4 Ways To Determine if Your Floating Floor is Environmentally Friendly
There is an abundance of flooring available today. They are designed with lovely stains and colors to appeal to a wide variety of clients and interior styles.
But there is a growing concern about the types of flooring, finishes and manufacturing processes being used to make the flooring available today and how it may contribute to our indoor air quality and environmental sustainability. No one wants to use flooring that could impact the interior health of a space, and clients are more and more concerned with using products that are made well, last longer, and have a reduced carbon footprint.
So what should you look for in your new flooring to ensure you are getting a floor that will be good for you, your home and your environment?
Does it Contain VOC’s, Formaldahyde, or other harsh chemicals with long term health implications?
VOC’s, is short for volatile organic compounds.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.
Many household products contain VOC’s, and some have little to no impact on indoor, environmental or personal health. But others, can be harmful and detrimental to the heath inside and outside the home.
It is important to understand the VOC content of the products you install in your home, this includes cabinets, doors, paint, furniture, and especially your hard surface flooring – since its one of the largest surfaces in your home.
Is the flooring compliant with LEED, FSC and/or CARB2 (California Indoor Air Quality Standards)?
LEED, FSC and CARB2 have become environmental standards by which interior and exterior construction products – especially hard surface flooring like hardwood, engineered, cork, laminate and others – are judged.
LEED, is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building project types, from new construction to interior fit-outs and operation & maintenance, LEED provides a framework that project teams can apply to create healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.
Products must meet very strict guidelines to be considered for a LEED project. There are numerous of different types of LEED projects for residential and commercial interior, new construction versus renovation, and based on whether the building is mixed use or residential. To learn more visit the USGBC Resource Library. FSC, is short for the Forestry Stewardship Council which is an international and independent organization committed to the protection and preservation of the worlds forests. Last, but certainly not least another very stringent standard for indoor air health quality is CARB2, which originated in California, and has become the benchmark for national and international quality guidelines.
If you are considering floating flooring you should inquire whether the flooring is suitable for inclusion in LEED projects; are any of the products FSC certified; do the floors meet CARB2 guidelines – the answer to these questions can help you determine the quality of the flooring you are considering.
What is the installation process and how does it impact the interior health of my residential or commercial space?
In addition to the flooring and finish of the flooring, and the various agencies, certifications, and standards that the flooring might meet, there are other environmental considerations to take into account.
- Does the floor need to be sanded after installation. If a floor needs to be sanded after installation this will create dirt and dust in the home. Prefinished flooring is a much better way to go to minimize unnecessary dirt, dust and debris from entering the home.
- What products are required for installation. Non floating flooring must be installed using nails and glue. This can add to the time and cost of the installation process, and some people do not like the idea of using an adhesive on their flooring. Torlys Smart Floors are made with a CorkPlus underlayment so there is no glueing or nailing required.
- How Long Does the Floor Last. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your floor looks if it doesn’t last for a long time. Be sure to the check the warranty of the flooring you are considering, it can vary from product to product, and residential versus commercial interiors. It is also important to understand how to repair your floor if it gets damaged. Torlys Smart Floors is the only flooring product with a revolutionary BullDog Replacer tool that allows you to replace a single board if its damaged, not the entire floor.
- How are you going to care for your floor. Once you invest in a high quality, environmentally floor, don’t you want to maintain that by using the same kind of cleaning, and refinish products? Be sure to find what you can, and should use to keep your floor looking clean and beautiful.
What is the recycled content of the flooring?
Flooring can be made from new, recycled or a combination (mixed content). It is not necessary bad to use “new” material to make floors, as the long term health of a forest stems from our ability to practice good, and sustainable forest management. But there has been a growing interest in using floor covering (and many other building components) made from all or partial recycled content. For example, Torlys Cork and Leather Flooring are both from 100% recycled content, and even the laminate flooring is made from 79% recycled content. When you use recycled content you minimize the carbon footprint of the product, the company, and the end user.
Want to learn more about Torlys Smart Floors and discover inspiration and ideas for your project, download your copy of our free color catalog today!