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 the 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 influence 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.
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.
Ron is an application specialist for Wagner Meters, and has over 30 years of experience in instrumentation and measurement systems in different industries. In previous positions, he has served as a regional sales manager, product and projects manager, and sales manager with manufacturers involved in measurement instrumentation.