Buying Safe and Healthy Flooring

Healthier flooring options include:

  • Natural linoleum;
  • Pre-finished solid and engineered wood; and
  • U.S.-made ceramic tile.

Here are some other flooring recommendations:

  • If vinyl flooring containing PVC is the only option cost-wise, avoid vinyl products that use recycled content and ask for the phthalate-free options.
  • It is best to avoid flooring products with antimicrobials, flame retardants, and water- and stain-repellency.
  • Aim to install “floating” flooring, which does not require use of adhesives. Floating flooring is readily available for laminate, vinyl, and engineered wood flooring and often is cost comparable.
  • When adhesives are necessary, choose products that have a no-added formaldehyde (NAF) certification. If this is not possible, look for other certifications such as ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) or no-added urea formaldehyde (NAUF). These products have passed the California Air Resources Board standards and are certified by an approved third-party certifier. Also look for adhesives that are labeled “No VOC” or “Low VOC”; generally these will be water-based solutions.
  • Laminate flooring and engineered wood also can contain formaldehyde. Similar to adhesives, look for products that have ULEF or NAF certifications.
  • When given the option between pre-finished and unfinished hardwood or engineered wood, it is best to go with pre-finished so that off-gassing will occur at the factory and not in your home.