Carpet versus Wooden Flooring

In a recent interview with TalkFloor Radio, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun said it’s time for critics of carpet – Carpet vs Wood - 1specifically those critics who say carpet is bad for indoor air quality – to lay their cards on the table.

Mr. Braun went so far as to challenge carpet detractors to a debate on which floor covering is more beneficial to indoor air quality. No mudslinging, he emphasized, but a focused dialog based on scientific data.

In the interview, Mr. Braun said his challenge stems from frustration with the continued perception in the media and public that hard surface flooring holds advantages for allergy and asthma sufferers – an enduring perception that is not based on reliable scientific research, he added.

CRI has long cited scientific data which supports carpet as the best option for people who suffer from asthma and allergies. The science behind this is rather simple: carpet acts as a passive filter, trapping dust and other particulates that are held in place and out of the room air until removed with proper vacuuming or cleaning extraction. Foot traffic on hard flooring, on the other hand, readily knocks dust back up into the breathing zone.

CRI has amassed a list of more than 25 various studies that support this view. They are compiled in the international literature review document, “Carpet, Asthma and Allergies – Myth or Reality?” by Dr. Mitch Sauerhoff.

Here are two examples of the studies listed in Dr. Sauerhoff’s work:

Carpet vs Wood - 2

  • A 15-year Swedish study showed no link between the use of carpet and incidences of asthma or allergies. Quite the opposite was discovered, in that when carpet usage decreased, the number of allergy reactions increased.
  • The colloquially-named “Inner City Asthma Study” found that children with asthma who had carpet in their bedrooms had no more symptoms, doctor visits or missed school days than children with hard flooring in their bedrooms

CRI advises having a maintenance plan that includes regular vacuuming with a Seal of Approval certified vacuum and professional deep cleaning every 12-18 months. This maintenance plan will create a healthy indoor environment for asthma and allergy sufferers. 

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