Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

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offer such impressive warranties, but in all of our research we were able to find only one company that still uses an outdated solvent-based finish.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In our opinion, building standards which are no longer valid are held onto not because of what we don’t know; more often, it is because of things we think we know, but about which we are mistaken.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.

What’s better about that?

By far the best new technologies in architectural coatings (for wood, stone, drywall, etc.) are coming out of the green building world.  As a leading provider for some of these latest technologies, we are consistently asked by building professionals about the durability of non-toxic finishes as compared with traditional finishes.  The answer is: Measured by several different industry standards, non-toxic finishes score equal or better in all categories.

Laboratory Testing:

  • using finely calibrated scientific instruments
  • testing several equivalent measures of durability

Test Comparisons:

  • general durability, abrasions resistance, yellowing in time, finish flexibility, moisture resistance, solvent resistance, stain resistance, heat resistance, household chemical resistance
  • published results show superior performance across the board for modern non-toxic coatings

To the larger question of which finish is better, this blog is dedicated to an increasingly obvious answer:  Concerns over the quality of non-toxic finishes no longer form a rationale for exposing ourselves to serious health risks.  Looking beyond the question of durability, the health risks from toxic finishing materials (fire dangers, hazardous exposure, toxic waste and toxic off-gassing) affect a broad range of people, and present a very broad range of environmental impacts.

Dave Dussell, Manager of the Columbia Paint & Coatings store in Ketchum, ID has a bright yellow sign behind his counter which reads:  Identification REQUIRED for CASH SALE purchases of solvents.  ALL large purchases will be reported to the Police.  In fact, the company requires Dave to inform them of any unusual sales of these solvents, because they are being used more and more in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Another set of problems presented by the use of these dangerous chemicals stem from the fact that the biggest percentage of solvents used in the construction industry wind up as toxic waste, which must either be dumped on the ground or transported out of state − where it is ultimately incinerated! All of these problems lead to the simple question:  What’s better about that?

Upcoming blogs will explore the latest technology in architectural coatings, as well as the continuing developments in earth-based materials for the ultimate in health-conscious design.  Increasing emphasis on healthier materials is changing the way we build our buildings, and we are proud to be a part of that change.  But as greater numbers of people, especially the people who will use the new homes and businesses being built, discover the superior qualities of non-toxic coatings, we will all benefit from the increasing potential in this important and developing area of green building science.

We look forward to your comments, and we’ll see you at the job site!