Carpet is one of the most controversial flooring types within the industry.
On the one hand, you’ll find a lot of people touting how bad carpets are. They can trap pollutants like dust mites, dirt, pet dander, particles, mildew, even mold. Toxic chemicals and gases in the air can settle into carpet fibers or on pollutants themselves. They sit there waiting for vacuums to make them airborne once again, or your pets or kids to lie down and become exposed to them as they play on the floor. Some carpets and carpet pads are made with chemicals and glues with volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are also known to harm your health.
On the other hand, some will tell you the exact opposite is true. Carpet can actually make a home a healthier place to live, keeping fine dust and other particulates out of the air supply. On smooth floors, these particles are always being recirculated into the air as your furnace or air conditioner turn on, or even as you walk by. A carpet will trap them and keep them low until you vacuum and pull them away. And with the increase in technology and awareness about the harm of VOCs, manufacturers today are producing high quality carpets with low or even zero VOCs. If you select natural fibers like wool, and pay attention to both carpet pad and installation, you can have one of the most eco-friendly flooring choices around.
Which should you believe?
Let’s start with a few statistics
Studies have been performed all around the world looking for a definitive answer.
A study commissioned by the German Allergy and Asthma Society showed that using smooth flooring markedly increases the risk of finding dust throughout a home, while homes using carpet minimizes the risk. And in homes with smooth flooring dust pools and is located in higher concentrations than in homes with wall to wall carpet.
For people with respiratory problems, fine dust is a problem. The more dust inhaled, the more it triggers irritation and causes breathing problems over time. The fact that carpet traps fine dust and holds it down close to the ground means there is less likelihood it will be up in the air supply. And that can be a good thing.
Or how about a study performed by the European Community Respiratory Health Service, an international organization that surveyed over 19,000 people in 18 countries, that showed homes that have carpeting in their bedrooms have a lower incidence of having a family member with asthma symptoms.
Carpet can lower the accumulation of dust within your home
Here in Colorado, most of us rely on gas-forced heating and cooling systems to keep our homes comfortable. And because of the unpredictability of Colorado weather, either one or the other is operating almost all of the time.
Have you ever sat in a home and watched dust and pet hair blow around every time the furnace or air conditioner turns on? If you can see that, imagine what’s happening to fine dust particles that are microscopic or hard to see. This fine matter is stirred up even with the most gentle breezes, putting all of that into the air supply, and ultimately inhaled.
Carpet fibers trap all of this, and keep these particles down near the floor.
When you have carpet, part of the regular maintenance routine is to vacuum them regularly. Modern day technology dictates that you’ll have a vacuum that uses HEPA-filters, which trap allergens and dust mites and permanently remove them from your carpets.
Of course, some carpets do this better than others. That’s where quality comes into play. Spend the time finding the best carpet for your situation.
What about VOCs?
VOCs – volatile organic compounds – are found everywhere, not just in carpet or adhesives. You’ll find VOCs in things you use every day:
- Cleaning supplies
- Dry cleaning
- Polishes and waxes
- Office equipment
- Cigarette smoke
- Air supply from outside
You can’t escape it. But you can be conscious about it.
VOCs can be in any type of flooring. The key is in paying attention to the manufacturing process. Also, ask questions about installation, and select only those products that are carefully analyzed for lowering VOCs.
And statistics show that the use of VOCs is decreasing rapidly. Here in the US alone, in 1970, there were over 35 million tons of volatile organic compounds released into the air. In 2017, it was reduced to 16.2 million tons.
Being aware can greatly improve your ability to select things that won’t harm your health, and can actually make your home a safer, more comfortable place to live.
In can increase safety too
In some homes, safety is a top concern. Do you have an elderly relative who lives with you? Or a small child learning to walk?
Falling is one of the most frequent reasons people end up in emergency. And for an elderly person, the results can be catastrophic.
If someone falls on a hardwood or tile floor, the damage can be substantial. Carpet softens a fall, and can reduce the amount of injury.
Carpet has also been known to help reduce stress. There’s just something about squishing your toes into soft fibers, something that makes you relax and say: ah.
It might also be because of noise levels. Have you ever experienced the hollow sound with hard flooring in place? You can hear the echo as you talk or walk around the room. Carpet is a natural insulator, with improves noise control. That too, can have a lot of positive benefits, depending on the situation.
So, have you reconsidered your desire for carpet in your home? Are you looking for quality carpeting solutions that can help you create a non-toxic, breathable, sustainable living environment?
If so, we can help. We have many wonderful carpet brands that will perfectly suit your needs and taste. Stop by today and take a few samples home. You’ll love what new carpet does to your home.