Understanding Formaldehyde in Wood Floor Products

Formaldehyde in Wood Products Formaldehyde is used as an adhesive in most pressed and engineered wood products, including cabinets, shelving, furniture, plywood, and floor coverings. However, the level of formaldehyde emitted by these products can vary widely depending on the type of adhesive used, how much adhesive is present in the product, and how long ago the product was manufactured (formaldehyde emissions decline over time). Products like laminate flooring and cabinets that are made of press board, MDF or HDF, which are infused throughout with glue, tend to have higher formaldehyde emissions than products like plywood and engineered flooring, which are layers of natural wood glued together, containing far less adhesive. Adhesives that are high in formaldehyde are less expensive than low-formaldehyde or zero-formaldehyde adhesives. Some manufacturers and importers cut costs by using those higher formaldehyde adhesives. We don’t. Formaldehyde in wood products is impossible to avoid completely. All wood, even wood that is totally free of any glues or coatings, naturally emits some formaldehyde. That naturally occurring formaldehyde is one and the same chemical as that which is emitted by the adhesives. Some species of wood naturally emit more than others. Testing has shown that in some instances, pressed wood products made with formaldehyde adhesives may actually emit lower levels of formaldehyde than those made with formaldehyde-free adhesives. Most formaldehyde adhesives are cured with heat, which fl ashes off much of the formaldehyde from both the adhesive and the wood itself. Most formaldehyde-free wood adhesives are cured without heat, leaving all of the naturally occurring formaldehyde in the wood. For this reason, when assessing the potential health risk of a product, it’s most important to look at the actual product emissions after manufacturing and not the type of adhesive used. California Air Resources Board (CARB) Phase II Standard In 2012, the State of California took the unprecedented step of limiting the amount of formaldehyde that a wood product can legally emit to 0.05ppm. To put this in perspective, there was a time not long ago when the German E1 Standard (0.1ppm) was considered the gold standard even within the green building community. The CARB Phase II standard is now the strictest formaldehyde emissions standard in the world outside of Japan. We applaud it, not only because it protects our health, but also because it has leveled the playing field for companies who had always paid the extra cost to make sure our products were safe. Putting the Risks in Perspective There is no question that formaldehyde can be harmful. Some people, when exposed to formaldehyde at high levels, can experience watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing. Very high concentrations may trigger attacks in people with asthma. Chronic exposure at high levels has been shown to cause cancer in animals, and there is some evidence to suggest that chronic exposure at high levels may increase the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer in humans. According to the State of California, for most individuals, the lowest observed level of effects occurs at exposures ranging from 0.1 to 3.0 parts per million (ppm). OSHA sets guidelines for employee exposure to formaldehyde at much higher levels: 0.5ppm – 1.0ppm, depending on the timeframe.

Formaldehyde has received media attention over the years when certain products were found to have high levels of formaldehyde, such as urea formaldehyde insulation in the 1970’s, the FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina, and more recently, laminate fl ooring sold by a national retailer that was labeled as being CARB II compliant when in fact it was not. But it is important to put the risks posed by formaldehyde in wood products into perspective, and to realize how complicated it is to assess our total risk. Formaldehyde is everywhere in nature. It is a normal by-product of many natural processes, including digestion, decomposition, and the combustion of organic material. The human body emits significant amounts of formaldehyde when we exhale. Formaldehyde is also present in a wide range of other products that we use every day. Sources include gas and wood burning stoves, gas heaters, vehicle exhaust, tobacco smoke, glues, paints, cleaning products, preservatives, paper product coatings, cosmetics, insecticides, and permanent-press curtains and clothing. Consider these facts: • Every time a baby exhales, they emit approximately 500 times the proposed level of formaldehyde that is acceptable according to the EPA. • The World Health Organization has estimated that the average adult ingests nine times more formaldehyde each day from food than they inhale from all airborne sources combined. • The standard human body, through natural metabolic processes, generates and disposes of about 45,000 mg of formaldehyde every day. This means that a person would have to breath air from CARB Phase II particleboard for over 61 YEARS just to equal the amount that a body naturally generates and consumes in 24 hours. Despite these figures, we agree that it is important to limit the amount of formaldehyde added to our indoor environment by man-made products. At Reward Hardwood Flooring, we are committed to doing just that. Our Guarantee We strive for total customer satisfaction. Not only do we want you to be satisfied with the look and ease of installation of our flooring, we want you to have peace of mind. Rest assured that our flooring is as safe as it is attractive. All Reward Hardwood products easily meet the CARB Phase II standard, and while we are sometimes offered the opportunity to cut costs by using higher formaldehyde glues, we never do. Not only are our suppliers’ factories CARB Phase II certified, but we also take the extra step of conducting periodic tests on random samples from our inventory, which we send to certifi ed American test laboratories to confirm that we are consistently exceeding the CARB II standard. This added layer of safety has a cost, but you are worth it. At Reward Hardwood Flooring, we are 100% committed to protecting the health and well being of our customers.

Greg Warren Hardwood Floors is a Dealer of Reward Hardwood Floors. My business is located in Cedar City, UT.

Greg Warren, Inc. Awarded Best of Houzz 2016

 

Greg Warren Hardwood Floors of Cedar City, Utah

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2016

 Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

 Palo Alto, CA, January 12, 2016Greg Warren Hardwood Floors of Cedar City, UT  has won “Best Of Hardwood Floor Design” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 37 year Hardwood Floor Dealer & Contractor  was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of  their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

Greg Warren Hardwood Floors provides Hardwood Floors that last a Lifetime

For Design and/or Customer Service winners “Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Greg Warren Hardwood Floors, voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Greg Warren Hardwood Floors on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/gregwarren/__public

 About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

The Truth About All-In-One Moisture Protecting Adhesives

There has become a new phenomenon in the Hardwood Floor industry which involves the manufacturers of adhesives. It started with Bostik’s creating an all-in-one adhesive several years ago that allowed the installer to spread one time and achieve a moisture barrier for slab moisture along with the adhesive to adhere the floor. The marketing was along this line. One can travel to a small day job outside the county and install a floor in one day. At that time it would take at least two days to install a floor over concrete as a moisture barrier required a day to dry. One would come back the next day and install the floor with adhesive. It never caught on because the product was so expensive. As other manufacturers began chasing Bostik’s to get market share with this new product the price came down and it started to become the norm to use this product. It became less expensive by as much as one dollar in the overall job cost. With competitive forces at play many dealers of hardwood floors have completely switched recently to the all-in-one method. Manufacturers of adhesives have been heavily marketing it as well. The problem for the consumer is in the warranty. Manufacturers of these adhesives require a 100% monolithic coating under each plank in order to achieve that warranty. As an installer with 37 years of experience I can tell you that is impossible. Even properly prepared slabs have slight dips whereby a plank that is placed over that dip will not get a 100% coat of all-in-one adhesive. You won’t notice it in the feel of the floor when you walk on it but these small pockets are in your floor. Currently there are flooring contractors dealing with floors they have installed that have failed due to excessive moisture. The adhesive manufacturers are blaming the failures on the lack of  a 100% monolithic coat. The problem comes in when you as the consumer expect the floor to be replaced by the flooring contractor. The cost on a full house of flooring replacement including removal of baseboard and the damaged floor, hotel cost to put your family up during the replacement, furniture movers, new flooring, baseboard install and painting can cost tens of thousands of dollars. History has proven that a large percentage of flooring contractors walk away from these losses leaving the consumer to pay for the replacement. There is no insurance the flooring contractor can buy that will pay for this event. The consumer can collect the $ 12,500 bond if the contractor is licensed but that will be it. Although I have used the all-in-one adhesives in the past on a handful of jobs I have made the decision to stop. I did not have any failed floors with this adhesive but I am very concerned about the warranty. It is part of my job to get my client all the warranties they deserve. All my floors in the future will now be installed over concrete with a separate moisture barrier and a separate adhesive. That method offers a bullet proof  warranty.

Greg Warren Hardwood Floors is located in Cedar City, UT.

Problems, Causes & Cures Handbook

In the many years I have been a Hardwood floor contractor I have reviewed several problem floors for general contractors, insurance companies and homeowners. I like to bring this book with me as on many occasions the issue I will be looking at will be found in the table on contents. It helps add confidence to the parties involved if they can see in print how to address their particular issue and who will be responsible for the cost of the repair. I offer the book to you as an educational tool. Copy & paste the link below in the address bar.

http://indianahardwoodspec.com/problemscausescures.pdf0_E.pdf

Greg Warren Hardwood Floors is located in Cedar City, UT.

Hardwood Floor Warranty. Do You Have One?

Warranties within the hardwood flooring industry can be elusive if great care is not taken by the flooring specialist. Manufacturers of flooring and adhesives set very high standards that are not usually met during the installation process. What can be missing is informative in the “fine print” of the warranty. It is imperative that the hardwood floor contractor lawyer up and spend the time to comb through each and every warranty based on the floor being installed. I routinely read the entire warranty of every manufacturer for every floor I install. Adhesive manufacturers have very stringent expectation of the hardwood installer. Each adhesive manufacturer has different metrics in order to achieve a bullet proof warranty. There is no standardization in the industry and therefore one must become familiar with all the various warranty packages. For myself , the warranty is the most important feature I can offer my clients next to producing the quality installation that will result in “Hardwood Floors That Last A Lifetime”. If you have questions about warranties call or email and I will be happy to discuss.

Greg Warren Hardwood Floors is located in Cedar City, UT.