When designing or upgrading your family home, safety is such an obvious concern that it is easy to forget about it! Parents will instinctively choose stairs and bathroom features to keep their children safe, and many people now install grab bars as standard for the benefit of elderly parents and friends. We asked the experts at Republic Floor to advise on which type of flooring is the best option for your home, to keep your family, your pets and your visitors safe and healthy.
Flooring to Prevent Falling
Falling is one of the most common household accidents, causing millions of injuries and thousands of deaths every year. People tend to fall off ladders or downstairs, trip on loose floor coverings, or slip on wet floors. The risk of falling increases with age, with over 2.7 million seniors being treated for falls in the U.S. each year, resulting in around 30,000 deaths and 300,000 hospitalizations for hip fractures.
So, our number one priority at Republic Floor is to help contractors ensure that they lay a safe, flat, and even floor covering. This means starting out with a strong even surface and using good underlayment that won’t deteriorate or move with time. We recommend avoiding rugs or loose carpets. Alternatively, it is important to put tape or rug pads around the underside edges of small rugs to prevent them from sliding or becoming a tripping hazard.
Bathroom floors are often a hazard – the National Institute on Aging advises that nearly 80 percent of falls happen in the bathroom – so Republic Floor consultants always recommend non-slip vinyl flooring for bathrooms. Today’s luxury vinyl flooring features a slip-resistant coating that gives you a clean shiny look but keeps your family safe and on their feet. You can make your bathroom even safer by laying adhesive rubber floor mats next to the bath and the sink, as well as inside the bath or shower cubicle.
Healthy Flooring for a Healthy Home
Scientists have discovered that some ceramic and porcelain tiles contain high levels of lead, and there have been concerns in recent years about chemicals in flooring that emit dangerous gases. At Republic Floor, we ensure that the vinyl engineered flooring materials we manufacture are all phthalate-free, low in V.O.C.s – that’s volatile organic compounds – and meet the highest formaldehyde emissions standards. There are sometimes problems with chemical emissions from old-style sheet vinyl made in countries where they are not so particular about the chemicals they use, but Republic’s luxury vinyl plank products have been extensively tested and found to be safe from chemical emissions. It is also critically important to ensure that contractors install your flooring using non-toxic environmentally-safe adhesives.
Dealing with Spills and Leaks
The issue of waterproofing your floors is a complex and important concern. Moisture can attack floors from many different directions and sources, and it can cause multiple health issues, ranging from slippery wet patches to the growth of toxic bacteria if floors are left wet and untreated. If the temperature in your home varies from season to season, or if your heating causes condensation, or if there is excessive moisture from outside or beneath your home, some flooring materials may warp and shrink. It’s important that your contractor discuss these issues with your Republic Floor consultant.
Knowing your home, it is important to choose a floor that can tolerate moisture well. Wooden and laminate flooring is not recommended for any environment where dampness is an issue. It is particularly important to choose waterproof flooring for your kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and homes with pets or children. Speaking of pets, if you have family friends with claws, you’ll want to look for floor surfaces that are scratch-resistant.
The issue of bacteria in the home becomes much more critical if there are children and pets around. Ceramic and stone floor tiles and hardwood floor planks are notorious for cracks and fissures where bacteria from food and waste products can collect. The latest engineered floor coverings offered by Republic Floor are designed to look like ceramic tiles or wooden planks but are actually completely smooth and crack-free, so there is nowhere for germs to hide and multiply!
Republic Floor consultants usually recommend that any floor is laid on top of an anti-bacterial underlayment layer to ensure that moisture rising from beneath your floor will not cause mold or mildew growth in your floor. They even supply their Pure SPC vinyl floor planks pre-fitted with their proprietary Bio-GuardTM anti-bacterial underlayment to offer their customers extra reassurance.
Bacteria are not the only health issue to take into account when choosing flooring. Millions of Americans suffer from allergies and associated diseases like asthma and allergic rhinitis caused by the house dust mite. If you or your family members are sensitive to dust, you will want to avoid carpets and rugs that collect dust. Other allergy hazards to watch out for include mold spores, pesticides, flame retardants, and mites found in cat and dog fur. Experiments in the homes of people who suffer from asthma have shown that replacing bedroom carpets with vinyl flooring was highly effective in reducing childhood asthma and allergies
If you are sensitive to dust or pollen, you can reduce the allergens in your home by choosing a floor that is easy to keep clean. Laminate and hardwood floors are difficult to wash because the wood can swell and cause problems. At Republic Floor, we lean toward vinyl plank flooring that is water-resistant and easy to mop using a small amount of water. The less water you use, the faster it will dry, and the safer your home will be.
At Republic Floor, we have decades of experience in supplying flooring products to contractors across the United States. We are experts in the science of flooring, and we have made safety features a high priority in the design of our engineered vinyl floor plank products. If you care about home safety, ask your contractor or flooring store about Republic Floor products.