How did that get on the floor?

We recently had a conversation with the folks at Kahrs Wood Flooring about wood finishing and their successful use of water-based technology.  It’s so successful in fact, that they offer a warranty on their finishes good for 25 years.  It got us thinking; what better test of a finish can there be than a floor?

Karhs Prefinished Walnut

So we took a look at other prefinished floor manufacturers out there.  It turns out that while Kahrs lays claim to being the first solvent-free flooring company, they are far from being the only one.  In addition to Kahrs, we found these other prefinished flooring companies also use environmentally friendly water-based finishes – all with outstanding warranties:

  • Mohawk – 25 year warranty
  • Bellawood – Certified 50 year warranty
  • Muskoka – 25 year warranty
  • Carlisle – Warranty for the life of the home
  • Mirage – 25 year warranty
  • Pergo – 25 to 35 year warranty
  • Mercier – 35 year warranty

There were a few others who do not offer such impressive warranties, but in all of our research we were able to find only one company that still uses an outdated solvent-based finish.

So we asked some of the local custom flooring companies, who use solvent-based (highly toxic) products like Glitza Swedish and GYMSEAL, what type of warranties they offer.  One offered no more than what the maker of the finish publishes on the container it comes in, two others said they would have to find out and get back to us, and one offered a 2 year warranty if you sign a maintenance contract with them.

Still, if you ask building professionals which types of finishes hold up best on wood floors, most will reply with one of the aforementioned solvent-based products.  And yet, none of the companies who use those products will give you much of a warranty on them.  Why is that?  Is it because in reality, they really are not all that durable?

It’s interesting how people, even professionals, hold onto standards long after they have been supplanted by superior new products or technology.  Prefinished flooring may not be right for everyone, but on one thing we can all agree; very few surfaces will test a wood finish more vigorously than a floor.

In our opinion, building standards which are no longer valid are held onto not because of what we don’t know; more often, it is because of things we think we know, but about which we are mistaken.

We hope you will join us in furthering the new standards for wood finishing – and we’ll see you at the job site.


6 Responses to “How did that get on the floor?”

  1. 1 Abner May 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I am not much of an environmentalist but one thing I do believe in is using green products in our homes. Since we spend a good deal of our time there it seems prudent to use the safest possible products. I grew up in a time when many harsh chemicals were used in homes and I think that could not have been good for our health; I have seen examples of Fresh Air Finish’s work and it is very beautiful, so obviously you lose nothing by using these new finishes.

  2. 2 bizmark May 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    As a society we are rapidly getting away from anything and everything that is toxic. Therefore, the next time we do any kind of wood finishing, we will be happy to use Fresh Air Finish products and methods.

  3. 3 RedGlobe1 May 9, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I thought less toxic materials, especially water-based materials, were the standard almost everywhere now. Why would the builders in this area continue to be so stuck on the old oil-based products? Changing to a different kind of paint is no more complicated than changing your brand of toothpaste – so why the resistance?

    • 4 Fresh Air Finish, LLC May 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      Actually, it is a bit more complicated than say, “changing your brand of toothpaste”. We must all keep this in mind; most building professionals are exactly that – professionals. Their well-earned reputations, built upon the truly fabulous homes for which this area is so well known, owe at least part of their reputation to the beauty of traditional – though toxic – custom finish work. Surely they cannot be expected to simply ‘change brands’ overnight.
      While there are those (sometimes contrary to their public advertisement) who really aren’t all that interested in more environmentally responsible building practices, we find that most of the building professionals in this area, truly are interested. All of them however, are understandably cautious when it comes to fundamental changes in the way they build new homes.
      Change will not come overnight, but it will come. And while it may be reasonable to expect the building professional to transition into healthier methods and principles, it is the consumer who is leading the way. This is already happening, as you correctly point out, and those who ignore that fact do so to their own detriment.

  4. 5 johnny urrutia May 9, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    In todays world,why would anyone consider toxic chemical treatments of any kind in a household when there are other options available?????

  5. 6 Hayjack June 1, 2010 at 8:44 am

    So we have a product which is safe for my home and family, carries a substantially better warrantee, looks every bit as good, and is at the very least similar, if not lower, in cost? What’s the problem??? Join the revolution!!!

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Non-Toxic Custom Finishes


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