Is it better to use wood, tile, or laminate flooring for best indoor air quality?

Asked by Lora
San Diego, CA

We need to install flooring in our master bedroom. It opens up to the backyard and we have a pool. Concerned that if there is a leak, wood flooring would be damaged; but would like wood as a first choice. Tile would be ok. Main concern Is Air Quality though. Is it better to use wood, tile, or laminate flooring for best indoor air quality?


Wood and laminate flooring require the use of glues and or finishes which off gas.

The installation of a tile flooring would be better if it is mud set not thin set.

  • Mud set means the tile is laid in a bed of mortar.
  • Thin set means the tile is glued to the subfloor with a mastic.

One other possibility is installing a poured stained and polished concrete floor. In the past, I have used fish oil stains to color the floor rather than a petroleum based stain.

If you choose to use wood, use a prefinished product which meets CARB standards for indoor air quality. For engineered floors, check and ask if the floors have any added urea formaldehyde which is added during the lamination process.


For more information:

Read "Is there a concern about formaldehyde or other toxins in either engineered wood or laminate flooring? I am thinking of replacing tile floor." a Q&A answered by Cynthia Phakos.

Tagged In: home air quality

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