Standard floor refinishing doesn’t just make a mess, but also has a detrimental effect on indoor air quality and the environment. Between the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the paint finish and the dust produced during the refinish process, the byproducts of refinishing your hardwood floors can cause a host of health problems. For these reasons, it is important to find an environmentally friendly method of refinishing your hardwood floors that will keep your family and the environment healthy.
Many people choose to hire a professional to refinish their floors because of the time and labor involved in the refinishing process. When searching for professionals in your area, look for companies that specialize in dust-free and eco-friendly floor refinishing. If you plan on refinishing your hardwood floors yourself, here are a few important tips to follow.
Use a high-quality dust mask and a respirator. You can avoid exposure to toxic dust and fumes by using a good dust mask that filters out particulates and a respirator that filters out chemical emissions.
Protect your heating and air conditioning system from sanding dust. Don’t use your HVAC system during the job. Seal all ducts within the area to be sanded, and seal all doorways leading to uninvolved areas. Shortly after the project is completed, replace your HVAC filter as it will likely accumulate some sanding dust.
Minimize the dust particles that end up in your finished floor. In order to get the best results, sanding is usually unavoidable. Old finishes, surface irregularities, and some stains can be removed by sanding with the correct sanding equipment. Choose equipment that captures as much dust as possible during the sanding process–it will definitely be worth any extra cost.
Use natural oil-based stains for the best results. Choose a natural oil stain that is derived from plants. Although they can be pricey, acrylic and urethane stains are full of chemicals that are quite dangerous and hazardous to the environment.
Choose water-based or natural oil-based finishes. There are many water-based clear-coat products that wear well, are easy to apply, and produce low emissions. They do contain some toxic chemicals but they are safer than the alternatives.
Provide plenty of fresh air during floor refinishing. It’s difficult to provide good ventilation while trying to minimize the amount of dust that settles on wet and drying floors. It’s a great idea to open the windows for cross-ventilation while you work, but be sure not to pick a windy day with a high pollen count to finish your floors.