design&decor Healthy Oils For Floors B y C a r ly P e t e r s Oils have been used to finish hardwoods for years, but many of today’s manufacturers utilize an acrylic or polyurethane variety instead. The finish that oil provides cannot be matched in terms of warmth or refinement, and will still hold up to every day wear and tear without losing its luster. Jen Derrett, Business Development Manager for The Floor Show, explains that there are two types of oiled hardwoods - air-dried, pre-oiled and UV-cured oiled. “The big difference is air-dried woods have oil that has impregnated the wood and will provide the best protection but still allow the wood to ‘breathe’ because it will have open pores,” she explains. “Wood that is UV-cured oiled is flash cured with a UV light so it gives the look of oil, with a matte finish but the oil isn’t given a chance to absorb into the wood.” Because of this, the UV-cured option will require a little more TLC when it comes to scratches, while air-dried provides less hassle. “Air-dried is perfect for families since scuffs and scratches can be fixed in minutes. You can clean these floors with a broom, vacuum or a damp mop daily without causing damage. And the floor never requires a full re-sand. Just apply the oil refresher in the spots needed,” states Derrett, adding that because of the woods natural appearance, these blemishes often are very hard to notice in the first place. The oils that are used on the line The Floor Show sells are all-natural, environmentallyfriendly, and made from 100 percent natural vegetable resin in compliance with Canadian regulations on VOC emissions. The newest line of air-dried oiled hardwoods comes from 35-year old Alexandra Fortier, founder of Parquets Alexandra, a Canadianbased company. Featuring species such as birch, larch, and maple, the line is sleek, ranging from smaller planks of three to four inches, in tones of gray, and other fashionable colours. For a more European, wide-plank look, flooring powerhouse DuChateau Floors offers a textured, wire-brushed line of air-dried hardwoods that provide a more rustic flair.
Summer 2014 | STYLE MANITOBA | 93