Green Home Exploration – Can Laminate Flooring be sealed from outgassing?
by Neva J. Howell unless otherwise noted
Formaldehyde and Laminate Flooring Options
I’m very chemically sensitive and also concerned about formaldahyde outgassing from almost all types of flooring except hemp or cork. I wanted to go all cork or hemp in my new place but I’m not yet manifesting that level of financial wealth…..man, that stuff is expensive and I have a huge place….so I have been calling various makers of laminate flooring to see if any were particularly low in formaldehyde. I found one company, Kronotex, whose customer service representative told me has only 0.005 percent formaldahyde in their laminate flooring so I ended up getting that for the first room I want to cover, as a trial.
Still, I didn’t want even that 0.005 percent to outgas so I wondered if the AFM Safecoat Hard Seal I had used for other outgassing problems would work in this case?
(I don’t know why but I keep trying to type AMF Safecoat…I must not be the only one because if you search for AMF safecoat, the AFM safecoat website comes up so they musta figured out people were doing a typo on it.)
For more about detoxing your living space, read the article series at the Wellness Library.
I called the company and they were doubtful it would penetrate through the laminate seal but I guess this is one case where cheap is better because I got the least expensive kind, called Darlington Oak, and it apparently doesn’t have a very thick seal because the hardseal worked!
The way the AMF rep said you could tell was that if, on application, the hard seal beaded up or if it was easy to scratch it off the surface after it dried, then it wasn’t working.
To my joy, it did not bead up nor could I scratch it off later.
Important note: You cannot apply AFM hard seal to OSB board so make sure you avoid those areas of the laminate if applicable. I just applied to the top, and afterwards, could smell nothing at all. Oh, how I love the smell of nothing.
Even though this laminate had much less odor than other flooring I had smelled (now there’s a sentence I don’t say every day), it was wonderful to have that odor gone after applying the hard seal.
So…..if you are like me and just can’t quite swing $30,000 to floor your space (that’s about what it would cost me in hemp, cork or bamboo) then I’d look for laminate with a very thin coat, call the company about formaldahyde levels, and try the hard seal on one plank.