We were called to quote on sanding and sealing the wooden Swiss parquet floors in an old house in Hillcrest. From the pics alongside you can see that these rooms are the typical large ones found in older houses.
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The Swiss parquet floors have probably been there well on 40 years or probably even since the house was built. Since then carpets have been put down on top of them, probably in the seventies when those big thick pile carpets where the fashion. The carpets had been lifted some time ago but the sealer on the wooden floor was scuffed in many areas and although it was not peeling off or flaking, it had worn back to wood in high traffic areas and there were various marks on them from pot plants and other items that had been placed on them and left for long periods of time.
The total area we had to sand was 170m², so quite a nice sized area. It consisted of 3 bedrooms, passage, lounge, dining room and study. We were relatively lucky in that the existing coating had deteriorated to a point where it came off quite easily. One always needs to be careful of floors that have been coated fairly recently and still hold a lot of coating or sealer because it tends to clog the sand paper. In these cases one needs to use a very coarse grit paper of about 30 grit and at times you need to sand at 45 degrees to the grain to remove it and then sand again with the grain with a less coarse paper. Also, although the floor is flat, it is never perfectly flat and the large floor sander sometimes
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leaves patches. So just turn the machine at a slight angle to get it to flatten the floor in that area and then go back with the grain to get your scratch marks all running in the same direction.
Once the bulk of the sealer or coating is off, one needs to come back with a smaller hand-held sander to remove those stubborn areas. Once it’s all off you need to remove the scratch marks with a finer sand paper. If you’ve started with a 30 grit paper, you may need to then go to a 60 and then to a 100 grit. But always finish on a 100 grit paper.
We used a polyurethane epoxy floor sealer with hardener or accelerator (mineral based) on these floors in order to speed up the drying time. The client was living in the house so we had to limit dust and had to paint rooms in a special order so that they could still live there while we sealed the floors.
I’m still not completely sold on water based products. The water based floor sealers I have used require many more coats to get the same thickness of coating. Although they dry a lot quicker and many more coats can be applied in the same day, they tend to use a lot more and, in my opinion, don’t provide as hard a finish as mineral based
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products, especially those with catalysts for hardening.
In between coats we rubbed the floors with steel wool to remove the fibres in the wood that stand up when first coated. A thorough vacuum after that and a second coat was applied.
A quick tip on using the epoxy / polyurethane floor sealer. Because this product has an accelerator, or hardener associated with it, it goes off, or dries, a lot quicker than a single pack polyurethane. When you mix your sealer with the accelerator, you should use a flat-bottomed tin such as a coffee tin or jam tin and a flat paddle to mix. The flat-bottomed tin allows one to mix it thoroughly because there are no ridges for the flat paddle to get stuck on (as opposed to a coke bottle). A good choice for a flat paddle is a steel ruler. If you were to pour it directly into your paint tray you will be need to clean that paint tray with every new mix otherwise the sealer will be getting hard already and will interfere with the smooth rolling on the floor. So place a black dustbin bag (well it can be any colour really) over the paint tray and simply through the black bag away after each mix. Don’t mix too much as the product has a pot life, (the time it can remain liquid enough to use in the pot). A hot day will result it in going off quicker than a cold day, or a humid day, and using more accelerator will also result in a quicker drying time. So be careful with your quantities, you don’t want to waste sealer.
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This product should be applied very thinly in order for it to dry quickly. If it is applied too thickly the top will dry but the middle will still be tacky and it will take much longer to be able to walk on it to flat it and apply subsequent coats. So mix just enough each time. If it starts going off in the tray, rather through it away than try to apply it while it is already getting hard. What happens then is that the front edge of the roller spreads it on the floor and the back-end of the roller starts to pull it off the floor because it is already tacky. This results in a streaky floor which will mean getting the sander out again. So rather waste a little sealer and star with fresh sealer than waste time by re-sanding it. And then of course mix a little less so it doesn’t go off in the pot or tin.
For a free no obligation quote on installing wooden floors or floor sanding and sealing please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.