shutterstock_258240821Having allergies stinks. You end up feeling stuffed up, puffed up, dreary, bleary, and all around terrible when you have an allergy attack. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of what building materials you use when you’re remodeling your home. Being conscious of what types of flooring will exacerbate your allergies is a smart way to make your life more bearable during allergy season. That’s why Floor Coverings International of White Bear Lake, MN wrote this post about what you should be avoiding if you are in the market for flooring as a person with allergies.


Carpet is the biggest flooring no-no when it comes to people with allergies. Allergens like dirt, grit, dust mites, and pet hair all tend to stick around in carpeting. These allergens will sink down deep into the pile of the carpet so that they rest against the nap. Once this happens it’s nearly impossible to get them out, even with the strongest vacuum. Carpet also tends to attract and hang onto water and other moisture. This can cause mold and mildew to form, making your allergies even worse. If you absolutely have to have carpet, go for a low pile carpet like berber carpeting, or a natural material like sisal. They will serve you, and your allergies, better than a higher pile plush carpet. Wool is also a better carpeting material than synthetic carpets like nylon and olefin, which will off-gas VOCs (see the next section). Wool is a natural humidifier, as well as naturally hypoallergenic, so while you’ll face the same issues as other carpets with mildew and dirt getting into the pile, it’s the best of the available materials. Keep in mind though that wool carpeting tends to be much more expensive than other carpeting types, but it is a sustainable and renewable resource if being green is important to you.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are another important thing to avoid in flooring (and general building) materials if you have allergies. VOCs are chemicals which, at regular room temperatures, evaporate with high vapor pressure into the air of your home. These chemicals come from materials such as formaldehyde, acetone, gasoline and other fossil fuels, benzene, and methylene chloride. The term ‘off-gassing’ refers to the emission of VOCs into the air by a certain material. VOCs can cause respiratory, allergic, and immune problems. Things like sore throats, eye and nose irritation, nausea and headaches, dizziness, and loss of coordination are all symptoms of off-gassing VOCs. Studies have even shown that exposure to VOCs can increase your risk for diseases like leukemia and lymphoma. Allergy prone people should look for products and building materials that have low VOCs or no VOCs.

The Best Flooring for People with Allergies

The best flooring options for people who are allergy-prone are floors that are flat, smooth, and easy to clean. This means that allergens like dirt, grit, grime, pet hair, and mildew won’t get worked into the flooring. Hardwood flooring is a good option because it is easy to clean, smooth and flat. Cork is a great ecofriendly flooring option for people with allergies. Unlike bamboo, which sometimes has formaldehyde use in the manufacturing process, cork is all natural so it won’t off gas VOCs. Tile flooring, both ceramic and natural stone, are excellent flooring options for the allergy-prone for the same reason as hardwood flooring, but it has the added benefit of being extra easy to clean since it doesn’t warp with water contact.

We hope that this post has been useful in helping you determine what flooring options would be best for your home in order to keep your allergies in check. For more information on your flooring options, or to schedule a free, in-home consultation, call Floor Coverings International of White Bear Lake today!

Photo: Kuprynenko Andrii