The smell of a new car or a freshly cleaned house can make you feel pleasant, but it is not the same when you install a new carpet. A new carpet is tightly secured using glue, and this glue emits fumes. However, is carpet glue toxic? Is It hazardous to human health?
In this guide, we’ll discuss whether carpet glue is toxic or not and what are the ways you can protect yourself from the toxic gases that carpet emits.
What Is A Carpet Glue?
Carpet glue is a product that uses adhesive to create a strong bond between the carpet and the floor. It is typically used in securing carpet tiles, wall-to-wall carpets, or area rugs to surfaces like wood, vinyl, or concrete.
It is applied on the back of the carpet, and after the glue is applied, the carpet is fixed in its place. Then, it is pressed down and clamped for about 24 hours to ensure a strong bond.
If you are a do-it-yourself person and have decided to install the carpet by yourself, then reading the manufacturer’s instructions and following them is recommended. The wrong application of the adhesive will lead to poor adhesion and rippling of the carpet.
However, applying the carpet glue correctly will secure the carpeting to the floor and ensure that it will last for years to come.
Is Carpet Glue Toxic?
Yes, carpet glue is as toxic as your newly installed carpet. The adhesive used in carpet glue is effective in securing your carpet to the floor but also has some adverse effects on human health.
It contains benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, styrene, acetone, and these are some of the most harmful VOCs. But sometimes, it’s not the glue but the carpet emitting harmful VOCs and PFCAS.
Carpets can emit VOCs for five years or more. The most dangerous are the synthetic carpets that are made from nylon fibers with a polypropylene backing. These carpets release over 40 chemicals, including styrene and 4-phenylcyclohexane (4-PC).
These are a few people who are extremely sensitive to the smell of VOCs:
- Senior Citizens
- Small animals
- Asthma or severe allergy sufferers
What Are The Symptoms Of A Toxic Carpet?
A toxic carpet and carpet glue can give you the following symptoms:
- Loss of memory
- Skin rash
- Burning eyes, nose and throat
- Difficulty in breathing
- Hair loss etc.
If you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, do not hesitate to visit your doctor.
What Are VOCs And PFCAS?
VOCs and PFCAS stand for volatile organic compounds and Perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids, respectively. These are the toxic chemicals that are found in the products that are used in treating new carpets, such as stain protection, carpet glue, and carpet-care finishes.
After the carpet is installed, it goes through an off-gassing process, which releases these harmful gases.
VOCs and PFCAS might have long-term effects, and according to some studies, these gases can also cause leukemia and lymphomas, while other harmful gases may cause cognitive impairment and hearing loss, among other conditions.
What Are Some Best Low-VOCs Carpet?
The best carpet materials that have low VOCs are sisal, jute, wool, and cotton. As we discussed above, synthetic carpet fibers release the most number of gases, so instead of going for a synthetic carpet, you can buy carpets that are made from natural fiber.
Natural carpet fibers don’t emit volatile organic compounds and are free of toxic chemicals.
In addition to low-VOCs, wool, and cotton carpets contain lanolin, which shields the carpet against allergens. Sisal carpet fiber is also an excellent eco-friendly option as it is extracted from the Agave plant leaves.
Talking about the jute, it is not as durable as sisal fibers but is biodegradable.
What Can You Do To Tackle VOCS And PFCAS?
Carpet glue and carpets do emit some toxic gases, but this doesn’t mean that you should not install a carpet. In addition to carpet glue, all the flooring and furniture contain toxic VOCs. Therefore, this means that you must take precautions to help reduce the VOCs and PFCAS in your home.
Here are a few tips that you must follow:
1. Ventilation Is A Critical Element
Yes! Ventilation is the key element when it comes to when you are installing a new carpet. You have to air out the carpet before installation, and after it is installed, highly ventilate it for 72 hours.
2. Planning Your Renovation
If you plan your renovation, consider it before the carpet is installed. This will ensure that the off-gasses emitted from the paint won’t get absorbed into the carpet.
3. Keep Your Carpet Clean
Whether you want to remove the dust and debris from the carpet or eliminate the VOCs and PFCAS from the carpet, regular vacuuming is mandatory.
You can use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters and vacuum the carpet using the proper technique.
How To Buy A Low-VOC Carpet?
Sometimes, it’s not the glue but the carpet that is toxic to your health. When buying a new carpet, remember these three certifications to look for. There are three main third-party certifications: CRI Green Label Plus, GreenGuard, and GreenGuard Gold.
1. CRI Green Label Plus
CRI Green Label Plus is an indoor air quality program. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) sets standards for indoor air quality for the carpet industry.
2. GreenGuard Certificate
This certification is operated by Underwriter Laboratories. It is a consumer protection company that verifies that carpet emits low-volatile organic compounds.
3. GreenGuard Gold
This certification has higher standards and is the premium version of GreenGuard. Carpets that have an official seal of GreenGuard Gold have the lowest VOC emission.
Is carpet glue toxic?
The answer to this question is tricky, as both the carpet and carpet glue are toxic. They off-gas harmful gases, which can be harmful to your small pets, babies, and people who have asthma or allergies.
However, you can take certain precautions to prevent the toxic gases from harming your health. For instance, when buying a new carpet, look for the above-mentioned certifications. This can also be done when buying carpet glue.
How long does it take for a carpet glue to dry?
It is important to let the carpet glue completely dry before the carpet is placed in its place. Typically, the carpet glue takes around 24 to 48 hours to get dry. However, some carpet glue might take 72 hours to dry.
How long do carpet glue fumes last?
The chemical off-gassing process is where the new carpet releases chemicals. In terms of carpets, they emits fumes for five years or more, but for carpet glue, the fumes linger for a few days or weeks and then dissipate with time.
Can carpet glue fumes make you sick?
Yes, carpet glue fumes can make you sick. The symptoms include anxiety, convulsions, and dizziness.
Daleyza knows a lot about carpets! She has worked with carpets for over 7 years and can help with things like putting them in, keeping them clean, and replacing them. She really likes carpets and spends most of her time learning about new ways to work with them. When she’s not learning about carpets, she enjoys reading books. She’s really good at helping people choose the right carpet for their homes and making sure they’re happy with it. If you want to know more about carpets, Daleyza is the person to talk to!