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Healthy Home: Are Wood Floors Safe for Your Family?

Posted in About Wide Plank Wood Floors, Blog, Flooring, Healthy Home, Wood Tips & Trends

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If you watched, or heard about, the recent 60 Minutes expose concerning a large US wood floor retailer, you may have concerns about the safety of your wood flooring. While the 60 Minutes segment focused on dangerous formaldehyde levels in laminate wood products imported from China,* questions about the toxicity of wood flooring in general are likely on the minds of many Americans.

How can you be certain your floors are toxin-free and safe for your family? Here are factors you should know about when making flooring product decisions for your home.

VOC Compliance

For the healthiest home possible, you must select wood flooring that is VOC compliant.

What are VOCs?  VOCs or “Volatile Organic Compounds” are the substances used to manufacture adhesives and sealants; the VOCs make the adhesives and sealants fluid and workable. Once an adhesive or sealant is applied to flooring or other products, it cures or hardens by the evaporation of the VOC, releasing substances into the air. That VOC evaporation causes the odor you may smell as the curing happens. Commonly used VOCs include mineral spirits, toluene, and xylene. Gasoline and alcohol are also VOCs. In all states, VOCs are targeted for reduction or elimination, but regulations can vary from state to state and even county to county, with some of the strictest standards for VOCs found in California. To be certain your VOC compliant floors adhere to the highest standards, look for flooring products that are “50 State VOC Compliant.”

CARB Compliance

For the healthiest home possible, you must select wood flooring that is CARB compliant.

One of the primary factors that makes any product green is the effect on indoor air quality (IAQ). Acceptable IAQ levels vary greatly from country to country and from state to state. In the United States, the strictest IAQ levels set the standard for the emissions of urea formaldehyde, a proven carcinogen. In homes, the most significant sources of formaldehyde are likely to be pressed wood products (such as laminate and engineered wood products) made using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde resins. The IAQ rules  for formaldehyde emissions are contained in the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products. This standard is considered the most stringent emissions standard specifically developed for wood products.

Shannon & Waterman: 100% VOC and CARB Compliant in All 50 States

We at Shannon & Waterman share your desire–your demand–for the healthiest products for your home. That is why our wide plank wood flooring products are 100% CARB and VOC compliant in all 50 states. Likewise, all Shannon & Waterman wide plank floors are 100% formaldehyde free. Additionally, we cure our water-based finishes in a way that ensures absolutely no off gassing after delivery.

Full documentation is available upon request. You may request details by filling out the form on our Contact Us page.

*All Shannon & Waterman Custom Wide Plank Floors are manufactured in the US. We maintain ownership and control of our materials all the way from our own forests to the finished floor.  Because of this ability to document custody of our material from the stump, we are one of the main suppliers of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified material for LEED or environmentally conscious projects. Click here to learn more about sustainable forestry.

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