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The Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Flooring

When picking out new flooring, many people overlook the toxic chemicals that some flooring types can emit into the home. Young children and pets can be especially susceptible to these toxins which is why it’s important to choose a floor that is as natural as possible and free from any toxic chemicals that can contribute to indoor air pollution. Use this as your guide to non-toxic flooring. 

Carpet

Carpet has traditionally been a popular choice of flooring, however as we become more aware of the health risks associated with carpet flooring people are searching for more natural options. There are many areas in which toxic chemicals could be used within carpet, including the dye used to colour the carpet, adhesives used to bind carpet fibres, and the chemicals used to create resistance to stains. New carpet installation is a large contributor to indoor pollution, a recent EU study identified over 59 hazardous substances found in carpets. 

Carpets hold these chemicals for months, if not years, but fear not, if you are set on choosing carpet or a rug for your home, place the rug outdoors or a well ventilated area for at least a week, as the first few weeks are when the carpet expels the most toxic fumes.

Hardwood Flooring

There are two types of hardwood flooring, solid or engineered. When installing hardwood floors the most common option is to glue the floor down. There are many safe, non-toxic glue options that you can use, speak to your installer about sourcing a non-toxic glue. Alternatively, flooring profile options have advanced including 5G click, which simply clicks together allowing you to ‘float’ the floor, without requiring glue. 

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood flooring is considered the safest and least toxic option as it’s completely natural and free from any toxins. Solid hardwood floors are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber. It has many advantages, including its durability, with proper maintenance and care, solid wood flooring can last a lifetime. For an even more eco-friendly option, choose 100% FSC certified wood floors, as the timber used to produce the floor comes from legal sustainable sources. However, as solid hardwood floors are 100% wood they can’t be used in moist areas, including bathrooms and basements.

Engineered Hardwood 

Engineered hardwood flooring has low toxicity and similar advantages to solid hardwood flooring, but it can also be used with underfloor heating. Engineered flooring is made from multiple layers of wood for extra stability.

Laminate

Laminate flooring mimics hardwood, but instead uses synthetic wood. Unfortunately, due to the toxins and chemicals in the bonding adhesives, laminate isn’t the safest option for non-toxic flooring.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is also another safe option, as the tiles are usually made from non-toxic materials. However, as tiles require a thinset mortar for the tiles to adhere to, as well as grout to fill the spaces between each tile. While, the tiles themselves do not contain these chemicals, it is possible that these products do.

In Summary 

When choosing your flooring opt for the most natural materials and products for a non-toxic home that is safe for pets and children.

Atkinson & Kirby is committed to supplying non-toxic hardwood flooring, with solid hardwood floors being manufactured at our mill in Britain. All of our hardwood floors are FSC® and PEFC® meaning you can be sure the timber was sourced from sustainable forests. View our solid hardwood floors or engineered hardwood floors.

If you would like to order a sample, or speak to one of our experienced customer service team, contact us here.

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Atkinson & Kirby Relocates Head Office

Manufacturer and supplier of premium hardwood flooring, Atkinson & Kirby, has relocated its headquarters to Chirk, North Wales, joining the company’s existing onsite manufacturing and distribution facility. As part of the ongoing development of the company, Atkinson & Kirby has relocated its office headquarters to join its existing manufacturing and distribution facility in Chirk. The move will improve both the service and quality of products by having all staff in one location, unifying working relationships between all departments, from marketing to distribution, as well as improving efficiency, customer service and delivery. Atkinson & Kirby still retains its office and distribution in Livingston. Tradition is an integral part of Atkinson & Kirby and the company is proud to remain one of a few British manufacturers of hardwood flooring, with a selection of solid flooring being produced in its Chirk mill. Tony Miles, CEO of Atkinson & Kirby, comments: “The consolidation of all offices to Chirk is a big move and demonstrates just how serious we are about British manufacturing and sustainability. “We are FSC® certified and take pride in the quality of wood we supply, with rigorous inspections at various stages of production, making sure the wood is always from a sustainable source. “We are a family business and above all, excellent quality and customer service are our priority. The move is already proving successful, with a unified workforce, improved communication and efficiency.

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Smokin’ Hot Flooring

Wooden flooring is beautiful, natural and aesthetically pleasing, as well as being able to fit into almost any interior design or space. With the vast choice available there is nothing dull about choosing an engineered hardwood floor, but have you considered opting for a smoked floor? "The smoking process gives the floor a unique range of complimentary tones..." The smoking process gives the floor a varied range of complimentary tones which give a completely unique finish and unlimited design options, as no two boards will be exactly the same colour. Smoking (also known as fuming) is a traditional method for enriching and darkening the floor’s appearance. The tannic acid within the oak reacts with ammonia to produce the final colour. Not every tree, or even every board contains the same quantity of tannic acid, therefore the colour and appearance can vary significantly from board to board and throughout the finished floor. It is a common misconception that fuming or smoking involves application of ammonia directly into the oak. In fact, the smoking process occurs when the oak reacts to the presence of ammonia in the atmosphere. The smoking process involves wood being placed in an enclosed, fully sealed chamber with all of the surfaces that require treatment being exposed to the circulating air. Ammonia (ammonium hydroxide solution) is introduced into the atmosphere by placing a container with the solution on the floor of the chamber. The ammonia in the atmosphere causes the tannins in the wood to be brought to the surface changing the wood’s appearance. The concentration of tannins within the wood determines the final colour and appearance of the oak, including overall darkening and interesting colour variation. Different parts of the wood contain varying amounts of tannic acid and therefore react differently to the process.  For example sapwood typically has a concentration of about 1%, whereas heartwood can contain up to 13%.  As such, a board showing fairly high levels of visible sapwood will result in an interesting marbled pattern when smoked, due to the sapwood not changing in colour as much as the rest of the board. The colour variation that results for the smoking process will be apparent between different boards, but also throughout each individual board. Whereas a stain is a colour applied purely to the surface of the oak top layer, the process of smoking creates a chemical change throughout the entire oak top layer.  This means that the resulting colour runs all the way through the oak wear layer, so unlike stained products if you scratch the surface the colour is not removed. To recap, here is a list of handy points: Smoked oak boards will have large colour variations It is best to hire an experienced fitter and to ensure they work out of at least 3 packs at a time to ensure an even colour distribution throughout the finished floor The colour extends throughout the oak top layer so any scratches will not result in a removal of the colour Smoked floors are perfect for high traffic areas as they can withstand more damage. If you need to sand and refinish a simple re-oil will get them looking good as new. View our full range here. Call our sales team on 01695 573234 to order samples or get expert flooring advice.

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