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Community and Q&A

Is there a way to seal VOCs?

Carfar96 | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

We had our front stained. The company used DuraSeal stain. I know it isn’t the most ecofriendly, but since it was exterior door we agreed because they said it was very durable. Well, they spilled the stain all over the subfloor and brand new drywall on the interior of the house. I am freaking out a little bit since we have a chemically sensitive child. We are installing hardwood floors (which will not create an air seal). I plan to have them pay to replace the drywall that is soiled. However, I don’t know what to do about the subfloor. Is there a way to seal in the chemicals and VOCs? I don’t want to make our daughter sick. It is a very large spill.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    By definition, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are volatile -- in other words, they want to evaporate. Open the windows, install a few fans, and be patient. The VOCs will eventually evaporate.

  2. user-2310254 | | #2

    I am very sensitive to VOC smells. Even low VOC paints and stains are usually too much to bear. Checking around I found VaporLock Clear (, which seam pretty benign. (I would try a test outdoors before applying though.) Ideally, I think you would want to coat both sides of the subfloor and any contaminated members. Of course, it may be easier to replace the contaminated sections of subfloor.

  3. Carfar96 | | #3

    It is my understanding that these products can continue to off gas for years. My daughter is extremely sensitive. Replacing the subfloor will be different as it is all around a framed wall too. What about something like this:

  4. user-2310254 | | #4

    Carolyn. You might want to ask your builder to price cutting out and replacing the damaged sections. That might be the simplist and most effective solution if you need to stay on schedule.

  5. Carfar96 | | #5

    Thank you, Steve! We are definitely cutting out the drywall and replacing that. Will replacing the subfloor cause any structural issues? It is about a 3' by 3' section.

  6. user-2310254 | | #6

    Carolyn. I have a hard time imagining that it would, but you should ask your builder since he is building the home and responsible for delivering a good end-product.

  7. Mark Gardiner | | #7

    Carolyn, you might ask the builder for the Material Safety Data Sheet aka Safety Data Sheet, "MSDS" or "SDS" for short. This should tell you the chemicals you are dealing with. I too am sensitive to certain chemicals and this is where I begin before using a VOC type product.

    I also found links on the DuraSeal site under supporting documents on the specific product page.

  8. Jon_R | | #8

    Maybe paint the area with a 100% solids, no VOC epoxy.

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