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Ceramic tile offers homeowners a low-toxic alternative

What: Ceramic tile is a low-toxic and longer lasting material for flooring, walls and bathrooms. Tile can be installed in most areas of the home in place of carpet or sheet flooring.

Application: Installing ceramic tile helps maintain a healthier living environment in addition to its other benefits.

First, while it might seem obvious to say so, ceramic tile has a hard, smooth surface. This is important because smooth-surfaced material is easier to clean and is easier to visually inspect for cleanliness. This is in contrast to soft, porous material, such as carpeting. Porous material may appear clean, but can hide the presence of particulates, such as dirt, pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and other toxins.

Second, durable materials like tile protect healthier living environments because they are less likely to break down into particulates that can harm indoor air quality.

Third, ceramic tile does not emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), whereas new carpet continues to emit them for a long time after it is installed. Care should be taken however, to specify that the adhesives used to install tile are water-based and produce a minimum of VOCs.

Fourth, in addition to its benefits to a healthier living environment, tile is also resource efficient because of its durability. Durable materials are environmentally preferable for several reasons. They lessen the demand for limited resources and avoid the embodied energy costs of the materials needed to replace them.

Finally, durable materials are better for your pocketbook in the long run, because they tend to require less maintenance and fewer repairs.

For these reasons, ceramic tile is resource-efficient, environmentally responsible and helps promote a healthier living environment.

Benefits: Ceramic tile lasts longer than other options. Also, it does not contribute to poor indoor air quality.

Challenges: Ceramic tile will cost more to install than carpet or sheet flooring.

Information provided by Earth Advantage, an Oregon-based nonprofit organization that specializes in green building. Info: www.earthadvantage.com