Vinyl plank flooring has become a popular choice for homeowners due to its affordability, durability, and ease of installation. However, a common concern with vinyl flooring is off gassing, which is the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. VOCs are chemicals that can have adverse effects on indoor air quality and human health. In this article, we will explore the topic of vinyl plank flooring off gassing and provide insight into how to prevent it from affecting your home.
Before we dive into the specifics of vinyl plank flooring off gassing, let’s first understand what VOCs are and where they come from. VOCs are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids, such as building materials, furnishings, and cleaning products. They can have short-term and long-term health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, and even cancer in some cases. In addition, VOCs can contribute to poor indoor air quality, which can exacerbate respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies.
What is Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Vinyl plank flooring is a type of synthetic flooring that mimics the look of hardwood or tile. It is made of multiple layers, including a backing layer, a core layer, a printed design layer, and a wear layer. The wear layer is a protective coating that makes the flooring resistant to scratches, stains, and wear and tear. Vinyl plank flooring is typically installed as a floating floor, meaning it is not glued down to the subfloor but instead interlocks with adjacent pieces. This makes it an easy and cost-effective DIY project for homeowners.
What Causes Vinyl Plank Flooring Off Gassing?
The primary cause of vinyl plank flooring off gassing is the adhesives and additives used in the manufacturing process. Vinyl flooring often contains phthalates, which are chemicals used to make the flooring more flexible and durable. Phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with hormone production and regulation in humans and animals. In addition, vinyl flooring can contain other VOCs such as formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. These chemicals can be released into the air over time, especially in areas with high temperatures and humidity.
How to Prevent Vinyl Plank Flooring Off Gassing
Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to prevent vinyl plank flooring off gassing and maintain good indoor air quality:
- Choose low-VOC vinyl flooring: Look for vinyl flooring that is certified by third-party organizations such as FloorScore or GREENGUARD, which test for VOC emissions. These certifications indicate that the flooring has met strict standards for indoor air quality.
- Air out the space: If you are installing new vinyl flooring, open windows and use fans to ventilate the space. This will help to dissipate any VOCs that are released during the installation process.
- Use an air purifier: An air purifier with a HEPA filter can help to remove VOCs from the air. Place the purifier in the room with the vinyl flooring and run it continuously for several days to reduce off gassing.
- Maintain proper humidity levels: High humidity can exacerbate off gassing, so it is important to maintain proper humidity levels in your home. Use a dehumidifier if necessary to keep humidity levels below 60%.
The Bottom Line
Vinyl plank flooring off gassing can be a concern for homeowners, but there are steps you can take to prevent it from affecting your indoor air quality. By choosing low-VOC vinyl flooring, airing out the space during installation, using an air purifier, and maintaining proper humidity levels, you can enjoy the benefits of vinyl flooring without compromising your health.