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Question DetailsAsked on 3/8/2017

where to find virgin vinyl floor planks - no formaldehyde,no chemicals, no alumium oxide finish, phthalate free

replacing dinning room floor

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1 Answer


No such thing - wood laminates will have solvents in the glue as well as the glue normally being a volatile chamical as well - whereas vinyls may not have formaldehyde but certinaly have palsticizers and solvents as well as commonly outgassing significant amounts of vinyl chloride and phthalates and other intermediate plastic compounds, and of course "vinyl" is 100% chemical itself.

So if you are real worried about solvents and chemical fumes and such, beyond just closing off the area from the rest of the house and airing it out well for a week or two before use of a new floor or opening up the packages in the garage (unless that is where forced air furnace intake is) or such and letting them air there for a month or more, you are limited to totally natural fiber flooring mats and such - or true wood planks.

There has been a lot of hype about aluminum oxide as a hazard - but other than in high exposure in industrial settings (commonly sandblasting and very dusty metallurgy operations where it can cause lung diseases in long-term chronic exposure to high dust levels), I have seen and in a quick search of materials safety resources could find no credible evidence of it being a hazard, and the materials safety sheets and CDC and OSHA and such have found zero hazard from it other than from high levels of inhalation in work environments.

The aluminum oxide finish (typically mixed into urethane coating) of course outgasses urethane and paint or laquer thinner. The aluminum oxide is a wear resistant granular mineral additive to the clear finish. If finishing true sanded wood floors from scratch you can use a varnish or urethane without that component, but aluminum oxide is quite inert - probably about the last comstituent one would worry about in a flooring product. (And if worried about that you probably don't want to hear that probably pretty much every flooring product other than natural wood or natural fiber mats has it in it - along with virtually all house paints). Aluminum oxide is the abrasive used in the black or dark gray sandpaper and is pretty similar to sand in its characteristics - non-volatile, pretty much inert - probably not more hazardous than the dust that tracks and blows into your house. And if you are worried about aluminum oxide exposure be sure not to ever walk on sand or beaches, especially dark sand ones, because that has a lot more aluminum oxide than your flooring finish.

And don't think bamboo - bamboo flooring is basically a glue-saturated grass product, with typically much higher outgassing of known potentially hazardous materials than almost any other type of flooring - not to mention as a flooring product it is just a plain bad choice. I have seen all too many people rip it back out within weeks or months because of cracking, dusting, fiber spinoff, warping, splintering prevent walking around without shoes, etc.

If you want to avoid all solvents and such, go with pure wood flooring without any sort of finish, like in teh 1800'sw - and plan on sanding it real frequently - and maintain excellent control or spills on the table or put a protective layer under the table, and keep good thick pads on the chairs to avoid scratching the wood, because natural wood in a dining room is asking for high maintenance due to chair and foot scratches (especially as they tend to bea always in the same place unless you routinely move the table around), and of course staining from food/liquids and wet/snowy shoes of people who go straight from outdoors to the table when called to dinner.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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