Hardwood Floors: A Green Choice

Hardwood flooring is not only lovely and easy to clean, it’s one of the safest choices when choosing flooring for your home. Low in emission of formaldehyde, it has virtually no chemical elements of concern; the biggest challenge is having thousands of options when you’re trying to choose which one is the most affordable and durable for your particular home. To ease the stress and confusion, here are some key things to consider:

  • If going green is a priority, bamboo is one of the strongest flooring materials … AND a greener option!
  • Is refinishing your floor someday a task you’re willing to tackle? If you don’t see yourself sanding and staining fifteen years from now, then choose a cheaper option without all the layers to sand down.
  • Avoid glue, and instead choose options that involve floating, applying screws, or nailing down—this will eliminate the possibility for toxic fumes. If you have no choice but to use adhesive, we encourage you to seek out a toxic-free one.
  • Opting for hardwood that’s finished (sealed) is your best bet. Finishing the wood yourself can lead to exposure to toxic fumes, which is never recommended (remember this when considering refinishing them as well).
  • Consider the type of finish you want with regard to cleaning your hardwood floors. Having a finish that you can easily sweep and damp mop is nice for us “clean freaks.” And don’t forget steam cleaners work great too!
  • To ensure you’re getting a non-toxic wood, ask for the amount of formaldehyde emissions. The World Health Organization recommends lower than 0.042 ppm, so if the person you ask isn’t sure, ask for their Material Safety Data Sheet where that information should be listed.

Remember that when doing any type of remodeling, you should always consider the effects on you and your children. Dust and debris can cause respiratory issues, so always allow good ventilation and keep the kids out for a day until air is clean and clear again when possible.