Livos is a Quebec manufacturer of natural wood finishing oils, and they are very transparent about the composition of their products which are mainly plants and some other natural materials. There are also no heavy metals used in the colouring pigments, so it is a completely sustainably-made and healthy product.
"In our natural wood finishes we use a mixture of cold-pressed linseed oil and natural resins, such as damar, beeswax and carnauba, instead of polyurethane” says Marc-André Coulombe, Director of Sales at Livos Canada, "so it is a very eco-friendly and completely non-toxic product."
Being safe to breathe, Livos products are suitable for everyone, but of particular value in the homes of pregnant women, young children and newborns, and anyone with respiratory issues or chemical sensitivities. Their Kunos oil is also approved for contact with food, so it is a great choice for sealing cutting boards or butcher-block counters, not to mention children’s toys - despite being inedible, they usually end up in young mouths anyway.
Non-toxic wood finishing oil can even be used on childrens toys © Livos
Kunos is an impregnating wood oil that acts as a dye, sealant and finish; it bonds with the interior of the wood but continues to let it breathe. This helps preserve the natural beauty of wood and enhance the grain and colour. As far as durability is concerned, the finished product is very resistant to wear, and individual sections of a surface can be easily repaired in case of scratching.
Ecohome’s Emmanuel Cosgrove is also a regular user - "I find it to be a great wood finishing oil to work with because it doesn’t have a powerful odour, but mostly in that it doesn’t stress me out working with it as it would if I were breathing an oil with toxins, and my family won’t be exposed to the off-gassing that occurs with most other surface finishes as they cure.”
Emmanuel goes on to explain how easy it is to work with. "Anyone can apply this themselves. Just sand the surface of the wood well before oiling it to allow the oil to penetrate more deeply. And as with any finishing product, it is better to test the colour compatibility with your selected species of wood by doing a preliminary test on a small piece before starting your whole job.”
Livos has an extensive product catalogue; the following is a short list of some that interested us for interior wood finishing.
- Kunos 240 - Universal colourless oil
- Kunos 242 - Colourless floor finish
- Kunos 243 - Superior protection for countertops and any wood in wet areas
- Kunos 244 - Available in 24 colours, it stains and protects wood at the same time and is suitable for all interior applications. Cost is $0.35 per square foot for 3 coats
Livos also has natural and non toxic wood finishing oils and products designed for exterior use that are suitable for staining and protecting decks, fences and exterior wood furniture.
Now you know about natural, food-safe, non-toxic finishes for wood surfaces and furniture. Learn more about sustainable construction and how to create healthy indoor spaces, all in the Ecohome Building Guide and the following pages:
Find more about green home construction in the Ecohome Green Building Guide pages - and learn more about the benefits of a free Ecohome Network Membership here.