As a renewable raw material, wood is one of the most versatile and most sustainable interior design materials. Above all, designer furniture or custom-made furniture made of solid and solid wood give a facility a sense of quality and atmosphere. However, because every coin has two sides, a natural product such as wood does not come without minor disadvantages. For example, wood needs to be cared for regularly to stop the weathering process or signs of wear and tear and protect the material from moisture, solar radiation, and the resulting damage.
There is a large number of products for the surface treatment and care of wooden furniture. But not all of them are suitable for indoor wood care. And a large number of the paints and varnishes available are not only harmful to health but also to the environment. (Many products contain toxic solvents.) When choosing a caring but also gentle indoor wood preservative, factors such as environmental compatibility, disposal options, the effects on the air quality in the room, and the longevity of wood care should be considered.
The harmfulness of transparent glazes, varnishes, and the like to the environment ranges from high (for example, petroleum-based solvents produced with high energy consumption and pollutant emissions) to low (such as the extraction of natural oils from the wood oil tree). All wood care products must be disposed of separately as toxic or hazardous waste. That is why you should only buy as much as you really need. If possible, for the sake of the environment and your own health, you should always opt for a water-based care sealant or a glaze made from a natural oil to maintain your wooden furniture.
Effects on The Environment and Health
Especially in the house, you shouldn’t expose yourself to avoidable dangers. Like paints and varnishes, glazes and wood oils can also contain high levels of volatile, organic compounds that contribute to air pollution and even cause health problems.
Seals and care glazes can even have worse effects on the room’s air quality than paint because they have to be applied more frequently – especially on areas used a lot, such as floors, tables, and chairs. Commercially available wood varnishes contain toxic and carcinogenic ingredients. Depending on the ingredients’ composition, some products have more or less strong effects on the environment and health.
Transparent products for surface treatment and care of wood last different time periods – depending on their composition. And they have different properties when it comes to protecting the wood from water, heat, and chemicals. Water-based glazes seal the wood like a protective film. Natural oil seals penetrate the wood, making it more durable, but it remains prone to scratches and dirt outside.
Tip: If you want to benefit from both products’ care properties, you should first care for your solid wood furniture with oil and then apply a protective layer of glaze.
Wood Care with Natural Care Oils
Woodcare oils are only slightly processed oils from renewable resources, such as linseed or calo nuts. They are characterized by the average duration of action. Natural care oils penetrate deep into the wood to protect it from the inside. That is why they offer less surface protection than other glazes or lacquers. Nevertheless, oils still give wooden furniture certain protection against moisture and, above all, are environmentally friendly.
Natural wood-care oils contain fewer of the above-mentioned volatile compounds because they harden by absorbing oxygen rather than by evaporation of solvents, leaving a binding agent. However, many of these oils have to be diluted with a diluent, which increases the proportion of volatile organic compounds. That is why you should only use as little thinner as necessary and repeat the wood care about once a year.
Wood Care with Water-Based Glazes
Water-based wood stains are also among the more environmentally friendly alternatives for wood care. The composition is getting better and better – both in terms of care properties and emissions. Also, they are easy to use and easy to remove if spilled. Since less harsh solvents, petroleum derivatives, and other toxic substances are usually used in water-based glazes, the environmental damage of these products is significantly reduced. Remnants, stains, drips, and excess can easily be removed with soap and water.
Most water-based sealers dry quickly. Not only can you apply several layers in one day, but you are also only exposed to volatile organic compounds for a limited time. However, such glazes must be applied quickly and carefully. They offer average protection against the effects of water, heat, and solvents on furniture made of wood but do not last as long as maintenance oils.