Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whitewashing Wood Floors

The art of whitewashing has been enjoying a well-deserved resurgence over the past 10 years by homeowners who are looking for that traditional country cottage ambience and look. Even smaller rooms look good with whitewashed floors, as it helps make rooms appear larger and with clean, fresh, uncluttered lines. There is no doubt about it: a whitewashed floor has an old world charm that is fresh and light, and brings an historical interior to the most modern type of home.

Old style whitewash was produced by blending chalk and calcium hydroxide (lime) together to make a paint-like solution, which was then applied to any type of solid wood flooring sanding. The neutral shade of whitewash is a brilliant backdrop to any kind of furnishing and décor and looks especially great in family dens and bedrooms. If your kitchen has a real wood floor then whitewashing will give it a real country feel that contrasts very well with dark oak furniture.

Whitewash, by its nature, is not an in-your-face pizzazz of glamour; rather it offers a timeless elegance and understated taste. Durable and tough, whitewashing a floor brings additional protection and it hardens much like a finishing product. Use whitewash to bring out the beauty of wood grain because, unlike paint, whitewash does not cover the natural texture of wood. Whitewash is one of the very few solid floor options that can look both elegant and informal, depending upon the surrounding décor.

Whitewash your own floor

The first step in whitewashing a floor is to sand off all remnants of the old finishing veneer. The best way to do this is to hire an industrial sanding machine, which you walk along the sanding floorboards lengthwise from one end of the room to the other. The machine, fitted with a belt of sandpaper, will sand the floor as you move along, but be careful not to stop walking whilst the sander is operating because the machine will continue to sand on the spot and could cause ruts in the wood.

Once the floor has been sanded two or three times then you can, after vacuuming thoroughly, apply the whitewash mix. If you are looking for the distressed look apply the whitewash with a rag in small areas but using long strokes and following along the wood grain and for a smooth finish apply with a good quality roller. It may be that several coats are required to give the look you want, so bear in mind that each coat must be allowed to dry fully before reapplying.

Whitewash naturally sets as it hardens and acts as a strong protection for all types of wood flooring, but if an additional shield is required, perhaps if the room has heavy traffic, you can apply a sealing solution once you have applied the final coat of whitewash. Whitewash responds particularly well to a finishing of polyurethane-based product or finishing oil solution.

Don’t be too worried applying the whitewash though. If your mixture is too thick and covers too much of the wood grain you can simply sand it off and reapply whitewash with a thinner ratio mix. If you are unsure about mixing your own whitewash solution then you can purchase ready-made whitewash at any good DIY outlet.
It is possible to whitewash all types of hard and softwood flooring as well as engineered wood to good effect.

If you are unsure of whitewashing the floor yourself you can call in a professional wood sanding company who will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the cost.

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