The Impact of Flooring on Indoor Air Quality: How to Choose Healthier Options?

by Natasha Mathew

When it comes to creating a healthy indoor environment, many people focus on things like air filters, cleaning products, and plants. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is flooring. The type of flooring you choose can significantly impact the air quality in your home or office. In this blog post, we’ll explore the relationship between flooring and indoor air quality and provide some tips on how to choose healthier options.

Why Flooring Matters?

Flooring is a key component of any indoor space. It covers a large surface area and is in constant contact with the air we breathe. As a result, flooring materials can release a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other pollutants into the air. These pollutants can have a negative impact on indoor air quality, potentially leading to health problems such as respiratory issues, headaches, and fatigue.

Some of the most common types of flooring materials that can contribute to indoor air pollution include:

  • Carpet: Carpeting can release VOCs from adhesives, backing materials, and fibers. It can also trap allergens and dust, making it difficult to keep clean.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl flooring, also known as PVC flooring, can release phthalates, which are linked to reproductive and developmental issues.
  • Laminate: Laminate flooring can release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, from the adhesives used to hold the layers together.
  • Hardwood: While hardwood flooring is generally considered a healthier option than some other materials, it can still release VOCs from finishes and adhesives.

How to Choose Healthier Flooring Options?

Fortunately, there are many healthier flooring options available that can help improve indoor air quality. Here are some tips to keep in mind when selecting flooring for your home or office:

Look for low-VOC or VOC-free options: Many flooring manufacturers now offer products that are low in VOCs or free of them altogether. In addition, look for certifications such as GREENGUARD or FloorScore, which indicate that the product has been tested for VOC emissions.

  • Choose natural materials: Natural materials such as hardwood, bamboo, cork, and linoleum are generally healthier options than synthetic materials like vinyl and laminate. These materials are often more sustainable as well.
  • Avoid carpeting: If possible, avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Instead, choose area rugs made from natural materials such as wool or cotton. These can be easily cleaned and removed if necessary.
  • Opt for unfinished or low-VOC finishes: If you do choose hardwood flooring, look for unfinished options or finishes that are low in VOCs. This will help reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air.
  • Consider installation: The way that flooring is installed can also have an impact on indoor air quality. For example, glue-down installation can release more VOCs than click-and-lock installation.

In addition to these tips, it’s also important to keep your flooring clean and well-maintained. Regular vacuuming and mopping can help remove dust and other pollutants from your floors, and using non-toxic cleaning products can help prevent the buildup of harmful chemicals.


The type of flooring you choose can significantly impact the air quality in your home or office. While some materials can release harmful pollutants, many healthier options are available. Choose low-VOC or VOC-free products, natural materials, and unfinished or low-VOC finishes. This way, you can help improve indoor air quality and create a healthier environment for yourself and those around you. Remember also to consider installation methods and maintenance when selecting flooring options. With a little bit of research and effort, you can make a positive impact. It will have a positive effect on your indoor air quality and overall health.

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