Faux wood looks great and is easy to install – but can it reduce indoor allergens in your home?
We live in an age of clean water, easy access to medicine and a better understanding and health and hygiene – yet despite that, rates of allergies and asthma continue to increase. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) reported that asthma rates have increased by as much as 12% over the past decade, and more and more people are finding themselves impacted.
There are many theories why allergy rates are increasing, including the so-called ‘hygiene hypothesis’ that states that cleaner living conditions actually increase rates of allergies, because people don’t develop resistance to common allergens growing up.
One thing is certain, though – more and more people are thinking about how to combat the impact of allergens in their homes and lives, and for those looking to add a little custom character to their home, using faux wood rather than the real thing might be a good option to help with that.
On the surface of it, it might not be easy to understand why using faux might be a better option than the ‘real thing’ when it comes to preventing or reducing allergies, but there’s a lot to break down. The first thing is to understand what causes allergic reactions; and then understand why using faux wood rather than new or reclaimed wood might help.
Allergies are an auto-immune response in the human body. When presented with unfamiliar substances, such as pollen, mold or dust, some people’s bodies assume that these substances are harmful bacteria, and their bodies react to ‘protect’ them from possible infection. This reaction can present itself as coughing, sneezing or wheezing, or in hives, rashes or inflammation. This is why the summer months are especially tough for people with allergies, as it’s when plants and trees emit pollen and the air is full of substances that people’s bodies can react poorly to.
People’s homes can also be a source of allergens – and definitely more so in homes that have an abundance of wood in them.
There are a number of reasons for this. When it comes to reclaimed wood – which is timber sourced from demolished buildings, or other used wood material – there are an abundance of potential issues. Reclaimed wood has often been left outside in less-than-optimal conditions which means it can contain mold, which is a common source of allergy issues. Many types of reclaimed wood are also sourced from demolition sites, which mean they’re covered or infused with dust and debris. Some wood is reclaimed from factories or storehouses which once contained harmful chemicals or other substances that can inflame allergies. In general, any source of reclaimed wood tends to introduce an unknown element into your home which might trigger an allergic reaction.
In the case of reclaimed wood that’s been cleaned and treated to prevent such potential issues, or in the case of new wood that’s been aged or distressed to appear ‘old’, there are alternative problems. Treated wood is a known source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can come from paints, varnishes and waxes used to color and finish the wood, or chemicals used to treat it against mold or pests. Inside your home, the concentration of these VOCs can be ten times higher than outside, and can trigger very nasty reactions from those who suffer from allergies. These can include coughing and wheezing, or even physical symptoms like rashes and hives if sufferers come into contact with wood that still contains resins or chemical residue.
Many people are initially skeptical of this suggestion – but think of the last time you bought furniture. When you brought a new couch or sideboard into your home, you probably detected that powerful ‘smell’ that some people describe as the ‘new car smell.’ That’s the paint, formaldehyde and other chemicals used in the construction of the furniture being emitted. Even after the initial smell has faded, those chemicals will continue to be released for years afterward; and in some people they can trigger allergies.
The same is true when you introduce materials like reclaimed wood siding or beams into your home.
Our faux products, on the other hand, are completely different. They’re made from a lightweight and durable polyurethane foam which is a ‘closed cell polymer’. They emit no VOCs whatsoever, and in addition to that are impervious to water, rot and mold. This means they introduce no potential sources of allergens into your home; and are therefore a great alternative to using real wood for those who are sensitive to such things.
In addition, our faux wood products are easy to wipe down or dust and don’t trap or absorb any potential allergens; meaning that in addition to not introducing any potentially triggering substances into your home, they also help reduce the accumulation of them.
And the best part is that our faux wood products still look just as good as real wood and reclaimed timber. Our innovative molding process recreates the texture of timber in vivid three dimensions, and our intricate and detailed coloring process provides an incredibly realistic finish that is practically indistinguishable from real wood. They’re also very cost-effective compared to using real wood materials, and much easier and more practical to install.
So, if allergies are a potential issue for you or your family, using faux wood in your home instead of the real thing is definitely an option you should look into; and because of the vast range of styles we have available, choosing to ‘go faux’ doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the look or aesthetic you’re going for.