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Community and Q&A

Tar Paper vs Red Rosin Paper

Masb H | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I’m having hard wood floors fixed and the contractor wants to use Tar Paper vs. Red Rosin Paper. Is one more health-safe than the other?

I’m very sensitive to smells and chemicals. We had Fiberlock put down on the subfloor that I was sensitive to. The contractor said the Tar Paper would serve as more of a vapor barrier to it, but i don’t want to add more chemicals if Tar Paper is less safe than Red Rosin. Thanks!

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  1. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    If you are sensitive to smells, use the rosin paper.

    I've installed a lot of hardwood flooring, and I've used both asphalt felt and rosin paper. I have never detected an odor from asphalt felt (and I've never had a customer complain about odors), but there is no reason it use asphalt felt indoors if you are worried about odors.

    I have no idea why your flooring contractor thinks that you need a vapor barrier in this location. Neither asphalt felt nor rosin paper is an air barrier, so if you think that they will block the odor from the Fiberlock, I would just say -- maybe. I don't know how smelly the Fiberlock is. Nor do I know about how sensitive you are to chemicals.

    -- Martin Holladay

  2. Masb H | | #3

    Martin Holladay and Steve Knapp, Many thanks for your quick responses. I saw that previous thread, but read that Tar Paper and Asphalt Felt are different. Sounds like Rosin Paper is just safer in general, so will go with that. Would it make sense to put down two layers of the Rosin Paper to help with the remaining Fiberlock odor? Thx!

  3. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #4

    Sherman Williams makes an odorless oil-based sealer. If you're worried about smell from the Fiberlock, I would top coat it with the SW (or a similar zero VOC sealer).

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