Did you know?
- You should not put rugs or mats with rubber backing over vinyl floors. The interaction can discolor and damage the
- Airing out vinyl flooring in a protected place for 48 to 72 hours reduces the VOCs released into your home when it's
installed and protects your home's indoor air quality.
- FloorScore certification guarantees that vinyl flooring meets or exceeds emission standards for indoor air quality.
Vinyl flooring is a touchy issue within the green building movement. On one hand, the environmental community believes its
main component, PVC, is hazardous. According to Greenpeace, "PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout its
lifecycle: during its production, use and disposal. Few consumers realize that PVC is the single most environmentally
damaging of all plastics."
On the other hand, during GreenBuild International Conference and Expo 2007, the
president of the Vinyl Institute noted that vinyl's "infinite flexibility, durability, and well–established
energy–saving qualities represent one of the most effective ways of meeting the evolving standards for green
You might expect that kind of support from an industry spokesperson. But even the US Green Building Council
(USGBC) seems to consider the matter an open question. In 2004, a USGBC task force decided against awarding points for the
elimination of PVC in new construction, saying, "The available evidence does not support a conclusion that PVC is
consistently worse than alternative materials on a lifecycle environmental and health basis."
Some facts about vinyl flooring are not in dispute. It's reasonably priced, durable, and easy to maintain. For these and
other reasons, vinyl flooring is extremely popular. In fact, in the United States sales of vinyl flooring are second only to
Throughout this section, you'll find information to help you decide if vinyl flooring is the right choice – a green
choice – for your home.
Featured Vinyl Products
The Argument Against PVC
In a briefing paper for the Healthy Building Network, Joe Thornton PhD described the hazards of the PVC lifecycle,
- At numerous points during PVC's lifecycle, large quantities of hazardous by–products are produced and released
into the environment.
- By–products of PVC production resist natural degradation, build up in the tissues of living things, and cause a
range of serious health hazards.
- Phthalate plasticizers, which are added to make PVC flexible, can now be found in deep ocean water, air in even remote
areas, and the tissues and fluids of the general population. Phthalates are known carcinogens in laboratory animand also have
been found to reduce sperm counts, suppress ovulation, and cause abnormal development and function of the testes and male
Alternatives to Vinyl Flooring – Other Green Flooring Options
If you appreciate vinyl's easy maintenance, affordability, and resilient surface, these green options might appeal to you.
- Linoleum: Made from all natural
materials, linoleum offers many of the same features as vinyl without the high environmental costs. It's available in sheet
goods, tile, and click–lock panels.
- Cork: Harvested every 9 or 10 years without harming the
trees, the bark of cork oak trees produces attractive, durable, eco–friendly flooring.
- Recycled Rubber: This flooring boasts up
to 87% recycled tire rubber yet contains little to no VOCs. It's durable, comfortable to walk on, and can be recycled at the
end of its useful life.
Vinyl Flooring Information | Help
- Questions – Find out what to ask your local flooring store.
- Lifecycle – Everything
you wanted to know about the lifecycle of vinyl flooring.
- Buying Guides – Get ready to shop
for your vinyl floor with our buying guide.
- Flooring Estimator Tools – Our
estimator tool easily calculates the amount of vinyl you'll need for your project.
- Installation –
Installing your own vinyl floor? Get some tips from our pros.
- FAQs – Find answers to frequently asked vinyl
- Glossary – Definitions of commonly used
vinyl flooring terms.