Saturday 5 July 2014

Why stain a tropical floor?

Sometimes a question arrives which we truly have to anser according to our own principles:
"We got a reddish coloured floor in our house and want to lighten the colour - how do we go about this?"
 To be honest, more often than not we tell them it would be a shame to change the wonderful natural colour of the wood-species. Once we inform them of the nowaday prices of tropical wood floors most are then (although some reluctantly) changing their minds.
 Merbau mosaic, tropical wood

Restoring a original tropical wood floor will add value to your property and we can highly recommend Saicos Tropical Combo as the best finish.

For those still wanting to change the appearance of their tropical floor: think about adding a light rug to the floor which keeps the value of your floor intact (for instance when you sell your property the new owners could appreciate the original floor more than a stained one) and gives you more of the "design-style" you were after at the same time.

Don't use cork strips top fill the gap!!

Some issues keep recurring in our inbox, on flooring forums: cork strips among them.
A few days ago we received the following email:
"I realise the importance of leaving an expansion gap around a wooden floor (oak parquet in my case) but can you tell me why we are told to insert cork strips around the edge? Surely the cork is only taking up valuable expansion room. Is it ok to  just leave a 10mm gap all around?" 
This was our (recurring) answer on this subject:

Thank you for your question. We are trying so hard do tell everyone exactly that: DON'T use cork strips to fill the expansion gap.

These were used many, many years ago to divide design parquet pattern and the block border and somehow ended up in the expansion gap. 
So, you are absolutely right. Leave your expansion gap 'empty' to cater for any natural seasonal movement of your wood floor."
The reply:
Many thanks, it's nice to be right for once!
Of course he was right, we still don't understand how the old-fashion cork divider strip ended up as recommendation to fill your expansion gaps.
Looking for more tips and tricks of the trade to install your own natural wooden floor like a pro? Look no further than the "Wooden Floor Installation Manual"

Wood You Like Wooden Floor Installation Manual

Which floor finish is the best?

Which of these two wood floor finish options would be best: Oil or lacquer?

One of the hardest questions to answer is: what makes a better finish, lacquer or oil/HardWaxOil?
First of all it’s down to personal taste and secondly to what is expected of the floor, e.g. easy maintenance, shiny look or natural appearance of the wood.

BrushHistorical the wax floor is still seen as very labour intensive to maintain, who doesn't have memories of caretakers buffing away endlessly week after week after week (be it your “Gran” or the school caretaker). Then came the ‘modern’ lacquer (and synthetic and affordable wall-to-wall carpets) and the original wax floor almost became extinct.

For many decades most of the wooden flooring in the U.K. were pre-finished lacquered or lacquered/varnished on site. Maintenance became simple, buffing on hands and knees a thing of the past and there is a choice between high gloss and matte appearance. The newest innovation in lacquer even has the same appearance as an oiled floor to make the wood look more ‘natural’.

The biggest disadvantage of a lacquered finish on a wooden floor is that it ‘sits’ on the floor.
When damaged with a sharp object or due to the long term abrasive effect of dirt (‘dirty’ shoes ‘sanding’ away in heavy traffic areas or under chairs, tables) the lacquer doesn't protect the wood any more and dirt/moist will make the wooden floor look ‘grey’ regardless of maintenance efforts. In fact, cleaning damaged areas with a moist cloth will make things worse.

The only proper solution would be to sand the complete floor and to apply a new finish. Applying a proper lacquer layer is a job for the specialist, lacquer is not very forgiving to mistakes made.
The labour intensive maintenance of the old-fashioned wax-floor has now become a thing of the past:
oils replaced the many layers of wax. The oil penetrates the wood deeper than lacquer and makes it moist resistance, but allowing the wood to ‘breathe’. A hardwax layer is applied afterwards to make the wear and tear layer water repellent.

Nowadays most oiled floors are pre-finished (or finished on site) with HardWaxOil, combining the natural oil (long term protection) and the carnauba or bees hardwax (wear and tear layer) in a two-in-one product. It’s very easy to apply and a very forgiving product when some mistakes are made, in fact an ideal DIY-finish (but we strongly recommend you read the instructions thoroughly and use the right equipment).
It has a great surface density and therefore very resistant to abrasive movements. Besides that, any (small) damages are very easily repaired with some wax or maintenance oil without the need to sand the whole floor.
The appearance of the finished wooden floor is satin-mat with the advantage of making the floor look warmer, deeper in colour over the years.

An oiled-waxed or HardWaxOiled wooden floor requires slightly more maintenance than a lacquered floor, but not on the level of the old-fashioned knee and backbreaking wax floor, the modern maintenance products have taken care of that.
And on the other hand: wet shoe prints (think rain, Autumn, incoming traffic in hallways) don't show up immediately, like it does on a varnished or lacquered floor.

You can request our maintenance tips by popping in your name and email address in the form below (we hate spam as much as you do and your details will never be forwarded to any one else!)

Have we answered the question of what makes a better finish? No, sorry we still can't. Ultimately it is still down to personal taste, we're afraid.

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