There is a True Cost to Fake Wood Floors

The phrase “they don’t build houses like they used to” is typically spoken in reference to craftsmanship and attention to detail, but it can be taken quite literally in terms of building materials.

Building materials that used to be crafted from metal, concrete, cast iron and wood are now being made out of PVC plastic, which is made from vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen and has been in the news as of late due to a large spill that occurred in Ohio as the result of a train derailment. In short, it’s not a great thing to be exposed to.

The PVC product that we are most concerned with due to the line of business that we’re in is vinyl plank flooring. If you’ve been in any new construction home, office, restaurant or just about anywhere else in the last few years, you’ve probably walked on it. Vinyl plank flooring comes in a variety of colors and is made from digital scans of real wood to somewhat mimic the look of natural wood flooring. “Luxury Vinyl” has become the most popular flooring in America due to the low price, but it is very bad for workers, consumers, and the environment in every phase.

  • The danger begins in creating the chemicals. Gasses release into the atmosphere and come down all over the world through acid rain. This is harmful to plants, animals and people alike.
  • Once made, towns along the transportation routes for the chemicals are at risk, as we’ve seen recently with the Ohio train derailment.
  • When creating the actual flooring, factory workers are at risk of various cancers due to exposure to the chlorine, lead, asbestos and other additives.
  • Home and business owners can also be at risk of exposure to chemicals that wear off of the flooring and become airborne to be breathed in, or absorbed through the skin when walked or played on.

For anyone who is concerned about health risks or the impact of LVP flooring on workers and the environment, a wonderful alternative is reclaimed wood flooring. Reclaimed flooring is truly “Green” as it is 100% recycled from old buildings, keeping waste out of landfills and avoiding the need to cut down any trees. All of this makes reclaimed flooring much better for workers, the environment and homeowners as there are no additives or dangerous chemicals to worry about.

For more information on this topic, we highly recommend this article written by Fast Company.