Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Log and wood stain sealer - low VOC information

We have started this blog to help inform log home owners and enthusiasts of log home related products, ideas, solutions and even questions. So in this avenue, here is an article about the safety and environmental issues of log treatments.

Some important items you should know about stains, sealers and strippers used in the treatment and maintenance of your log home, log cabin and decks by one of our vendors, Timber Pro UV.

The article was written by Sheri Steber of Timber Pro UV this year.

It's important to know the right questions to ask to determine how safe the products are that you are going to use.

Sheri Steber suggests visiting company websites and calling tech support lines to realize better answers than the ones you might get from clerks at store counters. Many higher durability green and sustainable coating can not be found on chain store shelves, but rather factory direct or through specialty companies such as Ecohaus, Eco Home Improvement, Wholesale Log Depot, or Green Building Center.

Following is Steiber's checklist for determining true environmental product safety:

What are the VOC levels of the product?

The tag line "Low VOC" is simply not enough. Two hundred and fifty grams per liter minus water is considered low VOC, yet many companies are making finishes much lower than that. Ask the manufacturer for the actual numeric level of VOC's.

What is the nature of the active ingredient?

Or what is the ingredient that remains to protect the wood once the solvent and carriers have evaporated in the drying process? "One company I investigated said they used lemon oil and Castor oil as their carrier (the liquid that pulls the active ingredient into the wood), and they were waiving the bio-renewable resource banner", but the active ingredient for this stain was actually a polyester resin which is not made from plant oil. Acrylic and latex stains usually use some form of petroleum in the making of these resins and they can be low VOC and quite durable. With the advent of nanotechnology, new resins, both oil and acrylic are coming into the chemical world which are amazingly durable and low VOC.

What is the clean up material for the finish?

Consider that if you need to clean up with mineral spirits, the clean up must be somewhat toxic and therefore must not be dumped down the drain. You can no longer assume that if the product is water clean up it is water-based. It could be very easily be oil-base water borne which is water clean up and the residue must not be poured down the drain either.

How long has the product been a low-VOC finish?

If it is less than four years, it's probable the track record is yet unproven. Seek a finish that has been around for a while and has several years of R&D behind it to produce it's current level of durability and sustainability.

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Well - that's it! Hope you found this to be informative. If you would like more information on the products carried by Timber Pro UV, visit their website or call them for more information. If you are looking to buy stains and log material, please check out Wholesale Log Depot or Lang Creek Log Homes.......... Until next time.

1 comment:

Dean Edwards said...

Great information. Thanks and keep it up.