Today Monique writes:

I am living in a coop in Westchester City NY, and I want to replace the
wall to wall carpeting I have because it’s disgusting and my kids have
asthma and I have allergies. I’m on a limited budget as a single mother and I realize that laminate is cheaper than wood.

I just want to make sure it’s not something that is toxic and could cause allergies.  Please tell me if laminate flooring for allergies would be a  good choice?  Does it have formaldehyde and does wood have formaldehyde?  I want something that doesn’t off gas and that is pure.   Does cork have any adhesives with formaldehyde?

I don’t like the  look of cork, even though I like what I have heard about it. How does linoleum  compare? Please advise.  I am desperate to get this carpet out of the  house!   Thanks, Monique

Dear Monique, most laminates are a good choice for allergy and asthma sufferers.  You just have to do a little research before choosing the right one for you.  The easy way to select a laminate that will be good for both you and the kiddos is to look for a GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified or GREENGUARD Children and Schools Certified laminate flooring.

Laminate Flooring For Allergies

The GREENGUARD Children and Schools Certification is specifically designed with little people in mind and will give you the absolutely least amount of off gassing. One company I found from the GREENGUARD website with this rating is Kaindl.  They also make an affordable product, ranging from $2 per square foot and up.  Just make sure you do the research and make sure the specific product you are interested in still has the GREENGUARD rating.

As for cork, yes most brands do live up to the standards you’re looking for. But if you don’t like the look of it, I would skip it entirely. Consider looking at Marmoleum instead. It is a natural Linoleum made of linseed oil, wood flour, rosin, and jute.  And there is absolutely no VOCs or off gassing. Expect to pay around $3 a square foot.

Both Marmoleum and Laminate will do well with the traffic and commotion caused from a household with kids and if the proper research is done at the same time, either will be a healthy alternative to carpet. This being said, wood flooring is more expensive but can also be found with these features. You will just have to be prepared to spend about $5 a square foot and up. With any luck, this will get you on the right track for finding a flooring option that meets your criteria.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe(diva(at) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog.

Written by Amanda Hartley