Refresh Parquet Flooring in Your London Home
With a high percentage of pre-war London bungalows concealing original herringbone or chevron style parquet tiles underneath their carpets, it is no wonder that homeowners are seeking to refresh this beautiful and timeless flooring to bring beauty and additional value to their home.
Even if the floor has missing, damaged or rotten tiles, these can be removed and replaced and dull, drab parquet flooring refreshed, renewed and lifted to original shine and luster making it a floor to be proud of.
Initially it is always a good idea to go over the floor with a careful eye to ensure all the tiles adhere firmly to the sub or underfloor. If there is a movement when a tile is walked on or a regular squeak is heard then the most likely cause is that the tile has become separated from the underfloor. Unattached parquet tiles also have a hollow ring about them if rapped unlike the muffled, slightly cost sound of a secure tile.
Original parquet care
If the parquet is of original pre-war style it will have been laid tongue in groove and this being the case damaged boards should be removed very carefully to avoid damage to interconnected blocks. Replacement tiles can be sourced from builders’ yards, wood reclamation specialists and parquet floor sanding company, which may be particularly helpful if you are the proud owner of a bespoke or unusual style of parquet. Another thing to remember when resourcing tiles is that they will be in imperial measurement. Check carefully as to the type of wood you have. Most parquet flooring of this era was oak but this is by no means certain so check first before trying to match tiles.
If you are having trouble sourcing additional tiles you may be tempted to use tiles made from a different wood – but never do this. Even if the colours almost match the tile will stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the overall look of the floor.
Original parquet would have been secured by means of bitumen, which is no longer in use in the UK today. So when removing or resetting tiles make sure all residual tar is removed. This can be a slow process but is worth it in the end to achieve a perfect end result.
Assuming that the sub floor is steady and rock solid and any replacement tiling has been fitted, the next stage in refreshing your parquet floor is to get that all-over evenness of finish by sanding the whole floor. Sanding can be carried out professionally or you can elect to try your hand at it yourself and hire a walk-through sanding machine that sands the tiles as you move along. However, only attempt to sand it yourself if you are confident you can handle the machine as it is all too easy to gouge deep marks into the delicate tiles if the sander digs in too deep or is allowed to idle in one place.
A floor that has been covered for many years may require more than one sanding, but make sure to use a finer grain of sandpaper in the machine each time. Do not sand more than three times as parquet tiles are very fine and could be damaged with excessive sanding. Any gaps between the tiles can be filled in at this stage with a parquet filler solution. You can make you your own by mixing dust from your sanding process and mixing it with wood filler. Then apply using a putty knife or the edge of a Stanley blade.
Once the filling solution is completely dry (circa 30-40 minutes) lightly sand off the area by hand. The floor is now ready for a fresh coat of finishing. Hardwood parquet flooring looks beautiful when refinished with an oil-based finishing solution or a highly polished lacquer.
Apply the finishing tile by tile and work well into the wood, wiping away residual finishing as you go. Apply using a clean dry cloth and never allow the liquid to puddle or spillages to lie on the tiles.
Your floor will appreciate two or three coats of finishing before a polish or buff to being out the natural, burnished beauty of the wood. When refreshed in this way the parquet floor of your London home will remain beautiful for many years to come with minimal maintenance and a little regular TLC.