Allergen-Friendly Flooring: Carpet versus Hardwood
Indoor allergies can be a pain, especially because they last all year and are inescapable in your own home. The most common causes of indoor allergies are pet dander, dust mites, and mold. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from laminate or bamboo flooring can also cause issues.
Carpet holds allergens- plain and simple. No matter how often you vacuum, the tiny particles that cause most allergy symptoms will burrow deep into the carpet and then be distributed later. Dust mites like to live in carpet, and if you have a pollen allergy then your carpet might also cling to pollen tracked in by you or your pets. On the other hand, hardwood flooring does not hold allergens, which means that they disperse into the air. You have to sweep regularly to make sure that dander, dust mites, etc., are contained and do not drift into the air. Yet, if you do not have time to sweep a hardwood floor every day, you might still be better off with carpet as long as your carpet is clean and well maintained. So, the verdict is not as cut and dry as you might hear from hardwood floor manufacturers, or even from medical associations.
Laminate floors are cheaper than hardwood floors but as mentioned can release VOCs, which is a kind of chemical treatment that can also cause symptoms. Make sure if you choose this option to go with one that is low VOC, the same with bamboo floors - a growing choice and one which provides no habitat for dust mites. Also, Cork is often considered a good choice for allergy sufferers because it contains suberin, a natural substance that reduces the growth of mold and bacteria. Not to mention it is easy to clean. When choosing carpet or hardwood your choice may depend on your symptoms and exactly what you are allergic to. Some people even prefer a large area rug over hardwood. Keeping your carpet clean by regularly hiring professional cleaners can be just as good as ripping it out and putting in a hardwood floor.