This is the most complete guide on the query ‘is vinyl flooring toxic?’ where we will discuss everything you need to know.
This is a process that many people assume is straightforward, but actually, there are a lot of things to consider when you’re looking for the right flooring for your home.
Floors that contain dangerous or toxic compounds are not commonplace, and this is the thing that you should avoid at all costs.
Flooring containing toxic compounds can be a major cause of indoor air pollution, which is becoming a huge health danger for people all over the world.
Indoor air pollution has been implicated in a large number of deaths and health problems, although most people aren’t aware that it’s a possibility.
As a result, it is now more critical than ever to ensure that the flooring you select for your house does not have an adverse effect on your overall health.
It’s understandable that you might be concerned about the safety of having vinyl flooring in your home, given how popular it is among homebuyers.
We want to address all of your concerns about the safety of the vinyl floor in this guide on ‘is vinyl flooring toxic?’, so you can make an educated decision about whether or not to install it in your home.
About Vinyl Flooring
In recent years, vinyl flooring has been increasingly popular since it is exceptionally durable and inexpensive as well as incredibly simple to put in place and quite easy to clean.
Many people mistake vinyl for other flooring types, such as laminate. We’ll explain the differences between vinyl and laminate in a moment.
Vinyl floor is a terrific option for many people since it is a highly adaptable material that can withstand the craziest of household conditions.
Because they often replicate other flooring styles, such as real wood or stone tiling, they are also excellent options.
This implies that vinyl flooring may be used in a wide range of areas, and it’s a lot easier to install and a simple cleaning process than laminate. You may want to know a few facts about vinyl flooring before you get started.
When compared to other forms of flooring, vinyl is far less expensive while still providing a fairly similar aesthetic because of the wide range of design options. It’s an excellent option for folks on a tight budget, and it’ll still look wonderful for decades. You can also check out our guide on installing vinyl flooring on stairs.
Difference Between Laminate & Vinyl Flooring
Real wood can be found in laminate flooring, while vinyl flooring is wholly synthetic. As a result, laminate flooring is more susceptible to moisture damage and should be treated as such.
For those who like the look of real wood, laminate is a better choice than vinyl, which is more of a facsimile of the real thing.
Benefits Of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl floor is a popular choice for residential flooring since it is a more cost-effective choice.
As a result of its lower price and the fact that it will not be damaged by things like water, it is a more cost-effective option than most other flooring options.
It is also available in a wide range of textures, colors, and patterns so that it may be used in any room. The fact that this flooring comes in sheets or rolls makes installation a breeze. Vinyl Flooring Poses a Number of Perils
SVOCs, or semi-volatile organic compounds, have recently been linked to health problems in youngsters, according to a new study.
PBDEs are flame retardant chemicals found in the cushions of sofas, and researchers found that children who lived in households with sofas that included PBDEs in the cushions had sixfold greater concentrations of this material in their blood.
Exposure to PBDEs has been linked to a number of health problems, including:
- neurodevelopmental delays
- endocrine and thyroid disruption
Adding flame retardants to foam furniture does not work, according to a study published in Environmental Science and Technology in 2012.
Even if the foam is treated with flame retardants, the cover cloth will still catch fire. Fire retardants do not lessen the severity of a fire or provide a longer escape time, according to the findings of the study’s authors.
The following substances have been recognized as flame retardants:
- California in 2011 classified chlorinated Tris (TDCPP) as a carcinogen.
- As a result of its toxicity and longevity in the environment, PBDE has been globally outlawed.
- In one animal study, the Firemaster 550 was connected to fat and anxiety.
Individual children may experience different consequences from exposure to PBDE at higher levels than those found in people; however, animal studies have indicated neurobehavioral impacts, impaired thyroid function, and alterations in reproductive hormones.
In general, children who have had a larger number of exposures are more likely to suffer from these consequences than those who have had a lower number.
Owning furniture that does not have TB117 tags exposes you to the risk of infection. Flame retardants were identified in 60 percent of foam samples that did not bear the TB117 mark, according to researchers.
Importance Of Fire Retardants
North American exposure to PBDEs is a distinct challenge. In 1975, “Technical Bulletin 117” was passed by the state of California.
Foam-filled furniture had to be able to endure the exposure to flame without catching fire for at least 12 seconds under the law.
Concerns about the flammability of the foam trumped any concerns about the impact of the chemicals.
Manufacturers were pushed to include flame retardants in furniture sold in the United States because producing furniture specifically for sale in California was too expensive.
USC SEC published a notice in the Federal Register in September 2017 stating that there is several scientific evidence about how flame retardants pose a public health risk.
Is Vinyl Flooring Toxic?
Beyond the standard PVC material, various compounds are used in the vinyl plank flooring manufacturing process.
The finished flooring product’s particular features, including sheen, color, flexibility, and hardness, can be enhanced by the use of certain chemicals throughout the manufacturing process. If you’re dealing with unwanted scratches and want to get rid of them then you can check this guide on it.
Vinyl has been linked to a number of major health problems, including skin inflammation, neurological disorders, cancer, and respiratory troubles.
Vinyl flooring is a health hazard due to this. The toxicity of vinyl flooring is raised by some of these chemicals, as explained below.
To make vinyl material more flexible, the organic compounds known as phthalates are utilized. Phthalates can account for as much as 60% of the product weight.
In animal studies, PVC industrial softeners have been linked to lung, liver, and kidney damage, as well as other health issues. There’s also the possibility that animals’ reproductive functions may be hampered.
When it comes to vinyl flooring, the plasticizers aren’t just restricted to the planks. What most research has tried to uncover is this risk.
PVC plasticizers can migrate, leach, or evaporate into the interior air and accumulate in home dust since they are not chemically connected to vinyl.
So, they are more dangerous to youngsters, pets, seniors, and even women who are pregnant. Inhalation, dermal exposure, and ingestion can all lead to general contamination.
It’s no surprise, then, that children who crawl and pick items up on the harmful vinyl floors are the ones most at risk from the toxic phthalates.
Exposure to phthalates and asthma have been linked in recent epidemiological research. Phthalates have been linked to asthma and inflammation in youngsters.
As a result of that study, children born to moms who were exposed to phthalates on the vinyl floor and other items during pregnancy are more likely to develop allergic asthma. Aside from breastfeeding, there is also a chance of exposure.
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How Long Vinyl Flooring Emits Gas
What is the term “off-gassing” used to describe? What do you think of the scent? It’s called off-gassing when a chemical is released from the vinyl flooring in the form of vaporized odor.
You can do air-quality testing that includes on-site inspections and chamber tests or sampling to determine if the flooring installation is safe.
Nevertheless, for how long has vinyl flooring continued to emit gaseous emissions? Extreme off-gassing occurs in the first few weeks following installation.
Ventilation, the number of various chemicals discharged (based on the chemicals employed), and the installation area all play a role.
When it comes to indoor flooring, the pace and impact may be long-lasting than when it’s installed outside.
However, small-scale off-gassing can last for months or years, depending on the surrounding conditions. According to EPA research, indoor pollution levels are five times greater and even more harmful than those seen in outdoor environments with vinyl floors.
Your home may be filled with harmful gases and odors from the VOCs used in the production process of vinyl flooring, which can be dangerous.
Levels Of Toxin
But it is worth noting that the harmful compounds in contemporary vinyl plank floor chips may not be concentrated enough to provide a risk of toxic exposure.
Consumers Union research included testing for the occurrence of hazardous chemicals in wipe samples taken from vinyl flooring.
Tests were also carried out on the air and floor. Despite the presence of phthalates, the researchers found no evidence of hazardous levels of exposure in their findings.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Vinyl may emit varying levels of VOCs in the air after installation due to the materials used in its production. As well as potentially causing respiratory difficulties, the chemicals used in these devices have the potential to degrade the air quality in the area where they are installed.
There are a number of factors that influence the amount of VOC emissions, including the quality of materials used and how long it has been since the first installation.
Always get vinyl flooring from a reputable manufacturer that employs high-quality materials if you’re concerned about these consequences. After installation, keep the area well ventilated for a few days or weeks.
About Luxury Vinyl Planks
Most vinyl producers now use processes to produce vinyl planks with very low-VOCs, and the bulk of it is now phthalate-free, thanks to an increase in safety regulations and technological breakthroughs.
How To Understand The Toxic Vinyl Flooring
Some businesses no longer use harmful materials in the production of vinyl flooring. As a result of this development, the market for enterprises that manufacture dangerous floors is no longer safe.
The Home Depot corporation is a wonderful example of a company that chooses to avoid carcinogens in vinyl flooring manufacturing.
However, how can you tell which vinyl floors are less hazardous? In order to make the most of your purchasing experience, consider the following suggestions:
It’s always a plus to be able to trace the origins of the vinyl planks you buy. Many consumer products on the market had a toxicity issue a few years ago.
As of 2020, the majority of vinyl floor manufacturers will be making their goods phthalate-free in order to preserve the health of their customers and the environment.
Doubt can arise about the quality of products offered by your preferred vendor. When shopping for vinyl flooring, choose a brand that has a reputation for producing high-quality products.
When you’re building your home, it’s a good idea to get the opinion of a professional engineer who can help you make an informed purchase.
Because no two vinyl flooring brands use a similar amount of chemicals, you should always keep this in mind.
Despite the fact that some companies don’t utilize harmful ingredients to produce their floors, others are still selling items that are detrimental.
Ask your suppliers and experts about the materials used on the floor and where they should be installed.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Toxic organic compounds might be released by your vinyl floors once they are installed in your home. It happens as soon as you put them down.
Most of these substances can have a negative impact on your home’s air quality and lead to respiratory issues over time.
VOCs have a direct correlation in the air to the quality of vinyl flooring. After you’ve installed the vinyl planks in your home, you’ll know if they’re harmful.
There is a noticeable difference in air quality between the dangerous vinyl planks and the safe original vinyl planks, even after they have been installed.
Remember to get your products from an established source if the toxin levels in these compounds are too much of an issue for you to handle.
In order to minimize your exposure to these VOCs, consult your planner for the best recommendations on what to buy.
Keep in mind that the first few days after you’ve moved them in, you’ll want to give them plenty of room to breathe.
The PVC Softeners Quantity
Check the phthalate content before purchasing any vinyl planks from a manufacturer. Remember that these items are beneficial for enhancing the vinyl product’s appearance.
It’s common knowledge that these organic components are used to create vinyl that is plush and weighty, enticing you to purchase it.
People nowadays choose vinyl boards that have less or no softening of PVC. Wiping materials can also be used to get a wipe sample and tested in a lab to check how many dangerous compounds are in the materials; this is an option worth considering.
In this way, you can determine whether or not the planks are hazardous to your health. These softeners are no longer used in the production of vinyl floors by companies like Home Depot.
What do you need to do next? Pick up a few of their wares! According to EPA customer testimonies, these things influence your body as they do to the environment around you.
Children born to women who live in homes with these flooring are more likely to develop allergic asthma, according to research.
It also exposes youngsters while they are nursing. Is this something you want for your own family? In that case, steer clear of vinyl planks containing softeners.
This may not be of much use to you, but it is very necessary. Yes, the vinyl planks will eventually fade, but the poison level will be evident.
As a result, the darker your planks become, the worse the air quality in your surroundings becomes. In most situations, UV radiation is to blame for the loss of color, but only vinyl flooring materials are affected.
Aside from that, if you choose to install the vinyl floor in a room that receives direct sunlight but still experiences the sun’s effects, it proves to be harmful.
By putting the floor in a location that gets a lot of sunlight, you can tell if it’s safe to walk on. Yes, it will speed up the fading process, but if it takes a while before the vinyl loses its primary color, you’ll know it’s still good to use.
Alternatives For Vinyl Flooring
Even as more people become aware of the hazards of vinyl flooring, there is still a number of superior flooring solutions available.
So, do you have concerns about the safety of vinyl plank flooring? No need to be alarmed! Here are a few tasty and better-for-you options that will also enhance the aesthetics of your home.
Among the many flooring options available to Perth residents, carpet is by far the most popular option. However, many carpets contain VOCs, such as formaldehyde, benzene, and stain repellents, which can harm indoor air quality. However, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid all carpet flooring.
When it comes to non-toxic, easy-to-clean flooring, ceramic tile stands head and shoulders above the rest. Just ask about the safety of the grout and ventilation procedures followed during installation, along with any other materials that can produce harmful vapors.
Wood flooring is the greatest option if you suffer from allergies. Because wood is made entirely of natural components, there is no need to be concerned about the potential health consequences of any flooring chemicals.
Hardwood flooring is also simple to put in your home. Make sure you use a non-toxic sealer and be cautious with the finishing.
Instead of using vinyl planks, this is the finest option. Linseed oil is the only synthetic component, so you can rest assured that it is safe to use.
In addition to flaxseed oil, linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, and rosin, linoleum is comprised of all-natural and biodegradable elements such as linseed oil, a natural product produced from flax seeds, and other sustainable components.
When purchasing it, you can rest certain that it is safe for your and your family’s health because it contains no chemicals. Linoleum is more expensive than vinyl plank flooring, but it’s easier to install than vinyl planks.
Laminate flooring has a core comprised of 99 percent wood byproducts bonded with resins, unlike vinyl flooring. It has a similar structure to vinyl in terms of layers, with a base underlay, design, core layer, and wears layer, and a polyurethane coating to seal it off.
The problem with laminate flooring is the adhesives that are used to attach it to the subfloor. Most adhesives contain chemicals such as isocyanates, formaldehyde, and aluminum oxide.
To sum up, vinyl plank floors aren’t all that hazardous unless you’re exposed to them for an extended period of time.
In addition, vinyl floors that are free of phthalates and other harmful ingredients are now the norms in the flooring industry. We hope this guide on ‘is vinyl flooring toxic?’ was helpful and provided every information you needed to know.
As a result, there is no need to be concerned about purchasing them. As far as safety is concerned, ensure that your home’s indoor air quality is good after laying vinyl floors. Viny plank floors can also be replaced with alternatives.
Jenny SteffensHobick is the full-time editor responsible for painting, flooring, bathrooms & home climate coverage at House Whirl. She is a home improvement expert with an eye for design and the skills to get the work done. She knows what turns a house into a home and has the advice and ideas to make upgrades easy and fun.