The beauty of parquet floors can be discussed at length. In fact, the history of parquet goes back thousands of years. Remains of wooden parquet were even found during archaeological excavations in the palaces of Egyptian pharaohs and European noble Lords. Natural parquet is not only a beautiful, lively floor covering; it is also true art in the form of wood with a surprisingly durable coating. A vivid example of the timeless parquet is the flooring in the Louvre and the Winter Palace, in the Hermitage and Versailles. The life span of wood depends on many factors, such as humidity levels, the type of wood laths, the method of laying the flooring and the quality of the lacquer coating. Let’s sort everything out concerning what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to caring for your parquet floors.
It is precisely this procedure that causes the most debate among parquet floor owners. Surprisingly, the topic of refinishing is rife with myths. According to some, after a few refinishes, top wood layer disappears. Indeed, the statement is true, but only partly. Some 50 years ago, the floor covering would be used up after only 3-4 finishes. But, technology is always advancing. Thanks to the new sanding equipment, parquet refinishing is done more and more carefully and thoroughly. The dustless sanding system is an excellent example of new technology. Special refinishing machines sand off only the thinnest possible layer of wood and gently remove damaged varnish from the old floor surface. Some equipment is designed to get to hard-to-reach areas under radiators and furniture. In any case, refinishing should be a rare occasion, so your focus should be floor maintenance and minimize sanding floors altogether.
Wood is a natural material, and as such, it is sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. However, the idea of parquet cracking and warping is somewhat exaggerated. Well, judge for yourself: would a wood floor last in a palace for centuries if it expanded or cracked each time the temperature changed? And this is considering the fact that ancient castles and were not heated or cooled by modern standards: in the summer, stone buildings were like ovens, and in winter there was often frost on the walls. The wood still survived. Of course, it’s not a very good idea to deliberately pour water on a parquet floor or place heaters on it, but you should strive to maintain optimal humidity levels ( 35%-55%). Humidity can be controlled by ventilating the area regularly or using air conditioning.
Furniture and footwear
It’s unfortunate, but it is us, who most often ruin expensive parquet. To preserve the centuries old wood floor in a museum, the visitors wear special shoes or booties in places like the Hermitage or Louvre. High heels, heel pieces and outdoor particles on the bottom of our shoes cause enormous damage to the wood floors. To preserve the parquet for as long as possible, you really should walk on it barefoot, in socks, slippers, or at least designated indoor shoes. You should also use soft pads made from felt on the legs of chairs and tables. Well, under heavy furniture, it’s better to put something like a shock absorber: a carpet or a fiberboard substrate.
The last but perhaps the most important point: all parquet must be treated with a coating. An abrasion-resistant oil or polyurethane should be used to protect your floors for years to come. Applying an extra coat in high traffic areas is an excellent idea. Gym floors are usually treated with the special coatings to avoid the appearance of scuffs from rubber shoes and to resist wear and damage. In general, before the installing or refinishing of parquet, pay close attention to the different types of varnishes and finishes, for this will directly impact the lifetime of your parquet floor.
So whether you’re installing a new parquet or restoring an antique, consider these top 4 tips for preserving this timeless craft. Our floor refinishing and installation experts are just a click away! Fill out the contact form below for assistance.