We would like to have hardwood flooring installed (about 550 Sq. Ft.) but our daughter is unable to clear toxins from her body. We also need it to be waterproof as we have older dogs who sometimes have accidents so we would need to wet mop. We spoke to a hardwood dealer who said there is no way to use hardwood under our circumstances. Would your product truly work for our situation and how would we find a contractor who would be able to apply it?
Thank you for the email. Sorry to hear about your daughter, hopefully we can help with the floors. We do have customers with chemical sensitivities and illness who have their floors finished without issue.
It's always a good idea to check with a healthcare professional if there are medical concerns, which I'm sure you are well aware of but figure it's worth mentioning.
There isn't a one size fits all product since everyone has different sensitivities but we can usually figure out the best solution individually.
Aqualine Satin and NanoTech are the two most frequently used products. Some very sensitive customers have said they searched for years and the Aqualine Satin was the only thing they found that works for them. NanoTech has a similar health profile but has a higher satin sheen. Both can be applied in multiple coats to create a waterproof film.
I would try a pint of Aqualine Satin and finish a sample board with 4 coats, let it dry and see how everyone does with it. Any floor finish contractor can apply the finishes. Instructions are on the back label.
When finishing a home with people who are sensitive there are a few things we keep in mind.
1. Dust from flooring work can be harmful.
2. Fresh Air must circulate and be cross ventilated.
3. Surfaces that are wet can release odors, chemicals, irritants - even wood that is just wet with water.
Ideally the work is done, dried, aired out and cleaned up before anyone with health concerns enters.
This can't always be done so sometimes the best we can do is take as many precautions as possible to limit dust, odor and potential irritants.
I'm very chemically sensitive myself and do well with all of our products. Sometimes I've had autoimmune flare ups where I'm super sensitive to any smells. In those times the Aqualine Satin, Baby Safe and Looking Glass Beeswax Polish are the products I tolerate the best. Aqualine is the best for what you describe. It dries really fast, hard and waterproof. I really can't smell it much at all. There's no polyurethane in it so the isocyanates used to make polyurethane are eliminated completely. (NanoTech also undergoes a special process to insure no free isocyanates) Aqualine uses a unique pure acrylic that we know well and is made with an advanced and clean process that works best for sustainability and health reasons. We don't use the common toxic additives in any of our coatings so that helps as well.
Let me know how the sample goes and we can make adjustments as needed.
I hope this helps. With the above precautions, it's certainly possible to have a wood floor with chemical sensitivities.
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I should add -
No VOC - Special Linseed Oil and Looking Glass Beeswax Polish are zero voc, natural floor finishes but you mentioned you wanted a waterproof film. Penetrating finishes like this would not be waterproof overnight, only for temporary spills. Cracks in the wood wick moisture in given enough time. The other zero voc options are not non toxic and not safe enough for me to feel comfortable recommending when there is a child with health issues.
The safest option I know of for a pet worthy, waterproof floor finish is the Aqualine Satin. This is low voc, meaning it has a small amount of solvent that helps it form a waterproof film. VOC isn't a measure of toxicity although it is marketed that way sometimes. VOC measures solvent evaporating. There are safe solvents and unsafe. We stick to a few in our products that have found are safe and work well for health and sustainability purposes. Usually, when people say "No Voc" what they mean is "something safe".
I wanted to add that because I didn't address the no voc request earlier.
As far as contractors, any floor finisher can apply. Directions are on the back label.
Ideally, the sample pint is given to the contractor so they can provide a finished sample that can be tested for sensitivity; signed off on and matched on the whole floor.
Tom Rioux founded Earthpaint after becoming severely ill as a professional paint contractor.