Though we seldom think of it, everything manufactured that we bring into our homes has some effect on the home’s environment. In most cases, that means IAQ concerns. IAQ, or indoor air quality, isn’t always on our radar, but it should be. One key area of concern is new flooring.
Carpet and Rugs
Carpet and rugs offer warmth in winter, and a comfortable interface between our feet and the cold, hard flooring underneath. But in a damp climate such as ours, there are concerns about how carpet and rugs harbor mold, mildew and fungus, which are respiratory irritants and which can also multiply and damage home furnishings. Carpets and rugs can also trap pollutants such as pet dander, dirt and dust mites. Even regular cleaning and vacuuming won’t completely remove the pollutants in carpets and rugs.
What’s more, carpets and rugs, particularly if made from synthetic fibers, may emit volatile organic compounds. These substances can build up in a tightly constructed home with little ventilation, causing respiratory irritations and reactions.
Hardwood floors are easy to clean and don’t collect pollutants or harbor mold the way that carpets do, but they do require cleaning with products that may give off VOCs. Whenever possible, opt for natural cleaning products to limit IAQ concerns.
Vinyl is a strong, attractive flooring that holds up well against scuffing and is usually easy to clean. It also does not attract pollutants. However, the off-gassing solvents needed for installation can impact your IAQ.
Laminates are designed to look like wood but are less expensive. They are often more comfortable than wood, and are easy to clean and don’t harbor pollutants. However, some laminate flooring gives off formaldehyde; also, cutting laminates may release VOCs.
Tile is durable, easy to clean and doesn’t off-gas VOCs, nor does it harbor pollutants. However, it can be hard on the feet. Soft, washable rugs may remedy this. It’s best to seal the grout so it doesn’t become discolored.
For more on IAQ concerns, contact Beyer Boys. We provide HVAC repairs, maintenance and installations in the San Antonio region.