The Ecology of World-Friendly Wood Finishes
If ever moisture content mattered in wood flooring being finished, it is now. Consumers are diversifying by using more and more exotic wood species for home flooring. As humans return to equilibrium with planet Earth, we are replacing chemicals with fundamental elements such as water. Eco-friendly wood finishes abound, and their quality has evolved to historic highs.
The new eco-friendly wood finishes are water-based and they contain less solvent than conventional solvent-based finishes. Since water is the main ingredient, put simply, the water-based wood finish interacts with the moisture content in the wood itself. Consumers need to be aware that two different moisture levels now converge: one is the moisture level in the water-based wood finish; the other is the initial moisture content level of the wood flooring itself. Eco-friendly wood finishes still stain, but they are comprised of water, plant extracts and minerals.
This is fabulous for the planet, but it creates a new and manageable challenge: moisture content in wood.
What Exactly is Moisture Content?
Wood is always gaining or losing moisture even after it has been cut and processed. In fact, wood’s moisture content levels are influenced by the changes in the relative humidity (RH) and the temperature of the surrounding air. Moisture content is the percentage of moisture within wood, and it is extremely important. When RH rises, wood absorbs water vapors and expands; when RH goes down, water evaporates from wood, and it shrinks. Even after wood is successfully installed, moisture levels of the surrounding air still influences its moisture content. This is not to be feared, but to be measured and managed. Wood retains its beauty and strength when we achieve the equilibrium moisture content (EMC): wood's prime condition.
Monitoring the Conversion
Thanks to electro-magentic wave technology, it has never been easier to measure and monitor moisture levels in wood. These days, industry and consumers alike hold the power of moisture control in their hands. Add your eco-friendly wood finishes with peace of mind, because Wagner Meters has a product solely dedicated to the moment: the L607 Waterborne Finish Moisture Meter. This meter is designed and calibrated to tell you when the wood is ready for the next coat of eco-friendly wood finish. Pull this meter from your belt loop, and run it over the surface of the whole wood flooring plank. The L607 indicates the moisture content of the wood flooring in just seconds. Wagner Meters are species-sensitive, which means that you can easily use the species adjustment tables included with the L607 to accurately measure the moisture content requirements of your preferred species of wood flooring products.
Water-based, eco-friendly wood finishes? No problem. Wagner Meters’ moisture meters precisely measure and assess the moisture content for your species of wood flooring.
Eco-Friendly Wood Finishes: Conclusion
If moisture replenishes, then water-based finishing products can enhance the toughness, scratch resistance and durability while still beautifying your wood flooring. Monitor the moisture content of your wood flooring finishing project with Wagner Meters’ moisture meters, and you ensure that your finished wood floor will provide the abrasion resistance necessary to enjoy your wood flooring for many years to come.