flooring indoor air quality

Building Healthier Schools: How Flooring Impacts Indoor Air Quality

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Flooring materials have a significant impact on the indoor air quality of the entire building.  Being mindful of the type and quality of flooring materials is a great way to keep school students safe and healthy.  In recent years, green construction alternatives have gained momentum, especially in the U.S.  Today’s architects and planners strive to create sport objects that are not only functional, but also safe to use and visually appealing.  With that in mind, whether you’re looking for ways to improve indoor quality or want to renovate your school’s floors completely, this article will help you learn more about how flooring impacts indoor air quality.

Why Indoor Air Quality is Essential

Healthy building practices and materials make the indoor environment safer for students.  These materials minimize air pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Unhealthy building materials will emit VOCs over time.  Volatile organic compounds are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature.  VOCs are numerous, varied, and can have both short-term and long-term health effects.

Consequently, they may worsen a student’s allergies and asthma and cause a great deal of other problems.  Although VOCs can affect both children and adults, students are more likely to feel the impacts of VOCs.  This is because children experience higher exposure to pollutants as they breathe more air per pound of body weight.

Indoor Air Quality, Health Impacts, and VOCs

Children absorb a higher percentage of environmental contaminants than adults.  The poorer the air quality, the bigger the chances are for students to experience pulmonary issues.  The three main air pollutants associated with inferior flooring are:

  • Allergens (elements and organisms that can cause allergic reactions and asthma)
  •  Irritants (Elements that can trigger allergic reactions and respiratory issues)
  • Toxic Chemicals (Adhesives and cleaning products)

Aside from these, the WHO addresses the three groups of issues that affect indoor air quality. Keeping these determinants in check plays a significant part in preventing respiratory diseases among students and faculty members.  Moreover, better indoor air quality will also decrease the risk of health impacts from respiratory viruses, such as Covid-19.

In large part due to the pandemic that has affected the world over the past few months, the responsibilities of facility owners and operators have changed significantly.  Since the novel coronavirus has more severe consequences for those with pre-existing pulmonary issues, maintaining high indoor air quality can play a critical role in controlling its spread and impact.  

How to Pick a Healthy Floor for Your School

Knowing that many viruses and diseases, including Covid-19, spread via contact with surfaces, it’s essential to keep all of your surfaces clean.  But it’s also important to pick the healthiest flooring option for your school.  When it comes to school flooring, the three most popular options are hardwood flooring, carpet flooring, and synthetic flooring.

Some construction materials, especially those of lower quality, contain harmful materials and toxins that can make a significant impact on the overall air quality in your school.  Also, when these toxins get into the air, they interact with other potentially harmful particles in the atmosphere.  These combinations can cause a number of health problems in the people who inhale them.

When choosing new flooring for your school, look for low-VOC products and materials.  Ask your flooring company to install a floor that is least likely to exacerbate moisture and mold-related issues. 

Besides the health-related aspects that you should keep in mind when choosing a floor, also consider the most important non-health issues.  These include the cost of the project, environmental impact, ergonomic performance, and the type of activities that will take place in the area.

Hardwood vs. Other Flooring Materials

If you’re renovating your school’s gym floor, hardwood flooring is still the best option.  Wood floors are the most widely popular type of flooring used in school objects and professional arenas alike.  Hardwood floors are generally more expensive than synthetic floors, but the quality between the two is very distinct. 

Hardwood gym floors are natural, safe to use, and can last for a lifetime.  On the contrary, vinyl is the most toxic flooring material, and should never be your first choice if you have the budget to install hardwood flooring.

As for classrooms, most schools opt to install either vinyl or linoleum floors.  This is a decision that’s mostly influenced by their overall budget.  Even so, as an important part of your school, your classroom floors should get the best possible treatment.  Hardwood classroom floors are the healthiest choice when it comes to indoor air quality for your school.  A natural hardwood floor will provide your students with a healthy indoor environment and protect them from potentially harmful VOCs and other indoor air pollutants. 

Choose a Flooring Company You Can Trust

If your goal is a healthy school, high-quality hardwood flooring should be at the top of your renovation list.  The floor is one of the most important elements that impact the health of an  indoor environment.  And a healthier school will not only be safer for both students and teachers, but it will also enable students to excel in their performances.

Any flooring manufacturer can claim their floors are safe and green.  But, how can you know whether they’re telling the truth if they don’t have sufficient proof to back it up?  Exaggerated marketing claims surrounding sustainability and material quality can be seen at every corner. The best way to avoid companies that use such tactics is to do your research and ensure you work with a credible business.

Finding a trustworthy sports flooring partner will allow you to get the best floor for your school. At J&J Gym Floors, we have established a high-quality flooring service centered on sustainable materials.  We’ve been in the industry since 2003.  Our professionals firmly stand behind their work and always deliver on time and on budget.

Whether you’re looking to repair your classroom hardwood floors or install a brand new stage or gym floor, we’re here for you.  With hundreds of satisfied clients from the education community, our reputation speaks for itself.  If you want to schedule a consultation or have any further questions about our services, contact us today through our easy online form or call 973-801-7219.