Allergic Living’s Go-To Goods for Renovating with Allergies, Asthma

in Healthy Home, Indoor Allergies
Published: March 28, 2019

Allergic Living susses out 8 must-have products for a healthier home renovation for those with environmental allergies or asthma.

If you’ve ever renovated or built a home, you’ve probably experienced it: having your mind boggled by the sheer number of building products on the market, in every shape, size, color and material. If someone in the home has allergies or asthma, or is sensitive to chemicals, it adds a whole other layer of complexity.

So what are some of the products that top green architects and contractors are turning to now? We’ve gathered a list of some of their go-to favorites – and a couple of new additions to the market. Just remember to test products, where feasible, before using them in the home, since what’s safe for one person’s allergies or asthma may trigger symptoms in another.

Eye-catching Kirei panels are made from renewable materials. Photo: Kirei
Kirei Panels

Healthy homes don’t need to be bland, and Kirei proves it in a big way with the company’s eye-popping wall panels and cabinet materials. Made from renewable products such as sorghum straw, bamboo and coconut shells, as well as low- or zero-VOC finishes, the highly textural boards can be used for anything from feature walls to cabinet fronts. Looking for peace and quiet? They also make acoustical panels.

Ultratouch Denim Insulation

Made from recycled blue jeans, Bonded Logic’s Ultra Touch provides everything you want in an insulation – excellent thermal protection, sound absorption, fire resistance, mold resistance – but it doesn’t contain formaldehyde or other chemical irritants like many other types of insulation. The company boasts that it’s so safe that it requires no warning labels; and it installs just like any other batt insulation, too.

Rubio Monocoat finishes wood floors without VOCs. Photo: Getty
Rubio Monocoat

Wood coating can be a tricky business, especially for people with asthma, but many health-minded pros opt for Rubio Monocoat. It’s zero-VOC, comes in 40 different tints, is easy to use, and you can apply it to all types of wood in a single layer. In the process, it protects the wood from scratching, moisture and other damage, and gives it a beautifully natural glow. What’s not to love?

PureBond Hardwood Plywood

Laminate flooring, particle board or plywood, or any product that involves layers of wood glued together can spell trouble in the home for those with allergies or asthma. But PureBond swapped out the often formaldehyde-laden glues with a soy-based adhesive, so you can skip the hefty VOC emissions, and get better moisture resistance to boot. Perfect for cabinets, shelving, furniture and more, and made in North America. (See the project gallery here.)

Countertops from IceStone contain glass sparkle and won't off-gas. Photo: IceStone
IceStone Countertops

Quartz, granite and solid surface countertops are all good bets because they don’t off-gas, but IceStone adds extra sparkle to any space. It’s made from concrete and tiny bits of recycled glass. You can choose the colors of the glass, so it’s tailor-made to your taste. The options are extraordinary.

AFM Safecoat

Long before most consumers had ever heard of volatile organic compounds, AFM‘s founder was working closely with allergists and environmental scientists to make products that put people’s health first.

That is why their no-VOC paints, stains, adhesives, caulking and other coatings are a go-to choice for people with asthma and sensitivity to chemicals. They’ve also launched Safecoat Naturals, a line of plant-based finishes that are biodegradable and don’t emit toxins or other irritants.

Add vibrant color with Fireclay tiles, made with recycled content. Photo: Icestone
Fireclay Tile

If you’re looking for a splash of color in your kitchen or bath, San Francisco’s Fireclay Tile will hand-make gorgeous tile exactly to your liking and ship it your way; and many of the company’s lines incorporate recycled content that ranges from old window panes to CRT television monitors.

American Clay

If you want to really go natural, check out American Clay, an alternative to paint, wallpaper and plaster that’s made from all-natural clay and pigments. Unlike most latex paints, it breathes, so it resists mold, and it absorbs sound. As for esthetics, it’s got a wonderfully calming, organic look, and you don’t have to scrimp on color, since it comes in a variety of earthy hues.

With product ideas from by ZeroEnergy architect Stephanie Horowitz and OrganicARCHITECT founder and author Eric Corey Freed.

More Healthy Home articles:
Spring Cleaning Checklist: Keep Water and Mold Out of Your Home
Laying Down the Best Allergy-Friendly Flooring Choices
Allergy-Friendly Painting: How to Skip the VOCs