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Healthy Flooring – The Commercial Environment Issues

“Sick Building Syndrome” is no myth. Some commercial floor coverings are health hazards in several ways. They retain materials which should be removed, and are unhygienic. Some materials can contain various elements that trigger allergic reactions. The materials may deteriorate over time, creating actual physical hazards for users.

Knowing when you need to look at healthy flooring

There are a few classic signs of problem flooring:

People getting repeated minor infections affecting respiration.

Dank or dusty smell in the building

Discolouration of carpeting

Sunlight shows a lot of dust in the air

Very dry, stale environment

Other problems include:

Chemical issues with degraded carpet glue and polymers

Fumes may be absorbed by carpets and released by heat

The natural process: Material gets tramped into the carpet over time. This very fine material is dust, often in surprisingly large quantities. It builds up, eventually getting released by pressure from walking on the carpet.

Chemical issues: Some carpets are synthetic polymers which adversely react to heat, in addition to the natural dust situation. They may release fumes of their own in response to excessive heat or exposure to sunlight.

Health and flooring issues

The dust is a potential source of infection and the fumes are chemical irritants. Microbes brought in on the dust, pollen grains, viruses, and other problems caused by the large amount of micro-particulates in the air can all create health problems. This dust can be a serious irritant, and may affect even people without allergies regularly.

The classic signs an individual is affected by a sick carpet are:

People regularly getting minor infections

Coughing

Dry throat

Sinus conditions

Irritated nose and throat symptoms

Old carpets, particularly heavy weave broadloom, absorb enormous amounts of material over time, and even repeated steam cleaning and shampoos won’t help much. (In some cases, these carpets literally produce mud when steam cleaned.)

Environmental considerations

Environmental considerations for carpet flooring are all practical responses to local conditions.

The issues are:

Durable flooring suitable for the space

Carpet cleaning

Modern design

Good product life

No problems with materials

Sustainable flooring.

One result of research into the issues of carpet health was to look at the life cycle of carpets, and produce sustainable flooring. Modern carpet tiles have individual structural backing, not depending on an underlay, for example. That means the dust can’t sink through the carpet and form increasing deposits underneath, making cleaning these carpets far more effective from the start. They also have much better seals which prevent accumulation of materials.

Choices and options for healthy flooring

You’ll find you can get good quality modern modular carpet tiles which can cover all these issues very effectively at reasonable cost. Modular tiles allow for replacement of carpet in high usage areas with minimum fuss, and prevents problems created by wear and tear. This is the optimum health result, straightforward, quick, efficient and reliable.…