» ADVICE » Varnishing a Floor with an Alcohol-Based Varnish

Better Understand the Use of Alcohol-Based Floor Varnishes 

Their origin 

Alcohol-based varnishes will give a rich golden colour to your floors. They’ve been used in Europe since their launch around 1926, but they were only introduced in Québec in 2005. Their popularity with contractors specializing in floor sanding was almost immediate. This had the effect of positioning the Synteko varnish company as a recognized player in the vitrifying coatings industry. Easy to use, alcohol-based varnishes provide a unique finish to your wood floor. Unlike crystal varnishes, they preserve the texture and authenticity of the wood grain. However, you should take care to use a full mask specially designed for this purpose during the entire product application process. Then, you should leave your home immediately after its application, since alcohol-based varnish produces fumes that are especially dangerous and toxic for your health; it may cause a multitude of symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, lung inflammation, eye irritation, loss of consciousness, etc. Always handle this product with care. We recommend using the services of a varnished floor professional to carry out such a floor restoration. 

The New, Eco-Friendly Version of Alcohol-Based Varnishes 

You’ll be happy to learn that you no longer have to put up with the inconveniences caused by the odours of traditional varnishes. It’s now possible to purchase a new version of alcohol-based varnish that’s quite eco-friendly: This is a hybrid varnish that’s halfway between traditional varnishes and new water-based varnishes. Varnish manufacturers have simply replaced the petroleum-based solvents contained in alcohol-based varnishes with water-based solvents. Although hybrid varnishes can be made from different resins, they’re all oil-modified and water-soluble. So you can now find a product that offers the same properties as a varnish made of alkyd, but without the associated disadvantages. Although the resins used may be similar, the solvents contained in varnishes may alter the overall look of your surface. For more information, contact us. 

The Properties of Alcohol-Based Floor Varnishes 

Thermosetting alkyd resins are used as binders in the field of varnish. The term “alkyd” comes from the contraction of the two words alcohol and acid. If you want to purchase one of these from a varnish retailer, ask for an alcohol-based varnish, which is its popular name. This is the vitrifying coating with the highest rate of g VOC/L. According to Environment Canada, alcohol-based varnishes are authorized to contain up to 725 g VOC/L. This is a special deregulation of the law on volatile organic compounds, which normally permits a maximum concentration of 350 g VOC/L for other varnishes. This places traditional alcohol-based varnishes on the bottom rung of environmental and eco-friendly choices. Check out our table of the advantages and disadvantages of varnishes. 

How to Apply an Alcohol-Based Varnish 

Some people wrongly believe that it’s possible to carry out the varnishing of a floor or staircase with open windows. But how do you get a perfectly smooth finish when the air is circulating in your house and transporting the surrounding dust? In truth, as specialists will tell you, it’s not possible to perform a floor finish in such conditions. To achieve an ideal varnishing result, air movements must be reduced as much as possible. You can apply an alcohol-based varnish yourself by taking care to follow all the safety and application rules, such as using a roller specially designed for this purpose, wearing a mask that covers your whole face, and controlling the air circulation. Please note that a half-mask is insufficient because the solvent will burn your eyes. 

To achieve an unparalleled finish, the wood floor sanding step is crucial and requires specialized equipment. Check out our dust-free sanding service offered at competitive rates. You can request a free estimate now. 


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