Natural Paints and Finishes are easy to use and provide a beautiful, robust and maintainable surface.
Paints and finishes are one of the main contributors to indoor air pollution in buildings after construction or renovation.
There are good alternatives to the toxic, unsustainable, petroleum-based products that have dominated the market the last few decades.
Paints can be a cocktail of chemicals, but the basic ingredients are:
Binder - the film that coats the surface
Solvent - keeps the binder in a liquid state until applied
Pigment and Filler - solid particles that provide the colour and texture
Additives - various other compounds that change the characteristics of the paint. These can be used to - modify the way the paint flows and dries - increase adhesion - resist UV damage - prevent the growth of mould.
Timber finishes are used to protect and preserve timber, as well as add a decorative finish.
Varnishes are a surface layer coating.
- essentially a paint without fillers and pigments
- usually non-permeable, which can lead to trapped moisture issues, especially with cracks or scratches
- superficially more durable, but once compromised refinish requires total sanding back and recoating.
Oils soak into the timber and preserve from the inside.
- often include waxes and resins that form a protective surface coating and finish
- usually permeable, allowing the timber to equalise moisture with ambient conditions
- not as superficially robust, more susceptible to damage from moisture, detergents and pollutants, but can be repaired, topped up and re-polished almost indefinitely.
Types of Paints and Finishes:
- oil-based means the main solvent is usually petroleum product based and high in VOCs
- contain many possibly toxic additives and pigments
- standard water-based paints are often low-VOC
- still largely petroleum product based and contain many possibly toxic additives and pigments
- better than oil-based paints, could be greenwash though, check the fine print
- Be aware that Low-VOC and No-VOC regulations do not cover all toxic substances that can off-gas from a finish
- may or may not be natural and non-toxic, read the fine print
- VOC labelling regulations do not cover all toxic substances and emissions
- a good default minimum choice
- contain only nature-derived raw materials e.g. plant resins, earth pigments, citrus oil solvents
- the best choice for sensitive areas
Sustainability of paints and finishes is also an important selection criteria.
Aspects to consider include :
- types and amount of waste from production processes
- renewability of resources used (e.g. petrochemical vs plant based solvents)
- energy intensity of production processes
- location of manufacture, energy required for transport etc
- waste management and disposal on site from application process
- recyclability at end of life, including effects on materials applied to (e.g. plasterboard, timber)
Livos has been making high quality timber finishes for more than 40 years. Many of their products are also suitable for finishing concrete and stone and most are certified food grade. They are an ideal natural floor finish can also be a beautiful non-toxic furniture finish and are a non-toxic two-pack or polyurethane alternative. Although not quite as tough, oil finishes are far easier to maintain.
ARDVOS Universal Wood Oil - For interior timber such as window frames and furniture. Clear finish.
KUNOS Natural Oil Sealer - For interior timber furniture and floors. Transparent finish in a range of tints. Produces a durable protective surface film.
KUNOS Counter Top Oil - transparent finish the same as Clear Kunos, more heat and water resistant for benches and tables.
ALIS Decking Oil - for exterior use on decks and furniture. Produces a water repellent, open-pored, fast drying finish. No chipping or flaking. Transparent finish in a range of tints.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Livos cleaning products offer healthier, environmentally sound options. Being concentrates, they offer a very cost effective alternative. VOC content is Zero.
TRENA PH Neutral Cleaner - for cleaning oiled, waxed, stained, painted or varnished surfaces. Also recommended for cleaning of linoleum, cork and stone. A mild and effective cleaner. Biodegradable.
GLANOS Liquid Wax cleaner - Maintenance emulsion for oiled, waxed and lacquered surfaces. Also for tiles and linoleum. Cleans while leaving a thin wax film.
SVALOS Thinner - For dilution of LIVOS oils. To brush out resin-rich woods before priming, cleaning of tools and equipment.
Bio Products is an Australian company that has been importing and locally manufacturing natural non toxic paint products since 1985. Bio Paint products are made from renewable materials like plant oils, waxes, resins and mineral pigments. They are gentle to the climate and resources, as well as low odour, low allergenic and extremely low VOC.
Bio Wall Paint, Deep Base and Primer
A matt paint for use on interior surfaces. (It is not recommended for use on timber or timber products such as MDF, masonite or particleboard.) Bio Wall Paint HD (Heavy Duty) has been tested according to AS 1580 for scrub- resistance and dry hiding power.
COVERAGE: 1L covers approx. 8 - 10 sqm. On concrete and rough surfaces 1L covers approx. 3-5 sqm.
PACKAGING : White 250 ml, 1, 4 and 10 Litres. Tints 100 ml, 250 ml and 1 Litre.
COLOURS : Supplied as a white base paint. The customer tints to obtain the required colour using the range of natural mineral pigments. Colours are: Red, Blue, Violet, Orange, Golden Ochre, Brown, Ochre, Yellow, Black, Green. Use primer to prepare new or rough surfaces. Use deep base for stronger colours.
Bio Water-based Enamel Lacquer and Undercoat
Bio Enamel Lacquer is a water based washable and durable finish, suitable for use on toys, panelling, skirting boards, architraves, doors and windows.
COVERAGE: 1 Litre covers 10-12 sqm., depending on the absorbency of the substrate.
PACKAGING: 250ml, 1 and 4 Litres