Wooden Parquet Floor Sanding and Sealing

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.

Swiss parquet floor sanding Durban

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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

Swiss parquet floor sanding Durban

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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

Swiss parquet floor sealing Durban

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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.

Swiss parquet floor sealing DurbanZ

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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.

Floor Sanding Durban

Floor sanding Durban

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Many home owners, with old houses, are finding that once they remove the carpets, which became so popular in the 70’s, that there are lovely solid wood floors beneath. After so many years of being trapped beneath a carpet, they do of course need some sanding and sealing in order to bring them back to their previous splendour. Most often there is nothing wrong with these floors and all that is required is a sand and seal to bring them back to new. At times one might find that some of the boards are lifting as the adhesive has given way in which case you will need to clean up the surface and re-adhere them to the substrate. Some of the older floors were stuck down using linoleum glue and I have found floors where this has all come off and left the boards loose. It then needs to be cleaned using mineral spirits. It is best to remove all of this and then use a modern-day adhesive to re-apply them.

Most contractors who installed solid wood floors of yesteryear used top quality timber and therefore you will find that the timber itself is quite all right to last another 100 years, if not longer. Because floors are generally not exposed to much water and weathering, their condition will remain almost as original and all that is required is a good sand and seal.

Floor sanding Durban

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We use an industrial floor sander with a rough grit paper to remove all old sealer and any dirt and blemishes that may have taken hold over the years. The floor sander cannot reach all corners and once we have the majority of it off we use belt sanders and a rotex sander to reach the corners and up against the skirting or wall. Once it’s all off we come back and sand to a smoother finish using a smoother grit paper on all machines until we have reached the desired smoothness.

Once the floor is sanded to the desired smoothness by slowly taking the grit of the paper up, the floor should be completely swept to get rid of all dust. Be careful not to wet the floor with water. Water will cause the fibres in the wood to rise which will result in it going out of smooth and the sanding process will need to be started all over again. A good industrial vacuum cleaner will do the job and will lift all dust to get your floor ready to seal. There are dustless floor sanders available which either work by containing the dust in a bag or they connect to a vacuum cleaner that sucks the dust up as it is being sanded. The latter of course is the better option as then there is much less cleaning after sanding.

Once your dust is up you are ready to start sealing. There are various sealers on the market but the best to use is a polyurethane sealer. You can get a good quality water based one which will allow you to apply subsequent coats more quickly as it dries much quicker. You can get all three coats down in one day using water based polyurethane. The other polyurethane is a two pack one which contains a catalyst so that it dries extremely hard. The choice is yours. Two pack polyurethane will take longer to get your coats down so will cost more due to the time factor but will probably last longer, but will also be more harmful to the environment. Water based coating technology has come a long way these days and I wouldn’t completely shy away from it. But chose a well know brand to make sure that you are getting quality all the way.

Floor sanding Durban

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You will need to lightly sand after the first coat to get rid of the fibres that stand up after sealing. As mentioned above water will make these fibres rise, so you will find with water based polyurethane these fibres will be more prominent resulting in a rough finish. So lightly sand them off, suck the dust up, and apply the second coat. Feel the wood between coats 2 and 3 to see if that step needs to be repeated as the last thing you want is a rough finish after all that sanding. Take your shoes off too as you don’t want to damage the finish.

For a free no obligation quote, call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact form below.