Skip to content

Competencies covered

MSFFL3023: Apply solvent-based coatings to timber flooring

MSFFL3024: Apply water-based coatings to timber flooring

MSFFL3025: Apply oil-based coatings to timber flooring

MSFFL3046: Apply finishes to cork flooring

Safety and environment

Image for slide 1
Audio for slide 1 (mp3 |6|KB)
Many floor coating products are classified as 'hazardous substances', because they have the potential to cause harm to people's health or the environment.

The products you need to be most careful with are the solvent-borne finishes with high VOC emissions.

But you should handle all coating products with care, and take the time to read the safety directions on the side of the container if you're not familiar with it.

hearing icon
Image for slide 2
Audio for slide 2 (mp3 |6|KB)
Each product will also come with a material safety data sheet (MSDS).

This will provide more information on safety precautions and environmental care procedures, including details on long term health effects, what to do in the event of a spill and how to dispose of the product safely.

hearing icon
Image for slide 3
Audio for slide 3 (mp3 |6|KB)

Ventilation and fumes

Fumes are a particular problem with some products.

The manufacturer will specify the ventilation requirements and the type of respirator you should use.

Note that the mask you normally use to filter out airborne dust while sanding the floor may not be suitable for chemical fumes.

So you need to check that you've got the right cartridge type for the product being applied.

hearing icon
Image for slide 4
Audio for slide 4 (mp3 |6|KB)

Handling and storage

The MSDS will describe any specific handling and storage requirements, but here are some general guidelines that apply to all hazardous products:

  • Store chemicals in their own area, away from stormwater drains and out of the weather.

  • Never use plain drink bottles or other unmarked containers to store chemicals.

  • Clearly label all containers with the name of the product it contains if it is no longer in its original packaging.

  • Keep 'incompatible' chemicals well away from each other, that is, chemicals that are likely to react with each other.

  • Make sure that all vehicle activity is carried out well clear of the chemical storage area
hearing icon
Image for slide 5
Audio for slide 5 (mp3 |6|KB)


Liquid waste should never be put into the waste bin. Materials in the waste bin generally go to landfill, so it should only be used for dry, solid waste.

Left-over coating products should be poured back into a container and resealed.

You can then stockpile the containers while you wait for a licensed waste disposal contractor to pick them up.

Alternatively, you can take them to a waste transfer station yourself and leave them in the area set aside for paints and other chemicals.

hearing icon

Learning activity

Audio 6 (mp3 |6|KB)

Choose one solvent-borne coating product and get a copy of its MSDS.

Write down the following information about the product in your workbook.

  • Brand name and manufacturer.

  • Items of PPE that should be worn when mixing and applying the product.

  • Ventilation requirements in the room while you're working with the product.

  • Disposal procedure for used applicators and leftover liquid products.
hearing icon

  Go to  Assignment