Is Laminate Flooring Toxic? [Everything You Need To Know]
Are you looking for a solution to your query “is laminate flooring toxic?” then you have landed on the right page where you have prepared a comprehensive guide on it.
Floor renovation is a crucial part of home improvement. A properly designed floor not only takes care of the appeal of the home but also adds to the value and durability.
Therefore, experts recommend understanding all qualities of a flooring material before making the final investment. Laminate flooring is one of the most popular options when it comes to flooring materials.
The appearance and feel of a laminate floor are unrivaled. Also, it requires less maintenance, it has tons of options, it is durable and highly appealing, and you may find a lot more if you search on the internet about the advantages of laminate flooring.
However, there is a catch. There are many studies that came up with the safety around laminate flooring. Surprised? The material itself and the making of the same has made the safety questionable.
Why is the craze then? If the material is toxic and can harm people, why do people are crazy about laminate flooring? Well, we are going to answer everything in this article on your query “is laminate flooring toxic?” so that you can take care of the air quality of your home along with having an appealing floor.
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Is Laminate Flooring Toxic? Explained In Brief
Flooring made out of laminate is a health hazard. Wood is glued together to form laminate flooring, and the adhesives used to do so are hazardous to both humans and animals.
Formaldehyde, a melamine resin, and a formaldehyde resin are commonly found on laminates. Additionally, it contains aluminum oxide, isocyanates, and cyanuric acid.
Formaldehyde is a primary component of laminate flooring; thus, there is no way to avoid exposure to the toxin. However, if you buy wisely, you may minimize your exposure and risk of exposure to unsafe levels of this component.
Laminate flooring manufactured in accordance with industry standards is safe and does not pose a health risk. Some businesses are known to produce laminate flooring in large quantities without knowing the consequences. You should be wary of these firms.
Be careful of any of the following flooring businesses. To make the healthiest choice possible when shopping for laminate flooring, you should also take a few more precautions and think about how the flooring was made. You might be interested to read about baseboard and laminate floor caulking.
Unique Selling Points
A company’s selling points aren’t always a sham. As is often the case with laminate flooring manufacturers, customer service is more than simply a marketing ploy.
These supplier options that include customer health as a selling factor usually do so because they really do everything in their capabilities to avoid toxins. This is an example of a customer health-focused option.
Making Of Laminate Flooring
With HDF as its main component, laminate flooring comprises four layers. It’s created from compressed wood fibers collected from wood chips.
There is a wide range of HDF core properties that vary with the quality of the floor, such as its resistance, density, thickness, and moisture resistance. Bathrooms and kitchens, along with other wet spaces, benefit significantly from the additional moisture resistance.
You’ll want a thick HDF core if you want durable laminate floors for your bathroom and kitchen. An HDF core with a greater density will also guard against chips and breaks if this is what you are looking for.
There is a paper that acts as a protective layer beneath this HDF core, preventing warping or swelling of the laminate if it is not adequately or not at all balanced.
When the balance paper is used, it acts as an additional barrier against moisture. If you’re looking for a long-lasting and sturdy laminate, make sure it contains the balance paper at its base.
Finally, on the laminate flooring’s topside, the HDF panel is completed with decorative paper, which is what makes it look like a real piece of wood.
It is almost never made of natural wood but rather a thin decorative sheet. Paper-based sheets that exhibit a variety of colors, designs, and patterns are used to give your laminate its finished look.
There’s a lamination film on the entire surface, which explains its name. When shopping at the hardware store, you’ll likely notice things listed as either an abrasive class or “AC.”
In general, the higher a product’s surface resistance rating is, the better. With a more durable surface, these items also have their uses in professional settings. Are you frustrated with the water under vinyl plank flooring? Read this guide to dry it easily and effectively.
The Chemical Contents In Different Layers
The Inner-Most Layer
There are many layers of materials in laminate flooring. HDF is used to make the core layer, which we discussed earlier.
In order to keep the wood fibers together, this layer adheres to a wood bonding adhesive.
They have a wide variety of adhesives to choose from. For example, urea, phenol, melamine, or polyvinyl, acetate, or soy flour adhesives can all be used.
In high enough concentrations, these compounds will emit harmful chemical fumes that can harm both the health and air quality of your home.
This layer typically has the appearance of wood, although it isn’t. It’s just for show. Although the presence of many chemicals has not been proven, dye manufacturers, which are frequently utilized in the manufacture of these ornamental designs, are well-known for their aversion to harmful compounds.
We’ll now focus on the item’s upper surface, which is arguably the most challenging in terms of its chemical composition. Hard and durable resin is used to construct this portion of the laminate flooring.
‘Melamine resin’ is a common term used in product descriptions. In order for companies to be honest, they will not reveal what this melamine actually is.
As we already know, melamine-formaldehyde (MFA) is a toxin, and it is considered the most dangerous of all of them. An additional poison is used to harden the aluminum oxide. And don’t forget the glue that will hold all of these pieces together.
With the combination of adhesives, aluminum oxide, and formaldehyde making up the poisonous makeup, it’s no wonder safety around the material would be questioned.
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Formaldehyde & Adhesives
When it comes to laminate flooring adhesives, there are three primary options that include formaldehyde. In addition to these, there are urea-formaldehyde and phenol-formaldehyde.
To locate the lowest formaldehyde content in laminate flooring, you should look for phenol-formaldehyde adhesives on the internet. However, there is a drawback to this.
As a result, it is pretty expensive because of its dark hue and high processing requirements. However, if you’re prepared to spend the extra money on the higher charges, the laminate color may not be an issue.
When it comes to manufacturing, urea-formaldehyde is an ideal solution. Still, it is also the most toxic form of formaldehyde, which is why it is no longer permitted in the United States.
Urea-formaldehyde does not meet emissions testing criteria, unlike melamine-formaldehyde, which does. To put things in perspective, it produces an even higher level of emissions than urea-formaldehyde.
As a result, it is the most popular one. To minimize emissions, melamine is sometimes added to the formaldehyde resin used in the production of this product.’
In certain circumstances, however, the melamine released when the connection between these two sets apart might cause irreversible kidney damage, despite the fact that it is not classed as a carcinogen.
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Duration Of Laminate Flooring’s Gas Emission
It is estimated that a laminate floor will produce gas for a period of 10 years. Remember that the toxicity level of formaldehyde decreases over time, so keep that in mind.
Temperature, humidity, the amount of space available for airflow, and the quantity of ventilation in the floors and the area all affect the amount of gas emitted.
Formaldehyde emissions can stretch, flex, and warp as a result of high temperatures. You may wish to get an efficient and powerful air cooling system if you live in a hot environment, or if you haven’t decided on your flooring yet, you may want to consider tile or another flooring option that has lower toxicity levels.
Risks Of Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde and the consequences it leaves on health are frequently cited as causes of health problems associated with laminate wood flooring.
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring chemical, but when it is utilized in household products, it can still pose a risk to your health. The off-gassing from laminate flooring that contains formaldehyde can cause medical issues in your household if it is on the list.
You may have eye, skin, and throat discomfort even at low doses of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can cause an asthma attack on people who are prone to such attacks.
Young or old, anyone with respiratory conditions is at the most significant risk. Workers who have been exposed to high quantities of formaldehyde for an extended period are more likely to get certain types of cancer.
How To Test Formaldehyde
Tests can be performed on older laminate wood flooring. Since you’re unlikely to know the manufacturer or any other identifying criteria, it’s challenging to figure out if the old floor belongs to laminate flooring that contains formaldehyde.
If you’re worried about the formaldehyde content of your laminate flooring, you should get it tested. Only when you’re experiencing problems should you conduct testing.
If the chemical smell persists, you may want to check your home’s formaldehyde levels to discover how high they are. If you or a family member suffers from respiratory or skin irritations that are more prevalent in the house, you may want to consider a home health assessment.
Formaldehyde-related symptoms can be identified through testing. Keep this in mind if you have your house tested for formaldehyde levels. Finding the formaldehyde’s source also be a challenge.
Your home can be evaluated for a range of air issues, including mold development and other allergens, by a professional.
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CDC’s Intervention In Testing
Certain varieties of laminate flooring manufactured in China between the year 2012 to 2014 and sold in stores in the United States were examined by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
When it came to formaldehyde testing, the CPSC used the same floors that had some high toxins found during a previous inquiry into consumer product safety.
Formaldehyde levels in typical households with this laminate flooring were estimated by the CDC. We selected near-worst-case scenarios in the model to ensure that our conclusions and suggestions would be safe for the public.
Short-Term Effects On Health
All people can suffer from irritation and breathing difficulties, but youngsters, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma are more likely to experience these symptoms. Formaldehyde from other objects in the home might raise your risk of developing symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
Long-Term Effects On Health
Workers who have been exposed to formaldehyde for a long time of time have been linked to a variety of uncommon cancers. Laminate flooring assessed for formaldehyde exposure had a considerably lower and shorter duration than exposures linked to these malignancies.
However, your cancer risk rises with each new exposure to a cancer-causing substance. On the basis of the following factors, we calculated the increased lifetime cancer risk:
- Floors with high formaldehyde can be installed.
- For the past two years, I’ve been inhaling formaldehyde at this level in my home.
Reducing Exposure To Formaldehyde
To entirely prevent formaldehyde, it is present in the air we breathe both indoors as well as outdoors. As a result, you can reduce or increase the amount of formaldehyde in your home by paying attention to what you buy for your home. Even the most mundane objects in your home may be infected with the disease. Many home goods contain formaldehyde, including:
- Allow new wood flooring to air out in a sheltered area for a few days before installing it. Before being transported inside the house, formaldehyde will be able to exhale.
- To speed up any extra off-gassing, sufficient ventilation should be used after installation. As much as possible, open the windows, employ a central ventilation system, and run the exhaust fans.
- Air purifiers with activated carbon that remove formaldehyde from the air need to be installed. However, if formaldehyde is not eliminated, air cleaning will only provide short-term respite.
- To keep your house smoke-free, either quit smoking or limit yourself to smoking outside. A combination of formaldehyde from your floor and the formaldehyde from cigarette smoke can lead to an even higher level of toxicity in your home.
- If you want to preserve your laminate floorboards from warping or bending, you need to keep your home’s temperature and humidity levels low. This includes keeping air conditioning systems running, opening windows, and so on to make sure that the home is adequately ventilated and cooled.
Preventive Steps While Buying
You may also prevent toxicity when purchasing laminate floors by following the following simple tips:
- Laminate flooring that doesn’t need to be adhered to the subfloor, as it will use less formaldehyde in total.
- Make sure the laminate is printed using water-based ink before you use it.
- On product information, look for low or non-VOC emissions.
- Before purchasing, you can inquire about whether or not the floor has been deodorized by the manufacturer.
- Before installing the flooring, make sure to remove any lingering odors. The off-gases won’t enter your home if you store them in a garage or other area that is covered and sheltered from the weather.
If you are planning to put laminate floors over tile then you can check this detailed article.
Should You Remove Laminate Flooring?
Your laminate floor may have been put in years ago. This may already have lowered the toxin levels. If you are concerned about formaldehyde exposure, contact an expert for testing air quality.
Take a look at the results and consult a specialist for advice. Consider consulting an expert before removing new laminate flooring, which may boost the formaldehyde level even further.
If laminate were about everything terrible, people would not have gone for this option, neither would the manufacturers produce this material. If you take a close look at the contents and follow the preventive steps, you can minimize the risk.
The best thing you should do is not to come to any conclusion before studying everything about it. This blog will hopefully help you with this.
You should also counter the manufacturers about the contents and not compromise with the quality if you can get the material at an unexpectedly low price. In this case, you may end up inviting toxins to contaminate the air quality of your house.
There are many esteemed companies that sell laminate flooring. The price might be higher than many of the market manufacturers, but would you mind spending some extra money in exchange for the safety of your family members? We guess not.
Now, if you come to know about the toxins after installing laminated flooring at your home, get it tested by professionals. There are some regulations and standards that you must maintain to ensure the quality of the laminates.
Professional help would be best to serve this purpose. Therefore, do your research and figure out the best for your home. We hope this article on the doubt “Is Laminate Flooring Toxic?” was helpful for you.