Durability, cost, and appearance are the key factors most people take into account when choosing new flooring. Moisture resistance, fire resistance, and cleanliness also feature on the list, but much lower down. Things are different for the 50 million Americans who have allergies, however. What are the best flooring choices for people with allergies, and why?
Best Flooring for Allergies: Hardwood Floors or Carpet?
Common allergens like dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold, and mildew can make life challenging for people with serious allergies. These same people tend to be highly sensitive to the chemicals commonly known as VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Living with allergies can easily seem like a lose-lose situation. No matter how hard you work to make your home a safe zone, allergens always seem to have a way of invading your space. Reducing exposure to allergens is hard work, but designing an allergy-friendly home pays off in the long run. Flooring choices are a key part of creating a safe haven for allergy sufferers.
Why Hardwood Flooring Is the Best Choice for People with Allergies
Hardwood flooring is among the most desirable options across the board. It is extremely durable, beautiful, easy to maintain, and versatile — hardwood flooring can be refinished in numerous different ways.
Hardwood flooring is also the best choice for allergy sufferers and has been proven to improve indoor air quality. That’s because hardwood floors are easy to clean thoroughly and mold-resistant. Brand-new hardwood floors are low on VOCs, as well.
The only downside? Not everyone can afford hardwood flooring.
What Other Flooring Options Should Allergy Sufferers Consider?
Hardwood flooring isn’t always an option. Thankfully, allergy sufferers have plenty of other great options to consider.
Cork, Natural Stone, Tile
Cork floors, natural stone, and tile flooring come with the same advantages as hardwood flooring. They are easy to keep clean and don’t off-gas much, even when these floors are freshly installed. Luxury vinyl is another surprisingly good choice. Vinyl may not be natural, but it emits fewer VOCs than other types of artificial flooring.
Engineered hardwood may, on the other hand, offer the appearance of hardwood, but it’s not the same. Artificial materials, glued together with chemical glues, lie beyond the layers of natural-looking hardwood. These floors are high in VOCs and can become an allergy patient’s biggest regret.
Laminate flooring has similar disadvantages because it is made with synthetic materials and solvents that can continue to off-gas for years. It is a poor choice for allergy sufferers who are sensitive to VOCs.
Best Flooring For People With Allergies
Wall-to-wall carpets are the worst flooring choice for people with serious allergies. Avoid it at all costs, and only include smaller rugs that you can easily wash into your home. Hardwood flooring is your best option, but don’t worry if you can’t afford it. Tiles, natural stone, and vinyl are also excellent flooring choices for people with allergies.
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