Preserving The Personality Of Old Buildings While Sanding Their Floors
27 Jun, '16
Like any other floors, flooring in buildings of historical significance or premises with authentic interiors, require maintenance and restoration as well.
As time reflects all elements made of timber in a building, when this moment comes, the approach to restore the floors is of importance, so that character of the building is preserved in the best possible way.
Churches, for example, can have ceilings made of timber, side panels and partitions as well. All of them have taken the burden of time, but not as much as wooden floors of the church.
There are two main issues, which will arise when floors are restored.
- Sanding will remove the imperfections on the floors and set new perfect level throughout all planks
- Sanding will expose the original colour of the wood, which will be much paler than rest of the timber elements in premises
Dealing with the first issue will be a challenge if using standard sanding equipment such as belts and edgers. However, if we employ a buffing machine for the task starting with a coarser abrasive discs, attached onto a soft pad, we may get good refinishing results in some cases without having to level the floors completely.
The inch-thick soft pad will allow the abrasive to be flexible, sliding through boards with a different level.
Each floor is individual and this solution may not be applicable for all, but can work out well on parquet flooring and some hardwood floors.
Getting the right colour for the floors, in order to match other time elements around can be achieved in various ways.
Solvent-based lacquers and finishes used in the past have the tendency to yellow with the time. This is an irreversible process, which only time can reproduce, but luckily there are floor primers designed to produce exactly the same effect. One such product is the Bone Prime Amberseal.
Wood stains can be used if the colour difference between the floors and other timber elements is more significant. There various types of wooden stains – water-based, oil-based, reactive and more. Each type can create different colour and ageing effect. Samples can be applied to already sanded surface so that best finish is selected for the building interior.
Modern finishes (lacquers and oils) come in different sheens – extra-matt, matt, satin and gloss. This wide choice will help even further, reproduce.
The finish for each floor is selected on the basis of the expected use and traffic. For areas with lesser traffic, however, a maintenance programme based on oil based finishes may be more appropriate and easier to maintain for buildings of historical significance. These sealants require regular re-coating to keep the protection on, but at the same time they are not too stubborn and will be easier to strip back with a rotary machine.