Monday, July 21, 2008
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
Velvit (nice collection of stain colors)
Tried and True Wood Finish
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.