Thinking about gas emissions in flooring and other building materials

Hey Good People – Rob here.

Here’s a great article about gas emissions in building products as published in the Globe & Mail by local hero Mike Holmes (of Holmes on Homes fame to you Canadian readers…). Holmes knows a thing or two about building materials and building codes too. The article is great resource in terms of how to go about actually buying materials that are free of off-gassing compounds. This is an important component when you’re looking to undertake a green building project.

Air quality is an important issue of course. And the article here argues that buying materials that have the most natural elements – like solid hardwood flooring for instance – tend to be great choices for residential and commercial surfaces. This type of thing is a pretty hot topic right now, and bears a lot of discussion. After all, as the flooring industry progresses the minimization of off-gassing in pre-finished solid hardwood, laminate flooring, bamboo flooring, and even in tile, a lot of other industries are not held to the same standards. Much like the issue of green building materials, there are competing standards out there which tend to fragment the market in terms of which one should be held as the standard of standards.

I think there is also a tendency these days to push the panic button on a lot of this kind of stuff too before really doing the research. Often, very little attention paid to a greater perspective when it comes to thinking about a healthy and safe environment. Where I think it’s a good idea to be smart about the things we buy, and to think about our health a little more, it’s also important to remember just how powerful fear can be when used by the media. Just a little food for thought there. What do you think, good people?

One thing the article does talk about which is a particularly good idea is to keep the lines of communication open between contractor and client. This is just good practice in general. But if air quality is a concern, it’s a great idea to get the question of outgassing on your list of questions. When it comes time to choosing products, the contractor is a great resource to make sure you’ve got a basis for making the best choice you can for flooring and other building materials.

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