02 Apr In Search of Natural
Anderson Township, OH, family completes new home with natural oil hardwood finish and cork
“I wanted something natural,” Jennifer recalls. “But it also occurred to me that on the first floor, I wanted something that was spot-repairable.”
This was the beginning of a selection process that ended with the Monroes putting hardwood – finished on site with a natural, hard-wax oil — on the first floor, and cork flooring upstairs in the bedrooms and hallway.
When a customer mentions that they want to be able to spot-repair scratches from wear, instead of refinishing the whole floor as you usually have to do to maintain polyurethane finishes, natural oil becomes a lead contender.
Oil vs. polyurethane
The natural aesthetic offered by the oil finish was a top priority. Hard-wax oils soak into the wood, accentuating the natural grain, and over time, the appearance develops a rich patina. In contrast, polyurethane finishes – which have been embraced as the standard in the United States — put a plastic-like coating that sits on top of the floor.
Oil finishes also are markedly lower in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) than polyurethane, and Natural Interiors even offers zero-VOC finishing.
“I always like to consider options that are not what everyone else is doing,” Jennifer says. “And I am not a fan of the look of polyurethane.”
With two young children and a dog, Jennifer anticipates periodic touch-ups to the finish, which is a part of the normal maintenance of an oiled floor. Worn sections can be recoated without having to refinish large areas or the entire floor.
Cork reduces overhead noise
The Monroes also continued to keep the flooring natural upstairs where they installed an engineered cork floor.
This floor is put together in layers, with cork on the top, HDF (High Density Fiber Board) as a core, and a cork backing. This construction is among several points to consider when choosing cork because it affords the sturdiest, moisture-resistance product and keeps the corners of each panel flat and square. It also absorbs noise.
Nancy Kibbee is editor at naturalinteriors.com