Saturday, June 1, 2013

Lime-Washing Real Wood Flooring

Lime-washing is an old-fashioned wood floor treatment that has withstood the test of time and is still popular with homeowners today when they want to give their floor a facelift. However, because the lime-washing technique is a temporary solution it should not be used in place of restoration if the floor has been untreated for more than a decade. In such cases a complete rejuvenation should be undertaken, which includes the repair/replace damaged boards, full sanding and refinishing. In addition not every type of real Wood Floor Sanding is suitable for this type of treatment so if you are in doubt play safe and get an expert opinion before carrying out any lime-washing.

The lime-wash solution works by coating and protecting the floor, but years of cleaning gradually removes the chalk-like lime and natural wax on the floor making the boards extra slippery and in some cases quite hazardous.

An alternative is to use what is known as a pickling stain, which contains no lime and offers the blanched, almost see-through veneer that is very popular with on-trend homeowners. Whether you choose to use lime or pickling stain you should begin with a freshly sanded floor, as old varnish and other sealants will stop the colour from being absorbed into the wood resulting in a patchy and amateurish finish.

The process

You can mix the lime-wash yourself or have it mixed for you by an in-store painting mix machine. Do not apply to an unprepared floor and always vacuum thoroughly after sanding. Apply a little at a time using a high-quality brush (so the bristles won’t drop out) or a lint-free cloth. Dip the end of the brush or cloth into the mix and apply directly on to the planks. Always move along with the grain never against and do not ever apply across the planking.

DIY’ers often prefer to lime-wash planks by row. To avoid creating a line between strokes try to refine the method of lifting the brush just a little as you come to the end of the stroke so that it blends in with the next application.

Always wipe the wash with a separate cloth before it dries in, as before moving only in the direction of the natural wood grain. In this way you can cover the entire floor applying lime-wash and removing it until the whole floor has been treated. Depending upon the size of the floor and whether you are working alone or have some help, this may be a painstaking process but not one that should be rushed as any flaws not attended to at this time will be greatly magnified when the end result is viewed. Don’t be tempted to cut corners. If you feel this may be too much for you to tackle then you can obtain a free quotation from a Floor Sanding specialist company.

Moving forward

When you have completed the floor it will require several hours to dry completely. If possible try to give it at least four hours or better still let it dry overnight. A good rule of thumb is that any water-based solution will need a minimum of three hours to dry whereas an oil-based mix should be left overnight. Do not carry on if the mix is completely dry.

To seal the floor you should use a urethane sealant, which you can get from a DIY shop. Follow the manufacturer guidelines and apply straight from the tin using a clean brush, paint pad or floor mop. Once again use long strokes moving along the grain; short strokes will result in air bubbles marring the finish. Drying time is as above.

You can apply several coats of sealant if you wish but always allow the previous coat to completely dry out first.

A little TLC to finish

Keep your lime-wash floor looking gorgeous for a long time to come with regular vacuuming and an occasional clean with a lightly moistened mop.

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