Chicagoland Pro

Using Green Stains and Sealants

Not all that long ago we wrote about going green with your hardwood flooring choices and now we’re going to talk about green stains and sealants that are available today. As had mentioned in that previous blog, hardwood flooring could emit harmful volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. We talked about some hardwood flooring choices and ways to get around installing hardwood flooring that emit VOCs. Now we are turning our attention towards stains and sealants. If you are planning to install hardwood flooring now or in the near future, you should really consider what stain and sealants will be used. Here’s some facts on stains and sealants:

1- It isn’t all about flooring choices: While we mentioned in our previous blog that your hardwood flooring could contain VOCs you must also keep in mind that the stains and sealants used to protect your hardwood flooring could emit the same hazardous compounds. What can you do? Choose an alternative, also known as green stains and sealants. There is a natural alternative available which is a water-based wood floor sealant made with plant and animal ingredients that is known to emit fewer VOCs during application. This means that if it emits fewer VOCs during application, it will also emit far fewer VOCs long after application has been done. Great news!

2- A little history on sealants: Before there were chemical enhanced modern finishes, wood sealants were primarily made from resins, waxes and oils that were found in seeds and even tree saps. Over time, chemical based products were flooding the markets.

3- Natural finishes: An interest in healthy indoor air quality has grown immensely over the last few years and so have the choices for less toxic wood flooring finishes. What does a less toxic hardwood floor finishing product have in it that makes it “less toxic?” Less toxic finishes are more water-based rather petroleum- based. Natural finishes use as much natural ingredients as possible, which is up to 98% in many cases. If you are looking to have your hardwood flooring refinished it is a good idea to examine the products being used to seal your flooring.

4- Stains and sealants: Sealing your hardwood flooring is essential for the longevity of your hardwood flooring since sealing it will prevent it from getting scratched. If your hardwood flooring installation company uses a water-based polyurethane sealant the wood usually darkens permanently. It tends to bring out the hardwood’s true color, which many homeowners love. If you are looking to change your hardwood flooring’s color so that it matches your cabinets you should use a wood stain. Stains are different from a sealant since they penetrate the wood grain instead of just covering it. Staining hardwood flooring is not the same as sealing it, so putting a finish on top becomes essential. Like low VOC finishes and paints, stains are now also being made with air quality in mind. We have seen many companies produce healthy finishes, paints and also stains. Good to keep in mind!

5- Overall performance: Lets face it, performance is key. Many have mentioned and been concerned over the performance aspect of water-based products. Flooring experts have stated that water-based products don’t hold up as well as the petroleum-based products. A lot of water-based products got a bad reputation as the first few products that came out on the market that were made water-based were poorly made and from there the bad reputation spread. Over time water-based products have greatly improved and their performance has only improved and some say that now the water-based products are even better than the oil-based ones. It goes to show that health and performance can both be found in one product.

Comments or questions on green stains and sealants, feel free to comment below or contact us.

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