Making Important Changes for Ourselves and Our Customers


For years and years, it has been important to me that Champion Floor Company is staying on the forefront of our industry’s technologies. This goes for everything from my bookkeeping software to my technicians’ tools to the products and chemicals we use. Most of you probably don’t care much about what Quickbooks is doing for me. But you should care about how our tools and our chemicals change the environment of your home – both while we are working and after we leave.

When we sand a typical hardwood floor, we are going to remove about 1/32” – 1/16” from the top layer of the floor. While we aren’t changing the landscape much, this process creates a lot of dust. So much dust, in fact, that if we were to use no containment system the dust would discolor your ceilings. The traditional sanding process results in a wood dust particles count that is over 20 times the OSHA limit! (See Photo) Not only do we care about what our customers are breathing in, but we care about what our technicians are breathing in. Wood dust particles are a known carcinogen.*

The other big air quality offender is oil-based urethane. For decades these were the only real option for a urethane-sealed wood floor. Water-based products would come and go, but the technology was never really there to support the widespread use of those waterborne products – until recently.  These newer products are most certainly a result of not just newer technologies, but better evidence that the oil polyurethanes are incredibly unhealthy to be around, as they are high on VOCs. The VOCs in hardwood floor oil urethane products include benzene, formaldehyde, toulen, xylene and arsenic. All of these chemicals will off-gas at normal room temperature, leading to dizziness, eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches and damage to liver, kidneys and the central nervous system, according to the U.S. EPA. Some VOCs, including benzene and formaldehyde, are suspected or known carcinogens.**

All this leads me to the title of this article, “Breath Easier; What Champion Floor Company is Doing to Help Us All.“ We have made changes in both the way we sand your floor and the finishes we apply to keep our employees and our customers safer.

Sanding: Champion Floor Company offers Bona’s Atomic Dust Containment System. Bona’s system is the most advanced and powerful dust containment system available, generating 99.8% less dust in the air than the traditional sanding process. By preventing the infiltration of dust into drapery, furniture, cabinets, air ducts, and air conditioning units during the sanding process, this Greengaurd certified system makes the process cleaner and healthier. Champion Floor currently owns 5 of these trailer based units, making us the largest fleet in the St. Louis area.

Finishes: Champion Floor Company has also followed the water-based urethane technology closely over the years and we now use a waterborne finish formula by Professional Coatings Inc  on almost every job. Not only are these finishes healthier to be around (fewer VOCs), they’re more durable, they dry faster, and have faster cure times.

Changing the way we do business has not always been easy. And, we are constantly looking for new ways to help ourselves, our customers, and our environment. By cutting down on the amount of carcinogens we are using in your home, we are able to help everyone breathe easier.


About the author 

Ralph Kuehn

Ralph Kuehn is the President of Champion Floor Company in St. Louis and has been in thee flooring industry for over 35 years. He has experience with everything related to flooring, from installation to estimating and sales. He is proud to work with his 2 daughters who are also part of the flooring industry, and share his passion and knowledge of flooring with them.

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