Q: Is the Tundra flooring from IKEA safe? I am looking for an alternative to wood flooring that will have low VOC emissions and be environmentally safe.
Asked by Silvia
Editor: Here's what our friends at Green Home Guide say.
Answered by Randy Potter, EarthBound Homes
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately in this case the old adage "you get what you pay for" certainly holds true. Although at just over $1.00/ft. these Ikea laminate flooring products sound very attractive, they are perhaps the worst thing that you can put on your floor from an indoor air quality standpoint. These cheap laminates are made from a fiberboard that is loaded with formaldehyde and is anything but the "low VOC emissions" that you are looking for.
For a green floor your best bets are:
- Use either real hardwood or bamboo, both of which you can get without formaldehyde and pre-finished with either extremely low or no VOC finishes.
- Or better yet you can buy unfinished floors and finish them yourselves for a beautiful seamless look to the finish. This way you can use a water based product like Bona Traffic which will not offgas and will provide a bullet proof commercial strength finish for years.
You will likely pay several times more for a good bamboo or solid hardwood than you will for a cheap Ikea laminate, but you will have floors that look and feel durable and natural, last forever, and most importantly that you know will not be creating poor indoor air quality in your home.
For more information:
Read Victoria Schomer's Q&A "What is truly the healthiest wood floor option, and what are the safest finish products to use?"
Also, visit the "Health & Quality of Life" section on the Earth Bound Homes website.