Spruce up Your Parquet Flooring
Parquet flooring consists of interlocking strips of wood that form different types of patterns. It’s more common as an interior design feature than as an entire floor, and the reason for this is that people are understandably wary of sanding it as it seems more fragile than regular wooden flooring. Conventional sanding machines can damage parquet flooring by leaving unsightly scratches, but in fact all you need is an orbital sander to bring its shine back.
As is usual with most wooden floor refinishing projects, you should first of all clear the whole area that you’re going to refinish. All personal objects and furniture should be removed from the room as even with delicate parquet a lot of dust may be generated. It’s also a good idea to use sealing tape to ensure that no dust escapes from the room and settles in other parts of the property.
Clean the floor
Before you do any wood floor sanding work on parquet tiles you need to clean it with a wax-dissolving detergent. There could be several layers of wax on an old parquet floor, and each of these can clog up the sandpaper you’re going to use on it. Some of the tiles may also have worked themselves loose down the years and there may be gaps between adjacent tiles. Use a grouting float to apply a generous layer of filler across the whole area. Don’t worry about any grout on the surface of the tiles, as this will be removed on the first pass with the orbital sander.
Orbital sanders designed for wood floor sanding are very similar to handheld ones, and come with rectangular or round pads. Use a 36-grit paper to begin with, to remove the layer of filler, and get into the corners with a lighter palm sander. Use 60-grit paper for a second pass to remove the finish completely and an 80-grit paper to get rid of any scratches. Finally, use a 100-grit paper to prepare the floor for application of a finish.
Stains do not just make the parquet flooring look better, but they also protect it by sealing the wood. Stains come in a wide variety of colours and types, designed to achieve different looks, and the majority of floor stains are easy to apply because they’re solvent-based. Simply wipe the stain on with a rag and leave it for about 10 minutes to penetrate the grain before wiping off the excess.
Work towards the doorway to avoid having to walk on the wet floor and stain the tiles in sections. When you’ve finished, leave the floor to dry overnight.
It’s always an option, if you want to achieve a completely ‘natural wood’ finish, to omit the wood floor staining step altogether.
The products used for wood floor finishing can be water-based or oil-based, but whichever type you decide on you should use a floor finish applicator rather than a paintbrush. This is a special tool that consists of a long handle on the end of which is a weighted tube covered in foam. By dragging it across the floor you’ll be able to spread the finish product quickly and evenly, without producing any brush marks or bubbles.
The very best final finish can be achieved by lightly sanding each coating between successive applications. Use 120-grit sandpaper fitted to a palm sander for this job, if you don’t want to rent a specialist floor buffer. Professionals use a 120-grit sanding screen fitted to a floor buffer for this type of wooden floor refinishing. Three coats of varnish are usually sufficient, and remember not to sand the final coat.