Allergy-Friendly Flooring

Five Top Options that Reduce Symptoms

By Tammy Titus

If you’re one of 50 million Americans who has allergies, you’re probably well-aware of the daily struggles involved in managing symptoms. Depending on the type of allergy and the sensitivity, you might have to double check the ingredients of even the most innocent foods or avoid certain types of clothes due to the materials they’re made of. However, the one thing you might not have thought to check is your flooring. Flooring can make the difference between a fresh breath of air in the morning or seemingly unexplained chronic congestion. Read on for five top flooring options that are friendly to those with allergies.

Hardwood Flooring

For allergy sufferers, there are few choices better than hardwood flooring. In addition to being easy to maintain, aesthetically pleasing, and durable, hardwood floors lack the allergen-trapping fibers found in carpet. Hardwood floors can also increase the value of one’s home, and that’s a nice added extra, too.

Cork

If the idea of hardwood flooring just isn’t appealing to you, consider cork. Cork flooring is an adaptable alternative for those who’d like the benefits of hardwood flooring but are looking for something a little different. Due to the antimicrobial presence of Suberin, cork tends to be extremely resistant to a host of allergens, like mold, mildew, and fungi. Cork is also extremely easy to mop, adding to its overall value. And for those of us concerned about the health of the planet, cork is an excellent, environmentally friendly flooring choice.

Tile

Like hardwood, tile flooring is a hard, flat, easy to clean option for those with allergies. Common allergens, such as dust mites and pollen, are a problem of the past with tile since these allergens can’t penetrate the outer surface. Additionally, tile is extremely water resistant, perfect for people allergic to allergens that thrive in damp environments, like mold or mildew. When picking the material of the tile flooring, there are some considerations to keep in mind, however. While ceramic tiles are flat and smooth, more uneven materials, like natural stone, might even exacerbate allergies by snagging and trapping allergens, creating an even bigger headache.

Linoleum

While many people confuse linoleum with vinyl, for people with allergies, the two are as different as night and day. Unlike vinyl, which is based in petroleum, linoleum is made from linseed oil. This means not only is linoleum more durable than vinyl, but it is also eco-friendly. Furthermore, linoleum has the added benefit of being a long-lasting flooring – in many cases, linoleum can last as long as 30 to 40 years without major renovations.

Carpets with Natural Fibers

Even though we’ve already mentioned that carpet isn’t the best choice for those with allergies, if you must have it, there are options. Carpets made from natural fibers, unlike those of synthetic materials, are much less likely to aggravate allergies. Sources of natural fibers include wool, jute, and cotton. However, carpet, due to its very nature, will trap some allergens like dust. If you go this route, vacuum frequently and deep clean once or twice a year to minimize the number of allergens trapped.


About the Author:

Tammy Titus is the owner of Kemper Carpet & Flooring, a leading, woman-owned company serving homeowners in the Washington Metro area. For additional information, visit KemperCarpet.com and its two showrooms in Fairfax and Gainesville (next to Wegmans). 

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