Environmentally Friendly Low VOC Floor Finishes

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Dear Rob:

I am refinishing the hardwood floors in an older home. I’m looking for a natural/eco friendly stain and gloss that is non-toxic. Do you have any suggestions?

-Bridgette

Dear Bridgette:

It’s great to know that you are looking to use an eco-friendly and non-toxic floor finish. Choosing a finish is important, because the right finish will protect your floor for years to come.  When considering environmentally friendly finish choices, you want to choose a water based or water borne finish. These finishes have a low VOC (Volatile Organic Components or Compounds) because they use water instead of solvents to carry the urethane molecules.

Off the bat, my first recommendation would be to go with a water based finish made by BonaKemi.  Their floor finishing systems are GREENGUARD-certified for indoor air quality.  They offer a variety of finish choices, ranging from the very low VOC Eon 70 to the more durable Bona Traffic.   BonaKemi finishes are high quality, and I have had excellent results with their products.

Other environmentally friendly finishes and stains include products produced by Bioshield, Safecoat and Ecoprocote.  I don’t have any personal experience working with these products, so I can’t vouch for the results or durability you’ll get with them.

Because the experiences and preferences of flooring companies vary, it’s important to keep in mind that when you choose a professional to refinish the floors, they may recommend a different brand that is of equal quality that they are more comfortable working with. Be sure to discuss this with your flooring professional so they know what your needs and concerns are.

-Rob

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