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Green and healthy floor refinishing: 5 tips from the pros

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(BPT) - As many homeowners prioritize natural beauty and ease of maintenance in their living spaces, hardwood floors have become a popular flooring option. And for many consumers, that means refinishing existing wood floors that need a little help to regain their original luster.

If you’re considering sprucing up your floors, you may want to pay close attention to the environmental impact of your plans. It's important to factor in the processes and products that will optimize your family’s health and wellness instead of exposing them to potentially harmful chemicals.

Happily, today’s new hardwood floor refinishing systems and products offer better options for a safe and efficient process. Here are five steps you can take to ensure your floor project ends with a gloriously lustrous, durable, beautiful floor that won’t adversely affect the inhabitants of your home.

1. Choose a credible contractor.

Shop around for a professional who understands how to work with the specific floors you’ve installed without introducing toxicity into your home environment. The best alternative may be a Bona Certified Craftsman® who’s been trained on how to revive, recoat and refinish wood floors of all kinds without using potentially harmful chemicals.

2. Make a joint plan.

Instead of simply handing the entire project over to your contractor, work with him or her to create a refinishing plan that specifies how, when and where the work will take place and what kinds of products will be used. One way to make that easier is by using Bona’s Floor Visualizer, a new online tool that can help you visualize how different flooring choices will look in various rooms of your home.

3. Go dustless.

Insist that your contractor use a certified dust containment system that will eliminate virtually all floating dust particles from the floor sanding process. OSHA advises that airborne wood dust is carcinogenic, which can lead to respiratory issues or even cancer.

4. Opt for a waterborne finish.

While some contractors offer less expensive options such as acid-cured varnishes, conversion varnishes or “Swedish” finishes, those varieties contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can adversely affect your home’s air quality. The formaldehyde in acid-cured finishes can agitate respiratory illnesses and/or cause nausea, dizziness, headaches and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat. Another problem? Those harsh finishes can keep emitting problematic chemicals for up to 90 days as it cures.

In comparison, water-based finishes are lower in VOCs, emit minimal odor, dry much quicker and are overall safer and more convenient for people, pets and plants. Further, they’re durable, beautiful and clear-drying on all kinds of hardwood floors.

5. Know best practices for maintenance.

Once your waterborne finish is cured, you can best maintain your newly gorgeous wood floors by avoiding the use of vacuums, steam cleaners, vinegar-and-water solutions, oil soaps, paste waxes, furniture polishes and other harsh cleaning products formulated for other surfaces. Instead, look for cleaning solutions like Bona’s Hardwood Floor Cleaning solutions that are developed for wood floors, are biodegradable, use plant-derived ingredients and are Safer Choice certified.

With today’s technology, there’s no reason to settle for hardwood floor renovation techniques that are harmful to the environment and your home. Choose wisely when it comes to the health of your family. For more information on safe and environmentally sound care of your hardwood floors, visit US.Bona.com.