once treated.
Bamboo flooring requires adhesives or resin to hold the substrate, finish and top pieces together. Still, others are Green-Protection certified for low emissions. There are certain downsides to this wood; it is known to be flexible enough to shrink, expand and perform poorly with moisture or liquid spills.
If you would go for bamboo, then I suggest Cali Bamboo GeoCore, because it is made on limestone which is tolerable to use in your home.
For their prices as of 2019:
• Wood ranges from $8-$10 per sqft (with installation).
• Polished concrete ranges from $6-$12 per sqft for homeowners.
• Tiles normally range from $8-$10 but then again, it still depends on the tile and the installation.
• Cork flooring starts from $8-$10 (with installation)
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