Our expertise in revamping wood floors has provided us with some very interesting projects. However, none can surpass the parquet floor, in a house, within the grounds of Warminster School, which gave us a challenge and the biggest surprise.
Built we believe around 1800 ‘Townroe Lodge’ was a former teacher’s home. The school decided to turn the house into a Sixth Form Centre. This required the interior to be completely refurbished. Much of the electrics, decor and other aspects were done in the spring of 2020. This left a downstairs herringbone-patterned wood floor to be renovated. Although sound it was so dirty, dark and uneven (1) that we really did not know what we would uncover when we started the 122 square meter clean in August. The plan was to sand the floor with four grades of carborundum paper and then coat it with three layers of lacquer, ‘keying off’ (to improve adhesion) between coats.
The initial sanding (2) revealed that we were dealing with a rather special wood floor. Its colour was surprisingly light with a highly attractive yellow to golden brown grain. It was recognised as being ‘Iroko’, a West African hardwood. Often chosen as an alternative to teak, it was used for floors and furniture until sustainability concerns saw its use diminish in the late 1980s. It’s known for its high durability and rot resistance.
There was one problem. The sanding machine and hand sander (3) sucked the dirt out from every crevice revealing some wide and uneven gaps between the parquet pieces. It was agreed we would need to skim a filler across the floor (4) and then resand. This practice is not uncommon and uses a filler made up of a liquid resin adhesive mixed with the clean sawdust collected during the third sanding procedure (5). This then dries solid to the identical colour of the parquet.
The decision to undertake this additional work was the icing on the cake as regards the quality finish that was obtained. The floor took on a new look (6) that can only be described as ‘beautiful’. Once fully dry the floor was given a final vacuum. A coat of primer was applied followed by two coats of matt silk lacquer (7) to which a liquid hardener was added. With the second coat, a handful of very fine plastic particles was mixed in with the liquid to give the floor non-slip characteristics. It was then allowed to fully dry for 24 hours.
The renovation of the floor took almost a week. The interest in what we were doing and the transformation of the floor was amazing. As has been proven previously traditional flooring designs can be reinstated to almost new if tackled professionally. Certainly, the investment made in this floor (8) will bring delight to current and future generations who will walk, work and play in ‘Townroe Lodge’.
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