How to get Perfect Parquet
It’s always a heart warming moment to see old and dull parquet flooring restored to its former glory. Parquet speaks of timelessness and art deco style and its versatility offers unique and insightful design to all types of floors.
All of the above being intrinsically true, it is therefore a sin for any homeowner to put up with less than perfect parquet! Whatever type of parquet you have, in whatever condition the process of restoration is always the same: sanding, repair/replace tiles then refinishing.
Like most things in life worth doing however, the restoration of parquet should never be undertaken lightly or by the ill prepared. Preparation is everything and it is always worth listing and then re-listing the process before you think about touching that first tile. Parquet is laid by patterning together square edged wood tile blocks that are then glued or pinned (depending upon the age of the floor) to the underfloor. When your parquet was initially laid there is a good chance that it was prefinished by the manufacturer, so if this is your first time at parquet restoration then it is essential not to cut any corners. Your floor won’t thank you for it and it may well cost you dear in the future.
The Sanding Technique
Next you will need to hire the best quality sander you can. If you opt for a drum sander then be sure to ask about the pitfalls of using a drum on delicate parquet tiling. Drum sanders in the hands of the inexperienced can leave gouges in the floor that can be impossible to repair and will mean expensive parquet tiles will have to be replaced instead. A general rule of thumb is to never have the drum sander switched on and static on the floor.
The sanding process should not be rushed and each tile should be carefully sanded before moving on to the next. For corners, niches and borders or if your parquet has a medallion centrepiece, you may wish to use a small hand held sander to get into all areas. Don’t be alarmed if, once the first sanding has been completed, your parquet looks a little ‘bald’. This is part of the process and if you touch the floor now it should have a uniformity of smooth texture throughout. Give the floor a light vacuum to remove dust particles.
Examine the floor carefully for loose or cracked tiles, nails or tacks or any other damage. Any gaps between the tiles must be filled at this stage by applying a fine wood putty or grout to the space. Once you have made the necessary repairs you should repeat the sanding process. Please do not apply the second sanding without fully attending to any damaged tiling. If a tile looks to be rotten or severely cracked it will have to be replaced before continuing the process or you run the risk of the blemish being magnified on the finished effort. If your parquet came with the house the chances are it is fairly old and as such it is imperative to treat your floor with as professional a refinishing as possible.
The Second Sanding and Finishing
When the second sanding has been completed, vacuum carefully and inspect again. If the parquet passes muster then it is time to apply the finishing. Parquet is versatile enough to accept all kinds of topcoats including varnish, woodstain, lacquer or oil. Veneer should be applied by hand and a lint free cloth, sparingly. A little goes a long way here so avoid leaving puddles of finishing product seeping into the tiles as this will leave a nasty uneven finish which will have to be redone. Whatever type of finishing you use, leave it to dry for at least 24 hours before reapplying.
Although restoring parquet is extremely satisfying, if you are unsure of any of the process or have limited carpentry knowledge it may be best to enlist the aid of a specialist parquet restoration company. Your parquet will love you for it.