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Buying A Green Floor: Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes

Eco-friendly green flooring solutions are buzzing, as we can see today. The message is a good one and we should all take notice. However, as often happens, some of the products that you are being advised to buy may not be as eco-friendly as you may think. Bamboo flooring falls in this category, not because it’s growing and the harvesting damages the environment, but because the products that are needed to produce and fit bamboo floors can actually be quite dangerous.

Add to these problems that you may not have budgeted enough to install your bamboo floors, don’t have the right tools to do the floor installation yourself, or hire an inferior floor installation company, you could find yourself in great trouble.

So, read these handy tips to do the job right from start to finish. If you follow this checklist, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars and also avoid the risk of releasing toxins in your home.


The sales pitch

When you look at flooring options as you visit the retailers or the manufacturers’ showrooms, you will be met with the constant claim that the flooring you are considering is “green” in all ways by the sales person. But the green terminology has been so overused that it has practically been rendered worthless. As an average consumer, how are you able to discern that the bamboo flooring you are considering is really green? The answer to this is to do your homework carefully and be ready to deal with the flooring sales person on equal terms. Here are some rules and standards to help you to arm yourself ready for the sales pitch.

Standards and certificates

When you enter the showroom, you should check out the bamboo flooring on offer. You have seen a bamboo floor that interests you. Now you need to ask the sales staff to tell you of its IAQ level. IAQ? Well, this is the indoor air quality and it relates directly to the emission of urea formaldehyde, sounds unpleasant? Yes, it can be.

So what are considered to be acceptable IAQ levels? The answer depends on which country that you live in and in the United States which state you live in. IAQ level measures the emission of urea formaldehyde that is a proven carcinogen, AKA harmful if too high. The CARB2 that stands for the Californian Resource Board 2012 set the standards for IAQ rules.

Rapidly, the adoption of the IAQ measurement standard was taken up in Europe under the title E0 as the highest standard. Now if the sales person objects to you being too smart, respond by explaining that you know that phenol formaldehyde is not toxic and can be used as a suitable substitute for urea formaldehyde but it is far more expensive. It is used extensively in high end furniture and cabinetry construction and the manufacturing of marine grade plywood.

The flooring contains the formaldehyde

Next, it is time to impress and annoy the salesperson again. As you will explain, most flooring made of bamboo or other woods naturally contains formaldehyde. Not only woods but, in fact, many vegetables and fruits contain it naturally. Now you have to move to the key point and the essential question: So how much of urea formaldehyde is contained in the adhesives and finishes? If you get an answer, ask the sales person to prove it. Do the flooring manufacturers have any certificates to back up the claims? These will need to be shown to verify the authenticity of any claims that are being made, as most bamboo, but not all contains some degrees of urea formaldehyde.

Selling the lie in the 1990s

25 years ago, bamboo flooring was sold as the best thing since sliced bread. The market was told that the bamboo flooring breaking into the market came with no off-gassing toxic ingredients. Back in 1998, there was no way to prove whether this remarkable claim was right or wrong. So for the next three years, the bamboo flooring was embraced by users and the market and all went well for the manufacturers and resellers. Then trouble started as sensitive customers started complaining of strange health problems that their medics diagnosed as off-gassing.

Rapidly, it was decided that these complaints were genuine and the only way to get to the heart of the problem was to go to the Chinese factories and production centers to find out how bamboo flooring was actually made. All became clear during the factory inspection, the glue drums contained such a toxic substance that the inspectors practically fainted when they sniffed the substance in its drums.

Fast forward to today and the situation has been drastically improved. Bamboo flooring, from the best suppliers is made with Teragren and Eco Timber production methods that deliver either very little or zero formaldehyde and best of all, they are produced using sustainable harvesting. If you want the safest and best quality bamboo flooring in Mississauga, visit us at Aspen Wood Floors. Now, that’s a real promise!

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