Demand for healthier building options drives the rediscovery of ceramic tile - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Demand for healthier building options drives the rediscovery of ceramic tile

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(ARA) - If you've ever had new carpeting installed in your house and found yourself suffering from a nagging cough for days afterward, you've experienced the effect some home improvement materials can have on your health.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be a significant health concern, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Concentrations of VOCs can be up to 10 times higher indoors than out, and building materials are among the sources of these noxious chemicals, the EPA says.

While VOCs and other home toxins can cause respiratory irritation in healthy people, they can be particularly troublesome to anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies. Many homeowners, striving to minimize the impact of their home improvement or new building projects on the environment and their health, are opting to use less toxic building materials.

One time-tested product at the heart of the healthy building trend is ceramic tile. In fact, the Healthy Building Network recommends ceramic tile as an alternative to widely used vinyl, one of the biggest generators of VOCs in home environments.

"Healthy design finds a natural partner in ceramic tile," says Patti Fasan, Tile of Spain ceramic tile consultant. "It's a hygienic, multi-use product that is eco-friendly, fire-resistant, slip-resistant and one of the strongest finish materials available."

The experts at Tile of Spain point to the healthful benefits of ceramic tile:

* Cleaner surfaces - Whether you use it on the bathroom floor or the wall of a master bedroom, ceramic tile is cleaner than other traditional surfaces. Because it's an inert material, ceramic tile won't harbor bacteria or other micro-organisms like mold or mildew. You can clean it with hot water; no chemicals or detergents are needed.

* VOC-free - Ceramic tile does not release any VOCs, the most prevalent type of indoor irritant.

* Allergy-friendly - Carpet can harbor dust, pet dander and other allergens. Ceramic tile does not, making it a more healthful alternative for people who suffer from allergies.

* Less places for dirt to hide - New, larger format tiles like Keraben's Transit Collection that are 33 inches by 97 inches, cover more surface area and require less mortar or grout, meaning there are fewer places for dirt and microbes to hide. You can also find grout with antimicrobial properties to help keep this area clean as well.

* Eco-friendly - If your health concerns extend to the environment as well, ceramic tile is an environmentally responsible building material. Clay, water and fire are the basic natural resources needed to create ceramic tile. And tile's durability ensures a longer life cycle, meaning less construction debris in landfills.

* Very versatile - It's now possible to achieve virtually any look with ceramic tile - even the appearance of natural wood. For example, the Contempora Collection by Saloni offers a range of wood-plan looks that create effects ranging from rustic chic to sleek contemporary. This versatility means you can use ceramic tile throughout the home, not just on the bathroom floor or kitchen backsplash.

With demand continuing to grow for more healthful building material alternatives, homeowners are rediscovering ceramic tile, and incorporating it into their home improvement and building projects in new ways. To learn more about ceramic tile, visit www.tileofspainusa.com.