For many homeowners, remodeling and renovation are at the top of their lists this year. And for good reason.
After the changes we’ve made to our lifestyles over the past year, we want homes that allow more flexibility. We want space so we can enjoy the activities we do best.
Above all, we want space that’s easy to clean and healthy for our families.
For all those reasons and more, hard flooring is a logical choice.
Does flooring affect your health?
At the base of your home decor sits your flooring. It takes the brunt of everyday activities. If you drop food and don’t fully clean it, particles start accumulating. If you walk across it with your shoes on, trace contaminants can lodge into place, and impact your health.
The type of flooring you have underfoot matters. It sets the stage for how well your floors handle under normal everyday living. It’s also about how well the flooring can be cleaned.
Hardwood is one of the oldest and most widely used materials for flooring because it’s durable, easy to clean, and creates pleasing aesthetics at the same time.
People also associate the surface of harwood with being healthier than other types of flooring. If something spills, it’s easier to wipe away. If dust or other particles accumulate, you simply sweep them away.
If things like pet dander, hair, pollen, mold, and other pollutants accumulate, they have the potential to put your health at risk. It most often starts by triggering allergic reactions. If you find coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes extend beyond the typical cold, it might be allergies.
Reducing these triggers is the most effective way to reduce allergy flare-ups. Based on many different studies, hard flooring is easier to control, and therefore is easier to manage and keep allergic reactions at bay.
In many cases, however, the focus should be put on keeping floors clean more than what material the flooring is made from. If hardwood floors, for instance, are rarely cleaned, they have an accumulation of pollutants from indoor and outdoor messes, they can still affect your health.
Beyond hard and soft – materials matter too
Reducing exposure to triggers is the most effective way to keep your family healthy. To do that means creating a surface that’s easily cleaned, and remains free of particles that increase the chances of flare-ups.
Studies show that hard surfaces are able to do that easier. Carpets, for example, can act as storage for allergens. One of the most troublesome areas is in the bedroom, where you can be exposed to these allergens every night while you sleep.
For people with asthma and other respiratory problems, it can easily exacerbate the situation. Like any flooring material, keeping it clean is the key to avoiding problems. That goes beyond regular vacuuming, and includes steam cleaning it regularly too.
When many homeowners think about carpet, they automatically assume it aggravates allergies and asthma symptoms. That’s not always the case. Like hardwood, carpeting has been around for centuries in various states. Instead of selecting synthetic materials, jute, wool, and other natural fibers can make a significant impact in keeping your home clean.
Because natural fibers aren’t created in a lab, and don’t use chemicals to create barriers between spills and your floors, you’ll have to take extra precautions to keep it looking its best. That may mean vacuuming frequently and using a steam cleaner regularly too. You might be more careful with where you place them, and change your daily habits accordingly.
But will a natural carpet be better than some hard flooring choices?
Synthetic flooring has been known to off-gas, which, when tested, have been shown to be as bad or worse than what carpets may harbor. Synthetic floors may contain volatile organic compounds – VOCs – that can aggravate symptoms and release these VOCs continually into the air supply, especially as it’s newly installed and settling into the surroundings.
It goes beyond the flooring material itself
Carpet or hardwood? Tile or laminate? Vinyl or linoleum?
If you’ve shopped for flooring, you know there are thousands of options available to you. It can be overwhelming selecting what type of flooring, and once you do, the options compound by giving you style, color, and pattern choices.
While most homeowners focus on the material and the aesthetics it creates, there’s another concern as well: installation.
Carpet gives you a soft, warm, comfortable flooring that works well in bedrooms. Carpet padding sets the stage for how well the carpet performs, so it’s equally as important as the flooring you choose.
Tile comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns, but it’s the glue that holds it in place that will ultimately determine wearability and how long your tile functions and looks good.
Hardwood can be securely glued to the subfloor, or use click and lock technology, so it floats above the subfloor.
Flooring choices are important, but equally important is how the flooring is secured to the subfloor.
If you use adhesive, it can contain just as many VOCs as synthetic flooring, making your natural flooring choice just as volatile. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has stated that the key to creating a healthier home is to pay attention to everything that goes into creating the home you live in. Pay attention to what triggers symptoms, and reduce their use. That includes keeping your home clean, and paying attention to the products you use to clean it with.
Everything matters in creating healthy indoor air quality. From the materials you use to build your house, to the personal items you bring into your home. Question anything that can be considered toxic, and make wiser choices.
Is hard flooring healthier for your family?
Hard flooring is only healthier if you pay attention to how you’re introducing it into your home. Synthetic hard flooring may be more symptomatic than natural carpet, for example. In this case, it would come down to your cleaning patterns, and how well you care for your home.
Only you can make the right choice for your home. To create a healthy environment for your family, stop by today and see the many different flooring choices available to help you create the environment that keeps you happy and safe for years to come.