Low-VOC carpet in a Milton, WI home

What are VOCs?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are compounds that have high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are often used in floorings. VOCs are gases from certain solids or liquids and include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors. Fortunately, many flooring companies are manufacturing new product lines that have low or zero VOCs.

Hardwoods will have no VOCs, but the finishes on the hardwood would have some off-gassing. Typically this is a good flooring product for low off-gases. Laminate is also a low VOC option, with small amounts of chemicals for surface protection.

Porcelain and ceramic tile will have no VOCs, with usually no emissions from the thin-set or grout either. These products are made at extremely high temperatures and naturally have a hard durable surface with no chemical additives needed.

Hypoallergenic carpeting, such as MoHawk AirO carpet, will have no VOCs. If the carpet has a rubber backing, there will be off-gases.

Ceramic or mineral core products, such as Sono Eclipse, are rigid click products being made with zero VOCs.

Most luxury vinyl tile (LVT) or luxury vinyl plank (LVP) will have high levels of VOCs. This is because the vinyl is a chemically made material of plastics and will have the highest levels of VOCs. Sheet vinyl will also have high levels of VOCs. Unless specifically stated, these vinyl products will contain off-gases.