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February 2015

What do to with bitumen

One of the questions we frequently find in our inbox:

How do I remove bitumen from my wood blocks?

Wood blocks covered in bitumen

In the olden days, bitumen was considered The product to stick down wood blocks or original mosaic floors (and plastic tiles). Simple, cheap and doing its job, until....

The bitumen gets brittle and looses its grip between block/fingers and the underfloor. Leaving you with more and more loosening blocks (and we've heard plenty of stories of little fingers disappearing in vacuum cleaners). Plus more often than not, reclaimed blocks are offered with bitumen still attached.

If it wasn't for the fact that:

  • bitumen is no longer allowed to be used in the house
  • modern adhesives do not bond with bitumen residue

the problems wouldn't be so difficult to solve.

Solutions

remove bitumen from wood blocks in a nature friendly way

If the blocks are thick enough, the best way to remove the bitumen residue, specially if it is a thick and/or irregular layer, is to use a thickness planer. You might lose the tongue and groove, but with the modern adhesives this is not such a problem. Once firmly stuck down in their bed of adhesive (applied with a notched trowel to a clean floor) and given 24 hours to bond the blocks will go nowhere and are ready for sanding.

Or, using the features of bitumen to your advantage, you place the blocks in a freezer. The cold will make the bitumen even more brittle and easier to chisel off. A stain of bitumen left on the blocks after the chiseling is not a problem, the only thing to be aware of is that it then might take 48 hours for the blocks to fully bond when stuck down with adhesive again.

What not to do:

Trying to sand the bitumen off. This will cause friction = heath = melting bitumen = clogging up your sanding paper and even spreading bitumen back onto just cleaned areas of your block.

Remember two things:

  1. the more bitumen you can remove, the better it is in the long run
  2. although it can be quite a bit of work, you are restoring a wonderful and long lasting floor of which you will be proud of once the hard work has been done, plus are re-using a hardwearing floor covering and saving the planet's resources.

Call it a work of love, love for natural products and nature, all in one.

If you need information and "7 easy steps" to repair/restore your own original parquet floor, read our special and much read/used guide.

In our secure webshop you will also find highly recommended products to use to re-stick the cleaned blocks and to finish the floor to become a beautiful, long-lasting floor covering (again).

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Clear the Decks!

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Saicos Exterior Wood Care Products

The winter slowly runs out of breath.
Prepare your terrace ready for spring now!

Removal of green-growth

> Green-Ex Concentrate
Removes mould from all outdoor woods, including natural and artificial stone terraces.
Effective and biological degradable concentrate for effortless removal of mould and similar infestations.

Removal of unsightly greying

> Wood Brightener Concentrate
Brightens natural outdoor woods without sanding:
garden furniture, wood decking and terraces, plant boxes, wooden grilles on balconies, wooden claddings etc. made of untreated wood

Premium protection for your terrace

> Special Wood Oil
The weather protection and care finish for wood decking, garden furniture and terraces.
The natural oils even the surface, make it smooth and emphasise the grain of the wood.
· colourless and transparent
· slip resistant

Or combine all of the above in the Spring Clean Exterior Wood Products

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Invite Aunt Polly in to your home

Basin Tante Polly_2.5Basin's "Aunt Polly" - Tante Polly -  polishing Wax

Maintenance product for waxed/oiled wood floors. Can also be used to revitalise re-discovered parquet floors which have been oiled/wax before.

Polishing Wax of superior quality, produced by the original recipe by Aunt Polly (from Wales). It is a mix of beewax and fossil plant wax, which contains real turpentine (*1).

The polishing wax is available in ivory white (natural colour),traditional yellow (light yellow) of dark brown. These give a warm and antique colour. This extraordinary polishing wax gives a brilliant shine and accentuates the veins of the wood in a beautiful way.

Your wooden floor obtains a high protection as polishing wax nourishes the wood and goes against dehydration, but also protects against humidity.

The ivory white (natural) can be used best on bare wood (for instance with restoration projects), it will act almost as a transparent coat.
The traditional yellow can be used best for revitalising oiled floors of any colour while the dark brown revitalises faded originally stained wooden floors.

Also highly suitable for polishing wooden furniture.

*1 = real turpentine with its authentic terpentine smell (although it fades quickly, be aware of this if you are sensitive to strong smells and do ventilate the area when freshly applied)

Easy to apply, needs buffing for best result - why not order our (cast-iron) buffing block too?

For two-weekly cleaning we recommend Saicos EcoLine (VOC-free) Wash-care

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The easy maintenance of oiled floors

One of the most often asked question is:

"I'm told that when I opt for an oiled floor I have to re-oil it every 6 - 12 months, is that really needed?"

Most of our clients know we always favour oiled (pre-oiled or oiled on site with Saicos Premium HardWaxOil) floors, because this finish lets the wood breath while protecting it against moist and dirt, plus it shows off the character of the wood-species so accurately. 

That an oiled floor needs rigorous maintenance is a misconception, kept alive mostly by those (sellers) in love with lacquered finishes.

For once and for all:

An oiled floor does not need to be re-oiled every 6 - 12 months! It does need a polish or liquid wax treatment once in a while (depending on traffic say every 5 - 6 months, gradually reducing this to once every 8 - 9 months). You only have to treat those areas of the floor which are frequently walked on and not - as one of the questions related was told to someone by a lacquer sales person - every inch of the floor to prevent it from drying out.

Re-oiling is only ever needed when you restore the floor - due to heavy damage, scratches or discover a floor which has not been treated for a very, very long time - and plan to sand the wood down. Only then does a oiled floor - becoming bare wood again - needs a new oil finish.

Ecoline Pflegewachs Spray 1 GBModern maintenance products make it ever so easy to apply the regular - feeding - care you treat your floor to. For that reason we started selling the Saicos EcoLine Wax-Care Spray as best selling product the minute it became available. What is easier than - after vacuum-cleaning or sweeping - spraying the liquid wax on to your wooden floor, then to spread it out with a polish applicator or none-fluffy cloth and immediately see the result of this simple treatment?

This product can also be used on varnished/lacquered floors without making it slippery, a great advantage for those who don't know or remember what type of finish their wooden floor has.

So, do yourself and your wooden (oiled) floor a favour: remember to treat it once in a while with a maintenance product and stop worrying about the time and effort it will take. Plus send those keeping the misconception of oiled floors our way - just direct them to this article - in order to stop this ridiculous notion once and for all.

All an oiled floor needs is regular maintenance - NOT re-oiling.

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