May 10

5 Factors for Building a Healthy Home

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5 Factors for Building a Healthy Home

Building a home is more than just the frame, siding, and a roof.  A home should be a tranquil, relaxing, and invigorating space. Your quality of life should be one of the top priorities when designing your future home. Another important aspect of a home should be the homeowner’s health and well-being.

Build with Your Health in Mind

In addition to being more energy-efficient, new homes today are becoming much healthier for their occupants. Homebuilders are now taking a holistic approach to constructing new homes. Here are a few features and floor plans used to make this happen.

1. Healthy Materials

There are alternative building materials available that will make your home healthier. The use of natural products is a good start.  Select cabinets made of real wood and solid surface kitchen countertops. These include slate, granite, and marble.

For drywall, look for the highest amount of natural gypsum and the lowest amount of synthetic gypsum.  Synthetic gypsum releases large amounts of mercury into the environment during production and is less healthy for your home. Any material or product that does not emit chemicals is a good option. 

If something has that new smell, it is more likely giving off some chemical gases. Opt for the most natural materials with the least amount of manufacturing and processing done to them.  Some of the worst materials to have in your home are:

  • Plastics
  • Chemical Sealants
  • Synthetic Carpets
  • Sealants and Paints with VOCs
  • Pressed Woods
  • Man-Made Laminate Materials

2. Better Indoor Air Quality

Even in a new home build, your air may not be clean. Dust, paint particles, and other building material particles may infiltrate your vents and float through the air which can cause breathing problems. Installing a whole-house air purifier can clean your air of pollutants such as bacteria, mold, pollen, pet dander, and other allergy triggers.

3. Connection to the Outdoors

Homeowners who want green and healthy homes have access to the outdoors high on their list of needs. Being able to bring the outdoors in has a wellness aspect to it.

Equally important is the amount of natural light new home designs bring to interiors. Access to natural light has many health benefits. Your new home should include floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor patio or outdoor enclosures. You can use this space to exercise, read, or just relax.

4. Flooring

Flooring is one of the biggest components of new construction and it has a huge impact on the health of a home. You can improve the health factor by choosing a product that has the fewest amount of chemicals and toxins in it.

Consider flooring options that hold the least amount of moisture or don't trap a lot of dust in the fibers. Many homeowners are choosing hardwood floors.

You can skip the carpet as well. Carpets hang on to dust, dirt, and particles that cause allergies. Even with the most stringent cleaning methods, these particles become embedded and cannot be removed.

5. No or Low VOCs

To keep your new home as healthy as possible, the type of paint you choose is important. Select paint with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOC). Short-term exposure to VOCs may cause symptoms such as irritated eyes and nose, headaches, and nausea. Some options are completely VOC-free paints that are still high-quality and produce great results. 

Building Materials to Avoid

Many building supplies produce a lot of dust and toxic chemicals that people will inhale. These chemicals are shed from furniture, insulation, sealants, adhesives, and paint. You can minimize your exposure to these toxins by avoiding the following materials.

Vinyl flooring, blinds, wall coverings contain phthalates, chemicals used to make plastic soft and flexible. Exposure to these chemicals can affect the brain and reproductive system.

Adhesives, sealants, and surface coatings can contain numerous toxic chemicals.  These chemicals can release, or off-gas, into the air we breathe. Chronic exposure throughout a lifetime may be linked to certain cancers and liver and kidney damage.

Engineered wood can have formaldehyde and other VOCs that can off-gas. Exposure to formaldehyde can lead to eye, throat, nose, and skin irritation and increase the risk of asthma.

Some building insulation can contain toxic flame retardants and other chemicals that can cause asthma, congestion, and headaches.

Trusted Construction Professionals

You don’t have to go all out and spend a lot of money to build healthy features into your home. Just a few changes during the building process will help.

At RT Construction, we take a holistic approach to home building that puts our homeowners’ health and quality of life at the forefront. Contact us today to get started building your healthy home.

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