Monday, July 21, 2008

Floor finishes

Our new pine floor is in, and I'm in the process of finishing it. I went with a penetrating oil finish rather than a polyurethane. Initially I looked at Osmo Hardwax and Bioshield as more ecological options, but in the end I wanted to use a finish without any petroleum distillates or metal dryers.
It turns out that oil finishes are widely used in Europe, and most of the options come from there. There is more information here:

There are actually many options of penetrating oil wood finishes. This is a list of the ones I've found:

Osmo Polyx Oil
Bioshield oil and wax products
Land Ark
Velvit (nice collection of stain colors)
Sutherland Welles
Tried and True Wood Finish
Tung oil
Weather Bos
AFM Naturals Oils

WOCA (previously Trip Trap)

None of these were easily available locally. Some were available 45 minutes or more away. I thought I would be ordering whatever I chose. The exception is Waterlox, which does tend to be more available, and it was my fallback.

My choice was driven by my desire to go domestic, and to avoid petroleum distillates. Although I worried about the length of time some finishes took to dry, as I researched I discovered that many of the other finishes also take a while (a week or more) to dry, and I imagine that quicker drying is due to drying chemicals. I also had a strong preference not to sand between coats. In the end I went with Land Ark. I make no claim to have tested or thought of everything – I haven't. But time was running short and I liked Land Ark.

I put on four coats over five days, and have just finished buffing the floor. In fact, I feel a little like this laptop is moving back and forth in an uncontrollable way just like the buffer! I think I'm done. If I paint the walls, the room will be unused for another week at least, allowing the oil to dry and floor to cure further. It is not perfect now, and as time passes, it will be less so. But my hope is that it develops a patina, rather than becoming shabby looking!

Here's a picture of my floor (before the final coat and buffing):

[Some safer poly-type products I came across: AFM Safecoat, Vermont Natural Coatings.]

It's now very clear that the walls need to be painted, which wasn't on the short-term to-do list. However, I think I'll go for it anyway. I'm going to try to pick up some Mythic paint on Friday on the way to Fenway Park. There are no dealers near me, but there are dealers in the Boston area. Mythic is non-toxic, which is a big step up from simply low- or even no-VOC, and it gets good reviews from people who have used it. I'll be looking to match the BM Honeywheat color that I used in our family room.


Anonymous said...

Alison, I have lurked the GardenWeb Flooring Forum -for well over a month, trying to finally decide what type of floor to put in my new little cottage. I read your post there, and your messages and pictures here --just want to say that your pine floor is one of the prettiest that I have seen on the internet! Not even Carlile has such a good closeup of a pine floor! I do like Oak, but you may have just tipped the scales in favor of pine. I grew up in Hull, MA, Nantasket Beach --and have lived and raised 2 kids in Northern California. It's almost impossible to find a "wide plank" out west, so I'll have to pay the 7-9 hundreds of doallars to ship! Pine's afforable enough --but your hard work on install and finished really made that floor sing!! Thanks for sharing your story! Adora McNeil

Carey and Neil said...

Beautitful floor Alison! What color Land Ark floor finish did you use? I'm looking to do something like that on my newly installed pine floor. Thanks

Alison said...

I used Vintage Maple at 1/3 strength for the first coat, and concentrated finishing oil for subsequent coats.

Carey and Neil said...

Thanks. I forgot to ask if you purchased Land Ark locally? I'm from Massachusetts, as well. Appreciate your help

Alison said...

I had it shipped. I have 3 gallons if you're interested (3 gals liquid interior finish mixed with 1 gal vintage maple). Email everdaybest at g mail dot com. Did you see they're developing a new buffing wax?

Anonymous said...

I just saw your post on the floor finished with oil I believe back in 2008. How durable has it been? Do you have to repeat applications to keep the oil finish from showing wear in high traffic areas? Does it have good moisture resistance or are areas darkening from moisture absorbtion into the wood?
Thx - Considering an oil finish

Anonymous said...

Great blog as for me. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that theme. Thanx for posting this data.
Sexy Lady
A Level London Escorts

Anonymous said...

Nice work, your awsome content have forced me to to leave some positive feedback. Check Out Floor finishes and wood FinishesOSMO Wax Oil

Anonymous said...

Hi Alison - We are thinking of putting in a pine floor like yours. How has it been, 2 years later? Can you email me Thanks!

DAS said...

Alison, we all want to know how the floor has held up, and your follow up thoughts. A couple of requests for that here...