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The nicest surprise you could ever have when moving into a new home is to discover some beautiful ancient Parquet hiding beneath the carpet! This is especially good news when you consider the massive cost of installing a lovely new parquet floor. If some blocks are damaged, loose or missing the Floorfixer team may still be able to make the floor completely intact again.
Many years ago, (see: History of Parquet.) parquet floors were originally fixed down with Bitumen. This black tar is still used in road construction, but no longer allowed to be used as an adhesive inside the home because of potentially toxic fumes. Our workers remove any residue of bitumen from the back of loose tiles by scraping. This is not one of our favourite jobs, but we consider this to be a labour of love because we are able to visualise the eventual outcome and know that our efforts will always be appreciated by the customer.
Sometimes, removing the bitumen can make a concrete subfloor uneven and an acrylic levelling compound is needed to make the under floor level. We often find the problem with old parquet floors is not what they are made of, or even how well they have been maintained. The main issue surrounding many of these hidden treasures is what they have been laid on top of. In the old days it was very common for wooden parquet tiles to be laid on nothing more than a concrete base put straight on top of earth or sand without any insulation at all. Apart from being very cold to walk on, this can also create a damp problem, particularly if a covering such as a thick carpet has been laid on top of it.
Parquet floors were designed to let the wood 'breathe' and to absorb moisture from the whole surface area. Problems occur when they are covered over with carpeting, especially if it is non-breathable. One solution is to take up all the parquet and dig the floor out to a level that will allow for insulation such as a damp-proof membrane. A self-levelling compound can then be used to ensure a good base to lay the reclaimed parquet. Of course, digging up the floor is disruptive, but it does allow you to keep the original parquet without any future damp issues to worry about.
Our many years of experience with wood parquet restoration has enabled us to compile this list of the most common problems we have found with parquetry together with the successful solutions carried out. If you can't find an answer to the specific condition of your own floor in the following list, please contact us through the website or call our surveyor on the number given on the home page.
Problem: Gaps between parquet tiles
Solution: This is usually caused by the expansion and contraction of the wood due to central heating which was probably not installed at the same time as the floor. Fine sawdust from the final sanding process is mixed with a clear resin to form a toothpaste-like substance which is then used to fill each gap.
Problem: Missing or damaged tiles
Solution: The problem is usually caused through previous building works or water leakage. Sourcing suitable closely matching reclaimed tiles is very time consuming and we do not have the time to stock or supply them. However, we can usually cut to size and fit reclaimed blocks of similar thickness and width into the existing pattern.
Problem: Some areas have faded
Solution: Sun damage or extreme temperature is usually the culprit. Sanding down to the bare wood will usually eliminate the differences in colour without necessity for staining.
Problem: The area has been filled with concrete
Solution: This problem is often found in fireplaces where a new hearth has been installed. If concrete has been used to replace parquet, we will excavate and apply a self levelling substrate before re-installing replacement blocks.
Problem: Tiles have become loose and move about
Solution: This may have been caused by dampness which can expand the wood and trigger a failure of the bitumen which was originally used for installation. Any surplus of old bitumen must be scraped clean from the loose blocks before carefully reaffixing.
Problem: Raised or Sunken Parquet
Solution: This is usually caused by a water leak which has the same effect as the loose tile problem explained above. Our technicians use the same remedy to fix it, but a damp proofing specialist may need to be consulted to investigate the reason it has occurred.
Problem: Surface appears tired and scratched
Solution: An inappropriate seal for the species of wood or area of use may have been applied previously and this can seriously affect the overall definition, even through general traffic. Sanding down to the bare wood and then finishing with a Random Orbital machine before coating with the most suitable product is the only answer.
Problem: Uneven Parquet
Solution: Again, the only remedy for this would be floor sanding which will automatically flatten the surface.
Problem: Cleaning and maintenance difficulties
Solution: If the surface feels rough, the wrong finish may have been used to seal the parquet, or it may have not been smoothed down (flattened back) following the primer application. This is a common fault caused by less reputable floor sanding companies who cut corners in a rush to finish the job. It's not the end of the world though; we may be able to use our screen and recoat service.
See below how intricate parquet repairing can be:
Ashby de la Zouch