Questions to consider about reusable and biodegradable !
Is there much benefit of going to the trouble of sourcing reclaimed or recycled timber; only to suffocate it in a plastic product made from crude oil? Imagine- building a new home or adding on to the one you have. You want to do the right thing and source timber that has been previously used, most likely loved and tells its own story. You wouldn’t use it because it is cheaper, as it will cost you more, but you decide to use it because of your conviction to do the right thing. The thought process should not end there. Thinking further, one would hope to be able to reuse the timber again and again if need be and if worst comes to worst, can be disposed of in landfill with absolutely no issue of damaging the environment.
There is a huge range of products to seal timber, anything from varnishes, modified oils to paints. Following through with the thought process of creating a sustainable and healthy home, one would think that the choice would be clear...but it isn’t. Why? The answer is simply due to a lot of Green wash. One does not know which way to turn or who to believe. Not only is the initial cost a factor however and more importantly, the long term maintenance of the project. The cost factor for example of a timber floor, over a period of time can work out more costly than the initial quote to do the initial work. One needs to consider various aspects of a project however and as is often the case, the floor sanding is completed towards the end of the project where cost blow outs have occurred, not to mention various delays with trades and installations. If this has happened, it is understandable that one would take the easy and cheaper option especially if no homework has been done.
Apart from the health aspect of a product, one should also consider the benefits of the coating on the timber itself. Is it a plastic coat? does it allow the timber to breath? Does it allow movement with traffic and temperature? These are just to mention but a few. Then with maintenance, how easy is it? Does one need a trades person to rejuvenate it? Can one even rejuvenate the surface or would it need a complete or partial sand back?
Then comes the life cycle makes a loop. When the floor is ready to be replaced, either when it has been sanded too often or as sometimes the case may be, the home owners have chosen a different substrate, Can the timber be simply put in landfill with no issues to the environment?
Not if a plastic synthetic coating has been used.