The process of having hardwood floors in your home refinished will inevitably create some temporary health hazards. It's important to be aware of these hazards to ensure that members of your household stay healthy after the refinishing process.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified indoor air pollutants as one of the most significant human health risks. The refinishing process may pollute the air inside your home temporarily, but you can avoid any negative health consequences by simply being aware of the risks and addressing them appropriately. 

Before you have your hardwood floors refinished, take the following hazards into account:

  • Dust from sanding- The first step to refinishing hardwood floors is sanding off the old finish. This creates dust that can be very harmful to the lungs and eyes of the flooring crew, and this dust can linger in the air after the refinishing job is complete. Proper ventilation is important to clearing up any excess dust leftover after refinishing. 
  • Volatile organic compounds- Many of the products applied during the refinishing process- including stains, finishes, and lacquers- contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Exposure to VOCs can cause a variety of different negative health effects, such as dizziness and nausea. Long terms exposure to VOCs can cause even more severe nerve and respiratory problems. Again, proper ventilation is important to restoring safe air after refinishing. You'll want to stay out of your interior for at least 24 hours after refinishing to let the fumes clear away.  
  • Asbestos- When the original flooring is removed before a hardwood floor is refinished, chemicals in the adhesive or backing used to install the original flooring- in case where carpeting or vinyl has previously been used- can sometimes create a health hazard. Adhesives used in the past sometimes contain asbestos and other harmful chemicals, so it's important that your hardwood flooring contractor is aware of any potential contaminants in your old flooring. 
  • Protruding nails- When your original hardwood finish is sanded away, nails and tacks in your floor can become exposed and create a hazard. After your hardwood floor is refinished, you should be careful walking barefoot or in socks. Look out for protruding nails to avoid injuries. 
  • Allergic reactions- Allergic reactions to dust, VOCs, and other substances brought into a home during hardwood floor refinishing can cause extreme discomfort. In general, hardwood flooring is considered a good option for those with allergies because it avoids some of the dust and allergen issues common when carpeting is used. However, it is possible that household members can be allergic to hardwood flooring products, so factor knowledge of any allergies into your selection of products and materials. 

For more information, talk to companies like JRK Flooring LLC.

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