Green building, LEED certification, and sustainability are great objectives to anyone considering building a home. But at the end of the day, they are the ones who are going to be living in the home. At Cardoza Flooring, we find that the number one environmental concern that homeowners have is finding low VOC flooring products.
There is good reason to be concerned. Indoor air can be 5 to 10 times more toxic than outdoor air. What’s more, the average person spends 90% of their life indoors. What may seem an insignificant amount of VOC in the air, over time can cause health problems. With regards to flooring – and most building products – the main culprit is formaldehyde.
While the EPA is slow in getting to regulate the amount of off-gassing formaldehyde that is safe for home construction, fortunately, the state of California has not waited for the EPA. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has set benchmarks limiting the presence of this volatile organic compound. In 2009, they set the limit at 0.08 ppm. This is referred to as “CARB phase I.” In 2011, they lowered the threshold level to 0.05 ppm. This is referred to as “CARB phase II.” CARB II is 15.5 times lower than the federal guidelines as determined by OSHA (0.775).
Cardoza flooring only sells flooring products that meet or exceed CARB II standards. All of our suppliers are subject to third-party inspections that enforce CARB II.
Even with CARB II regulation in place, there are many folks who have to drill down deeper in their low VOC flooring product choices because of chemical sensitivity issues. At Cardoza, we are happy to accommodate these customers with an expanded line of eco-friendly flooring products.
Engineered hardwood flooring – and more specifically, Bamboo flooring – is the best choice for minimizing VOC’s in new home construction. We recommend limiting carpet in a chemically sensitive person’s home – but, if it must be installed, wool is the best choice. Resilient flooring manufacturers have been at the forefront of limiting formaldehyde in their manufacturing process. As with any flooring that requires adhesive, we recommend using a phenol-formaldehyde based adhesive instead of the standard urea-formaldehyde type. It adds a bit to the cost of the installation, but it is virtually VOC-free. An alternative to adhesive is a floating floor or the many varieties of “lock-in-place” flooring now available to see in Cardoza’s showroom.
We are very excited about our new line of “smart floor” introduced in 2015: Pure Genius® flooring from Lauzon Distinctive Hardwood Flooring. With a patented titanium dioxide finish, Lauzon flooring pulls formaldehyde and VOCs out of the air. According to the manufacturer, this flooring is “photocatalytic” – that is, it’s activated by natural or artificial light and by the movement of air, continuously breaking down airborne toxins, creating a constant supply of pure air in the home.
In independent studies, Lauzon claims that the air in rooms installed with Pure Genius is up to 85 percent cleaner than spaces without the flooring. Other studies show that after only 30 days, rooms installed with Pure Genius flooring have a formaldehyde level of only 5 ppb, as compared to 16-32.5 ppb found in a typical home. Pure Genius flooring also helps reduce household odors such as cigarette smoke, pet urine, and lingering cooking smells.
We think this is exciting. Flooring that actually filters the air! At Cardoza Flooring, we stay on the cutting edge of flooring technology in order to provide the best solution for our customer’s needs – no matter what they are!
Pure Genius is a registered trademark of Lauzon Corporation.