» ADVICE » Varnishing a Floor with a Crystal Varnish

A Traditional Crystal Floor Varnish 

For some people, crystal varnishes still represent an excellent price-quality ratio. When applied correctly under the right conditions, they’re resistant. This floor varnish, which is in the moisture cure category, is a somewhat capricious product during its application, since it requires a relative humidity between 50 and 80% (matures under the effects of humidity). It will therefore be harder to achieve the ideal conditions during the winter season. Crystal varnish is also available in a clearer version that will give your floor an authentic colour. If you choose this product, however, we recommend relying on the services of a floor sanding professional. 

Are Crystal Varnishes More Resistant Than Water-Based Varnishes? 

A study conducted by an independent firm on different types of varnish positioned crystal varnish among the most resistant varnishes on the market, but they’re no longer the only ones since the latest innovations in water-based varnishes. Crystal varnish maintains a certain level of popularity due to its low cost and its resistance to wear. Many homeowners still use it, especially for rental apartments. But you should know that certain water-based varnishesare just as resistant as traditional varnishes, if not more so. Most owners of bungalows or private homes (condos) prefer to pay extra to use a more lasting and eco-friendly varnish. They thus avoid all the inconveniences attributable to oil-based varnishes. Often, they even save money by saving on relocation costs. 

The measuring instrument used to evaluate the resistance of a varnish is the Taber test(ASTM D-4060 test), a standardized method recognized in the industry. 

Is Crystal Varnish Eco-Friendly? 

The latest crystal varnishes comply with thelaw on volatile organic compounds. In fact, since September 9th, 2012, oil-based varnishes must contain less than 450 g VOC/L. However, they’re still very toxic and require the use of a mask. The solvents contained in crystal varnish are very aggressive and hazardous to health. Of course, newer oil-based coatings are less harmful to the ozone layer, but they aren’t less harmful to humans. If you opt for crystal varnish, you’ll have to leave your home for the duration of the work. In addition, you’ll also have to remove all the food that hasn’t been vacuum-sealed from your house, or else it could get contaminated. 

Over the next few days, the solvent concentration and toxicity level in the air will decrease. However, some people with respiratory issues may experience side effects for several weeks. Crystal will continue to be the bane of 21st-century environmentalists, but it nevertheless remains in the category of the most durable floor coatings. To learn more, check out the table of the advantages and disadvantages of crystal varnishes. 

Properties of Crystal Varnishes 

Although Health Canada has regulated the permissible quantity of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per litre, oil-based varnishes aren’t any less harmful to health. Crystal is made up of a petrochemical-based solvent and a urethane resin. It’s also referred to as moisture cure varnish. Crystal varnishes mature in humidity. That’s why the windows must remain closed until a dry and hard surface is achieved. There’s a phenomenon attributable to crystal varnish that few people know about. It can be observed on wood floors in apartments in the Montréal area. Once the crystal varnish has cured, the resin becomes extremely hard and cements the slats to each other. This process is referred to as the block effect.