Building Material Components That Can Affect Quality of Indoor Air

Posted on: 17 June 2021

Healthy home building requires using the best materials. Natural materials and materials that are nontoxic are essential, as well as those that have low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to ensure that your indoor air is as healthy as possible. Here are a few components of building materials that can affect the quality of your home's air.

1. Glues and resins

Building materials such as flooring and countertops are often made of composites held together with glue or resin substances. Resins used in products such as composite flooring can emit high levels of VOCs. If you want your home to be as healthy as possible, look for materials that don't have composites (such as solid wood) or that have been evaluated for VOCs.

2. Finishes

Paints, varnishes, and other types of finish can off-gas harmful substances into your living area. For example, paints can release chemicals such as formaldehyde, which is one type of VOC and can be very unhealthy to breathe. While the paint may only smell for a short while, it can continue to give off VOCs for years.

Some examples of more natural, healthy products you could use instead include natural oils and waxes to finish wood surfaces, natural water-based paints, and low-VOC or even zero-VOC paints.

3. Chemical content

Some types of building materials are simply made out of chemicals. Plastic-based materials such as vinyl flooring are examples of this type of material. Vinyl can affect your home's air by giving off VOCs as it degrades, such as dioxins (which can be very unhealthy). For this reason, you may want to avoid chemical-based materials such as vinyl.

4. Silica

Construction dust may contain harmful quantities of silica, especially from materials such as drywall and masonry. This dust may be present in your home's air immediately after construction, as well as during and after any home improvement projects or remodels over the years.

In addition to the potential for respiratory irritation, construction dust that contains silica can cause long-term health impacts such as lung scarring. The good news is that, unlike VOCs, this dust won't continue to emerge from materials that are left undisturbed, so simply cleaning all the dust out of your house after construction can reduce any negative impact on air quality.

As you can see, the types of materials you use to build your home have a huge impact on how healthy your house will be to live in for the years to come. This is one reason why focusing on building a healthy home is so important. Get in touch with your local healthy home building contractor today to start planning a home for you and your family.