Sanding, Repairing & Finishing Parquet Flooring
When sanding parquet (as opposed to other types of real wood flooring) it is quite safe to move in a diagonal direction when removing the existing veneer. This works because the parquet has been laid in tile formation and will have design motifs in each tile (chevron, herring-bone etc.) However, when you are doing your final sanding make sure you move with the grain of the wood. This can prove to be a little finicky, depending upon what motif you have, but worth doing in order to achieve a perfectly smooth finish.
When your parquet has received its initial sanding parquet floor, carefully inspect the floor for gaps, scuffs and scratches and any other signs of damage. Gaps should be filled by mixing up a little wood filler and applying with a putty knife. Make sure every gap is well plugged and remove residual mix with a cloth before continuing. The best type of filler to use on parquet tiling is resin-based and whilst this is not the quickest drying solution, it does work well. If possible allow to dry out overnight before proceeding.
If any of the tiles have become damaged then it is best to replace them. If your flooring has any of the classic motif patterns then it should be relatively easy to source a matching tile. However, if the parquet is very old or of bespoke design you may need professional help to source a good match.
When the filler has completely dried out then re-sand the floor. If you have sanded successfully the first time it is likely that this will be your final sanding. That being the case, remember this time to sand alongside the wood grain. When the final sanding has been completed its time for some vacuuming; lightly vac the whole area and wash down skirting, dado rails, window frames and fireplaces with a damp cloth.
Tea or coffee?
The next stage is always a favourite – have a cuppa! And when you return half an hour later – clean everything down again. This is because the invisible dust particles in the air take approximately that amount of time to settle so chances are your room will be dusty again. Never skimp on the cleaning though – even the tiniest particles of dust and grit can be enough to completely spoil the finishing of your parquet floor, leaving you with that awful gritty veneer that you will never get rid unless you start again from scratch.
The bottom line is when sanding and repairing parquet, never cut corners or skimp on any of the stages. All are equally important to provide a beautifully finished piece of parquet floor sanding of which you can be justifiably proud.
No doubt before you start this process you will have decided on which type of finishing to use. If your room is a high traffic area then a water-based lacquer is a good option. When applying lacquer to parquet you must start at one edge of the room (not near the door through which you will be exiting, unless you quite literally want to paint yourself into a corner!). Apply lacquer with a quality brush. Cheap brushes tend to have hairs that come out easily, which will certainly ruin your look – avoid at all costs! When you have completed a little of the edging then use the best quality roller you can afford and roll the lacquer outwards towards the centre of the room. For additional distance coverage invest in a long-handled roller or alternatively secure your roller to a pole.
Apply well, but not over generously. Lacquer tends to puddle when too much is applied and will cause a patchy and ‘thick’ appearance to the floor when it has dried. When you have completed the lacquering process then (ensuring your end point is at the exit) vacate the room and leave to dry before applying a second coat. Make sure you leave the second coat to dry overnight.
When the parquet is completely dry, for your sanding finale you can treat it to a very light final sanding. This should be done with a screen sander or better yet by hand with the finest grade of sandpaper. A long job maybe, but you have come this far and you know what the sailor said about a ha’penny of tar…
When this final veneer has dried off then lightly vacuum, stand back and admire your work before bringing in the furniture and enjoying your beautifully restored parquet flooring.