Chemically Sensitive Flooring is a hot subject today!
Not only are there a lot of children with asthma, allergies and chemical sensitivities today but a growing population of adults. Many young adults leave home for college and find what in their dorm room? CARPET!!! What could be worse for a healthy person or an asthmatic or allergic than cheap industrial carpeting. With the backing holding all kinds of glues that offgas to the positive charge in plastic fibers that attracts every contaminant on the planet, there is nothing good about carpet. Statistics of kids with these conditions can be alarming. In fact the EPA report on asthma is not kind at all to building products like paints, glues and carpeting and especially to plastics like vinyls.
Once considered something that children would outgrow in time, the incidence of chronic asthma, allergy and chemically sensitivity is now starting to impact young and old alike. It is alarming to see the rapid growth in these illnesses in adults in just the last few years according to the AAAAI statistics pages.
So what would be a good chemically sensitive flooring product for those with asthma, allergy and chemical sensitivity? Oddly enough it would not be anything you can buy in a home center and it would not be anything new or made of any type of petrochemical based plastic… that is for sure. Good old fashioned linoleum is the first and most reliable choice recommended by doctors who treat these illnesses. When it comes to linoleum today that brings you to Forbo, the only international company making old fashioned, original recipe, linseed oil based flooring. In fact they still make it the same way it was made in 1860. Rolled out like pie dough and pressed onto jute backing this colorful, natural plastic is all natural and spectacularly beautiful as well.
What is even more remarkable today is the fact that Forbo has combined their Marmoleum with the floating floor concept that has been around for many years. The benefit to that is simple. Easier installation that can be done by diy-ers and novices. The product requires a little basic carpentry cutting and fitting experience but simply snaps together without tools or tapping blocks and is really worth its weight in gold when it brings relief to a person with asthma, allergy or who is chemically sensitive. Simply gluing the flooring to the backing in the factory means that very little if any off-gassing is taking place in the factory. Marmoleum Click is the product that really has changed life for so many people today.
Is Linoleum by Marmoleum Basement Flooring a good choice?
Yes, original Forbo Linoleum is certainly a great choice for a basement floor. The thing that people really like about marmoleum basement flooring, and especially the one and only original Marmoleum resilient flooring is the warmth. Don’t misunderstand that the floor is actually warmer than other floors at all. It just feels that way. It’s just the way our bodies react that putting your feet on ceramic tile or linoleum would have the linoleum feel warmer.
Pick the Colors of your Marmoleum Basement Flooring & Furnishings First! For basements, the flooring is the single most significant design element. Since the rooms are usually large and open and they have more floor space than any other room in the home that color can dominate a design. When you pick the wrong color for a basement floor it is usually tragic since it is such a big investment. For that reason, it is a great and wise choice to pick the floor and furnishings in tandem before settling on paint colors or accessories, since they can always be adjusted.
People are always worried about moisture and flooding in the basement and with good reason. While a premium floating floor can be an easy and reasonably priced option it is not cheap. Fortunately, when a proper moisture test is performed you can rest easy. Many installers still use the old fashioned and reasonably reliable calcium chloride method. A newer method uses a meter that is held against the floor with modest reliability. Lastly is the method of drilling holes and inserting electronic probes that register in percentages or temperature. Rapid RH is one of the better methods out there today.
Once you know whether there is significant moisture in a slab that may exceed recommendations for your particular product, you can pick a way to address it. In many cases simply rolling out a padding / vapor barrier may do the trick. Often times it is suggested to cut the piece larger than the room and allow it to run up the wall to be covered by the base trim. This is a good practice to do this. The other options may be to paint on a moisture limiting product which is like painting on a latex rubber coating. The last, most expensive and most chemically undesirable would be to trowel out an epoxy coating. This would typically be used when someone absolutely has to have resilient sheet or tile. Hazardous to breathe in and hard to work with, epoxy moisture mitigation coatings must be skim coated over with a cementious mix before installing the finished floor.
Once all the details are taken care of, Marmoleum basement flooring can be a great choice.
Healthy flooring alternatives? Why do I even care about that?
A lack of healthy flooring alternatives might be a significant factor in the number of people that are complaining these days about allergies and asthma. That can be quite astounding if you start to pay attention to this problem that is on the verge of epidemic. What might be the most amazing is that people are typically spending more time and money suffering or taking medicine that compounds the problems than trying to take the bull by the horns, especially when it comes to kids. How many folks rush their children straight to the specialist rather than let things run their course naturally. The doctors are all too quick to provide inhalers, steroids and antihistamines to settle health problems that can generally be attributed to carpet and rugs as well as lots of other things hiding in our homes.
Consider the following:
Sources of Asthma, Allergy & Runny Nose and some alternatives:
Cleaning & Disinfecting Products (use vinegar, borax, baking soda and bleach occasionally)
Paints, Stains & Coatings (find non toxic solutions and don’t confuse Zero VOC with Non Toxic)
Foams & Paddings (avoid urethane, styrene and all other foams and spongy synthetics using jute and natural fibers instead)
Synthetic Chemicals (keep your loved ones away from epoxy, urethane and smelly solvents)
Food-Based Toxins (pesticide and fertilizer sludge residues are toxic…. grow your own or buy organic)
Airborne Dusts & Toxins (use hepa and negative ionization to filter the airborne dusts from coal burning and cars that is in the air)
Carpet, Flooring & Adhesives (glues, vinyls, synthetic rubber, foams, plastic yarns…why not use natural & healthy flooring alternatives if possible)
Generally, much of what we are being exposed to is plastic or a derivative of plastic or petroleum and our bodies are simply not equipped to combat the huge volume of these volatile chemicals being thrown at us. A good resource for understanding some of this is found here at this site with information from the EPA; Indoor Air Quality or see their video on Indoor Air Quality below. Ultimately it will be up to the manufacturers to make healthy flooring alternatives since the government and our legislators can not even begin to control this problem.
Don’t think for a second that your government or anyone for that matter except your mother might know what is best for you. In fact, it has been proposed that most men do not have the sensitivity to odor to protect themselves and their families from chronic or even acute chemical hazards. If you think about it, most men live shorter live and most tradesmen are men. This is no coincidence. There is a theory that men, having done all the smelly jobs like fighting, burying the dead and butchering animals for thousands of years have lost much of their natural sensitivity to odor or can turn it off as a coping skill. Men seem to be in charge of most building product specification and purchasing and are typically the ones who are saying “what are you worrying about” to their partners or clients.
Using healthy flooring alternatives that are bacteriostatic like linoleum can prevent the growth of many harmful bacteria and that is the reason it is used in hospitals and schools. Additionally, linoleum after it’s natural oils have cured in the factory has virtually none of the off-gassing from composite flooring and other products that require the use of solvent based adhesives. The adhesives used with linoleum flooring leaves little in the way of chemical smell to bother people after the installation.