25 Mar The Greenest of Them All
FSC-Certified Floors: Add a zero-VOC finish for hardwood flooring that’s better for health, and the planet
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label is arguably the best guarantee that a hardwood floor was sustainably harvested. But that isn’t enough for homeowners who want flooring that does not emit chemicals.
Manufacturers of polyurethane and aluminum oxide floor finishes have appeased some of these customers by developing finishes with lower-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content. But a growing number of people want a floor that’s prefinished without potentially harmful chemicals.
“There is a demand for really ‘green’ finishes that don’t emit chemicals in your home or business,” says Jim Johnson, president of Wanke Cascade – a wholesale flooring distributor headquartered in Portland, Oregon. “That demand will continue to grow as more people learn that flooring prefinished with natural oil is readily available.”
Wanke Cascade supplies flooring products to more than 1,400 retail stores in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska. The company’s FSC-certified hardwood flooring, finished with natural oil, is from DuChateau Floors.
DuChateau Floors, which originated in Holland in 2000, set up a U.S. headquarters in San Diego in 2007. The flooring is styled after the vintage hardwood found in Europe centuries ago. The DuChateau hard-wax oil prefinishing system is zero-VOC and contains no biocides or preservatives. The company also makes a natural floor cleaner and hard-wax oil — not available from other companies — to use for floor maintenance and finish repairs.
“DuChateau is the true market leader,” says Mark Buckwold, commercial sales manager for Wanke Cascade. “And now that DuChateau has established the market, other companies that traditionally have used only polyurethane and aluminum oxide finishes are coming out with their own oil-finished products because they want a piece of this market.”
Better indoor-air quality is not the only advantage of DuChateau’s natural oil finish. The oil penetrates the wood and brings out the appearance of natural wood, rather than giving it a plastic-coated or laminate appearance, which often results when using polyurethane and aluminum oxide finishes, says Misal Tagle, DuChateau co-founder.
If the floor gets scratched, the oil can be used to easily “spot repair” the area, which is not the case with a synthetic polyurethane and/or aluminum oxide finish. The market for this finish is growing as more customers see its natural, rich patina in contrast to the less-natural appearance of most prefinished hardwood, Tagle says.
“It is the European-style, natural-looking, beauty of hardwood,” Tagle says. “People in the U.S. traditionally have wanted the laminate look, but that is changing, and it will continue to change as more retailers become familiar with the advantages of an oil finish.”
Read Part Two of this blog here.
Contact these retailers for more information on DuChateau flooring: Design Works in Spokane, WA, 509-922-9800; Eco Floors in Portland, OR; Division 9 in Woodinville, WA (commercial work only); and Contract Furnishings Mart in Redmond, WA, 425-861-7589.
— Nancy Kibbee is editor at naturalinteriors.com