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Using Low VOC Cabinet Finish

Answered by Brendan ~ June 2, 2010 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

I've used FSC-certified hardwoods on my new Florida kitchen cabinets and doors. Our kitchen remodeling goal was to stay on the sustainable side of everything where possible. Now I hear that it's hard to find low-VOC finishes and that they're tricky to apply. Even water-based finishes can have high VOCs. Are they, and low-VOC adhesives, expensive?

Rodney S. ~ Palm Beach, Florida

Brendan Fowler

The argument against low VOC products has long been that they are inferior and hard to use because all the "good stuff" has been taken out. This is not the case. I do all of my work in California, which has some of the strictest VOC regulations in the country, and the finishes on my projects look great. When low VOC products started arriving in the stores years ago they were a bit more expensive, but now they seem to be the same price as equivalent higher VOC products. As with any new product, there is a learning curve for how to best use the product. To say that it is more difficult to use low VOC products is not necessarily true; it just means there may be a slightly different application process that needs to be utilized. No matter what product you choose, check on the product warranty and see if you can find any consumer or industry reviews. Good Luck!

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