Beyond how it looks, your choice in flooring for your house has a number of other important effects on your life. For example, hardwood floors in particular are by far one of the best choices you can make for helping your allergies. Here are a few reasons why switching to hardwood floors from carpeting is one of the best things you can do to improve your health as someone suffering from allergies.
Carpets Lock-in Allergens
There's a reason why there's a consensus among many allergen experts about how important it is to get rid of your carpet, especially if you have a dust allergy. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, there are few environments better suited for dust mites than carpeting, especially long fiber carpeting.
You will likely see an improvement in your dust allergies nearly right away just by switching to hardwoods, since the dust mites will have fewer areas to hide in. Vacuuming carpets often doesn't work for dust mite allergies, for example, because dust mites can cling to the fibers. But on hardwood floors, they have nothing to cling to, so you can easily vacuum them up.
Hardwood Floors Are Easier to Monitor
The key to keeping yourself free of allergy symptoms is to make sure that you keep your environment free of allergens like pollen, dust, and pet hair. Even if dust allergies aren't particularly a problem for you, pet dander can get lost inside of carpeting, and it can be difficult to figure out exactly how much is in there.
Vacuuming regularly will help of course, but being able to see exactly where dust and pet dander is against wooden floors with no hiding spots available for allergens is really ideal.
Choosing the Right Hardwood Floors
While it's true that switching to hardwoods will improve your allergies all by itself, not all hardwood floors are created the same. According to the AAFA, you can still have an allergic reaction to the finishing products used on hardwood floors due to potential fumes.
The key is to choose hardwood floors that use waxes and varnishes made with organic compounds. The phrase to look for specifically is "off gassing potential." You want varnishes that are organic and low in volatile off gassing potential, which means how likely they are to put out dangerous fumes that you could inhale.
Generally, if you leave all the windows of your house open for a few days during any finishing, it should minimize any adverse allergic reaction you might have.
Talk to a hardwood flooring expert like Carpet Depot to learn about some of the other benefits of hardwood flooring.