What is a nicer surprise than to remove the carpet from a room in your home and to discover a valuable original parquet floor is hiding beneath it! Especially when the prices for installing a brand new parquet floor costs around £ 125.00- £ 145.00 per square meter and that just for simple herringbone or basket weave pattern.
1. Check for any missing, damaged or loose blocks
Always check the whole floor if any block is no longer attached to its underfloor- base-you notice either some movement when walking on it or a hollow sound when you ‘’knock-on-wood’’. Even if your floor is missing blocks-removed for adding central heating or other plumbing or building work – check the rest of the floor too.
Most original parquet floors have small tongue and grooves to lock them together you need to handle the removing of loose or damaged blocks with care-you don’t want to loosen connecting blocks needlessly. Missing blocks can be sourced from another rooms which you do not plan to restore or from reclaimed yards.
2. Clean blocks and underfloor
Old parquet floors were fixed normally with Bitumen an ‘’adhesive’’ no longer allowed to be used inside the house. Any bitumen has to come off as best as possible. The underfloor (concrete or plywood) must also be cleared of old bitumen layers. Any residue of Bitumen will affect the bonding time of the modern adhesive you use to install the blocks back.
3. Leveling the underfloor
You might discover your underfloor where blocks have been removed is uneven. Or the removing of Bitumen has damaged the concrete or the plywood. You can use acrylic leveling compound to level a concrete floor out as best as possible-3mm per coat. Allow sufficient time for the compound to dry before you start installing the wood blocks back. For uneven sheet material (plywood) you can try level it out with hand sander or nailing thin sheets of hardboard onto it-smooth side down!
4. Re-installing blocks
Have a good look at the existing pattern your parquet floor is laid in, you will get the best result when following this as precise as possible. Gaps should be kept as small as possible, that will depend of that how good you manage to clean the tongue and grooves from the Bitumen. Use a notched trowel to spread a modern parquet adhesive on the underfloor, this will create ridges of adhesive onto which you firmly place the blocks. Remember that adhesive is not a filler for deep or large dips in the underfloor. Cut the blocks to the right size and install them into the pattern. It might be necessary to remove the tongue of some blocks but that’s not a problem.
5. Sanding the whole floor
Start with vacuum-cleaning the floor. The equipment necessary for this part of the job includes –belt/drum sander, edge sander, buffing machine and small corner and hand sanders. If you notice many height difference between the blocks, especially when re-installed blocks meet old one’s – start with grit 40 or even 36 . It is advised to sand with the grain, but herringbones and other patterns could make this a bit problematic. Nothing to worry about, the numbers of sanding rounds you will have to make will sort this problem. Start at one wall of the room and ‘’walk’’ the belt sander across to the other wall, walk back sanding over the same area. After you’ve done the last row turn 90 degrees and redo the whole room in the same way. Place grit 40 paper on the edge sander and sand the areas where the belt sander couldn’t reach. Repeat the whole task now with grit 80. Before you start clean the bag of the edger from the dust, because you will need grit 80 clean dust, which later you will mix with resin in order to fill all gaps between the blocks. The dust from the first sanding will contain dirt and traces of the old finish layer. After finishing sanding clean the whole floor with vacuum machine.
6. Filling gaps and last round of sanding
Mix the collected dust with a special resin. Don’t make too much it dries quickly. You can ‘’plaster’’ the whole floor with thin layer of filling paste using a flat trowel to fill almost every tiny gap. Don’t worry about excess filler the third round of sanding will clean it off. After filling all gaps leave the filler to dry for 30 min, then the floor is ready for third round of sanding. Use paper grit 120 this will remove excess wood filler and give the floor smooth surface. For greater result you can use buffing machine and buff the floor this will help removing small scratches and imperfections from the belt sanding. You should expect great result if you manage to buff the floor properly.
You can choose from two options –using clean lacquer or using Hard wax oil. Both products can deliver great results. The oil will penetrate the wood and create nice and smooth protective layer showing the natural beauty of your pine or oak parquet floor. The lacquer in the other hand will build up a strong and hard wearing layer which will protect and preserve for many years your floor.