Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Renovating London Period Homes from the Ground Up!

London has a fascinating variety of period homes, ranging from stately manors to terraced Victorian homes. In many cases, these homes have been built with real wood flooring. What an asset for London homeowners! So it is no wonder that a huge percentage of homeowners in London are reverting to the original hardwood flooring. hardwood which has been hidden beneath tiles, carpeting or rugs can be beautifully restored to pristine glory by a little specialist know-how and a fair bit of TLC.

Most commonly used wooden Flooring Sanding in London homes built during the Regency era was oak and elm. Oak wood flooring was the more expensive option with, elm being a cheaper alternative. If your London home was built during Georgian or Victorian times it is more likely your floor will be oak (both red and white oak was popular although red oak was more commonly used in beams) or pine. Because pine is a softwood it is more easily damaged and older pine flooring often suffers from damage, rot and bevels – all of which can be treated reasonably easily. Boards that are beyond repair can be removed and replaced with matching wood.

Start by stripping

Whatever the type of wood floor, a renovation begins with a removal of the old finishing, sanding to remove stains and blemishes, repair/replacement of planks as necessary and applying a new finishing coat.

If your floor has been covered up for many years and looks as if the veneer has long gone, don’t be fooled into thinking it has completely disappeared. There will be patches of varnish or stain dotted throughout the floor and secreted in corners that must be completely removed before continuing with the Floor Restoration process.

If the floor has not seen daylight for a number of years then a wise option is to have a professional wood floor expert cast an eye over it to discern its current condition before carrying on. This is especially important for old flooring. You can choose to have a free quotation on a refurbishment and in this way you can discover what your floor really needs to bring it back to new, as well as making an informed decision on whether you have the DIY skills required to complete a successful restoration by yourself.

It is likely that stubborn veneer will resist most attempts at removal, and you should be prepared to sand, scrape, rub and (gently) dig in when necessary! Even domestic equipment such as steel wool and paint scrapers can be harmful to your floor if too energetically applied. Real wood flooring, especially aged wood, should be treated gently. Remember that the older your floor the less likely it is to be completely level. Old floors were cut from sheets of planking by hand using hand saws, and part of their charm can be their unevenness.

It is likely therefore that to successfully remove all old coverings you will need to use a selection of electrical tools such as a sanding machine and orbital sander, as well as hand held chisels, hammers, scrapers and saws.

Chemical stripping

If the floor is very badly stained you can use a chemical remover to strip off the old veneer. This works more quickly than manual methods, although care must be taken. Wood stripping chemicals do contain toxic materials and appropriate safety equipment and respirators must be worn. A distinct advantage of using a chemical product is that it is very gentle on the floor boards and will not cause additional damage.

Solvent stripping

Using a solvent solution to remove old veneer is perhaps not as quick a process as using chemicals but again it will not damage wood. The added advantage of choosing solvent is that it will not discolour the wood, although depending upon the original condition of the floor this may or may not be a consideration. A solvent based product also cleans right into the individual grain marks, leaving your floor extremely clean and is the remover of choice for antique restoration projects.

No comments:

Post a Comment