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April 2015

The Importance of a Wet Finger

Bare wood - no matter if it is a new floor or a sanded down one - looks quite pale, dull even. Applying a finish - any natural finish - will bring out the wood-species natural colouring, which can be rather different than its pale beginnings.

Surprise, surprise!

This week we received a phone call from a lady, who had bought and installed reclaimed Oak wood-blocks. After sanding the floor down she'd used a tester pot of Osmo HardWaxOil and was very surprised to see her Oak floor turn pinky.

She had been expecting a warm honey colour, the typical characteristic colouring of Oak:

Oak after it receive a natural finish 

But instead her "Oak" floor showed a pink tone:

Red Oak, after it received a natural finish, looks pinkier than Oak Beech - unsteamed - with a natural finish will not look like Oak

(example 1: American Red Oak, Example 2: Beech - which belongs to the same family as Oak

When I asked her to do the "wet finger" test on a bare area of the wood floor the result was again a pinky tone, and not as she had hoped the typical Oak colour.

The result of this simple and oh so effective test told me the wood-species was something different than Oak. But it had been sold to here as Oak, she told me. Well, American Red Oak is Oak, although I'm not even sure the seller had known the difference him or her self, because as said in the beginning of this article: bare wood of different species can look pretty much alike, especially if the grain structure is rather the same.

The lady in question felt rather disappointed ("bummer" was the word she used after discovering the result of the wet finger test) and didn't really know what to do next, perhaps she will stain it an Oak colour now.

The importance of the wet finger test!

The importance of the wet finger test on bare wood

Especially when you are in the market for reclaimed wood blocks, no matter if it is on offer on Ebay, in a local shop or reclamation yard, you'll have to be sure the wood-species are as claimed.

Two simple tools you have to have with you: one finger and a piece of sanding paper.

  • For bare wood blocks: simply wet your finger and place this on the block(s). This will show you its natural colour after you applied a natural finish and could prevent disappointment afterwards. (After you bought the lot, cleaned of the bitumen, glued down your pattern, sanded the floor smooth and level and applied your natural finish - only to make the same discovery as the lady who'd called us in a panic!)
  • For "finished" blocks: use the sand paper to clear off the finish of part of the block, then do the wet finger test. The finish could be a stain, disguising the original species.

Also use the sand paper if an apparent bare block doesn't change in colour after the wet finger test - a sure sign there is a finish on the block.

(On Ebay it could be a bit difficult doing these tests, best is always to have a sample send out to you).

Know the result before you start

As you can see, it is really simple to know the result of any natural finish applied to bare (sanded) wood long before you start all the hard work: use the "wet finger" test and never be surprised again!

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New website design

From now on it will be easier for you to visit our site with your tablet and/or smart phone:

our secure website is now responsive!

This means the lay-out will adjust automagically to your screen size, no need to enlarge the text any longer. Viewing our site on your smart phone also means the side bar will drop to the bottom of the page, in case you are looking for something specific, plus the menu is turned into an icon:

Menu icon

You'll also notice that previous and next posts are now accessible through a little red arrow lower down the post in front of you, which will bring up the post title when you hover over the arrow. Or use the menu item: News/Articles to view/read all posts by scrolling down
Looking for a specific topic? Use the "search" function in the side bar (or below the post if you are viewing our site on your smart-phone).

Since our secure webshop was already responsive, making the whole site react to your screen size we hope makes your visit even more enjoyable.

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Down the drain?

Installing a wooden floor is not rocket science - as our Wooden Floor Installation Manual can tell you all about - but the correct preparations can save you a lot of time, money and problems.

One of the main things to prepare before you - or your professional fitter - start installing a wooden floor on a concrete underfloor it is good practice to check the moist content of the concrete.

Moment in time

More often than not this check for moisture gives you either the green or right light to start the actual installation. But never forget, the result only tells you the moist content of the concrete floor at that moment in time! So if you suspect moist problems, or had had problems before, even if the moist check now tells you to "go ahead" with the installation, make sure the cause of your former problem has been solved properly.

And on the other hand, a dry concrete floor now does not always mean it will stay dry for ever. Think of leaks, rising damp etc.

Drain problems

If, in the event there is a moist problem later on and the moist check carried out straight before the installation gave the "all clear" it pays dividend to investigate all possible causes, as we ourselves discovered recently.

A solid Oak mosaic floor was installed, concrete floor checked for moisture conditions and readings showed the concrete was below 2% moist content. However, the floor did come up after a while. We suspected a moist problem and investigated. Not just inside the house, but we also had a good look around the house. Often patios are build incorrectly where (rain) water runs towards the house due to the slope of the patio, leaking or damaged gutters can have an effect on the in house situation too. And, as we thought could be the reason here, large plants, trees or shrubs planted or gowning too close to the walls.

When plants are more than beautiful

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To cut a long story short, a Drain Doctor confirmed our suspicion the old Wisteria planted very close to the wall outside the effected room had managed to grow its roots right through the drain and was causing a blockage - causing moist to enter the concrete floor from below.

From the Wisteria Website by Francesco Vignoli we have to following information on these very strong roots of this beautiful shrub/plant:

The roots: The wisteria roots spread so strongly and abundantly that if planted near walls or pavements they can easily grow into them causing serious damage . To prevent this from happening it is advised, whilst planting, to insert a corrugated plastic panel which will force the roots to take other directions, as they are unable to pass through it. Place the plastic panel (at least 2m long) 80cm deep, between the plant and the wall or pavement (or the surface to be protected). In the case of walls and pavements made with cement this problem does not exist.

The clients are now waiting for "the Doctor" to repair the drain and then the wait begins for the concrete to dry out completely before the mosaic floor can be reinstalled again.

So, be warned: moist checks only give you a result of that specific moment and be careful when planting large, beautiful shrubs. They can turn around and bite you! (Well, they can bite their way through your drains.)

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Maintenance Guide

The Ultimate Maintenance Guide

everything you need and must know about keeping your wooden floor healthy and beautiful

 Welcome to Wood You Like's comprehensive maintenance guide, filled with tips, examples, advice and videos to show you how easy, simple and necessary wood floor care is.

 Every wood floor needs - simple - care

A wooden floor is a wonderful lively and natural floor covering, more and more home owners are installing (or restoring) this type of flooring:

  • it's beautiful
  • it's eco-friendly
  • it's anti-allergic
  • it's clean
  • it's healthy
  • it's long lasting
  • it's practical
  • plus it can add value to the home

But no matter what type of wood floor or finish you have, the surface of the wood floor needs a bit of TLC once in a while to keep its healthy and grand appearance. The best comparison you can make is with your own skin: to keep this important part of the body healthy we often - daily - treat it with feeding and moisturising creams or lotions etc. A flaky, dry skin doesn't look good plus it will not effectively protect your body against outside (harmful) influences.

Just like you want to look great and healthy, your wooden floor will look at its best when it's been taken care of regularly.

What this guide will show you

A splash of lotion on your skin is easily applied, and so is treating your wooden floor! That's one of the things this guide will show you - and we'll be using videos to really show you how easy this is.

This guide contains:

  • what absolutely NOT TO DO
  • why floor care is important
  • a maintenance plan
  • stain removing tips - just in case
  • how to restore your parquet floor without sanding
  • images and videos
  • recommended high quality products and tools
  • vouchers to use in Wood You Like's secure online shop
  • and more

Order the guide now!

 

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HardWaxOil or Oil and Wax

Main difference between HardWaxOil and Oil plus Wax

Continuing on the question what makes a better finish on your wooden floor, we frequently receive the question to explain the difference between the two above products/methods of finishing your floor with an natural oil.

Quoting from the other article:

"The labour intensive maintenance of the old-fashioned wax-floor has now become a thing of the past: 
oils replaced the many layers of wax. The oil penetrates the wood deeper than lacquer and makes it moist resistance, but allowing the wood to ‘breathe’. A hardwax layer is applied afterwards to make the wear and tear layer water repellent.

Nowadays most oiled floors are pre-finished (or finished on site) with HardWaxOil, combining the natural oil (long term protection) and the carnauba or bees hardwax (wear and tear layer) in a two-in-one product. It’s very easy to apply and a very forgiving product when some mistakes are made, in fact an ideal DIY-finish (but we strongly recommend you read the instructions thoroughly and use the right equipment)."

The popularity of the two-in-one HardWaxOil makes it one of those products anyone contemplating an oil finish to go for this straight away.

Saicos HardWaxOil

But....

When not to use HardWaxOil

HardWaxOil on tropical wood species can very easily give a patchy result due to the fact the wood itself is 'oily'. Although HardWaxOil manufacturers used to mention that their product was not very suitable on tropical woods, this statement disappeared from most of the instructions in recent years - simply because, in our opinion, every company wants to sell as much as possible of their own products for as many as possible applications.

Our experience with both finish types on tropical wood species shows that single oil does tend to give a better result than HardWaxOil. A single oil does need a separate wear and tear layer, some use one coat of natural HardWaxOil for this, but again our own experience shows that a hard wax or old fashion polishing wax (not to be confused with wax-polish - more a maintenance product) works better in the long run.

This method, single oil followed by one coat of hard wax or polishing wax also works on Oak, specially if you are after the most natural appearance. Oak needs two coats of single oil, it's not "oily" of itself such as tropical species.

Options:

On site finish for Tropical wood-species: one coat of single oil, followed by one coat of HardWaxOil

Saicos tropical combo

Saicos single oil (Colour Wax Clear, extra thin, renamed to Ground Coat) takes approximately 8 - 10 hours to dry, the Saicos Premium HardWaxOil (available in 4 sheens)  3 - 4 hours
Alternatively, replace the HardWaxOil with hard wax or natural polishing wax (contains real turpentine, so ventilate well). Both need to be applied "manually", the polishing wax spreads out better, even under colder temperatures.

On site finish for Oak - if you are in a "hurry": two coats of Saicos Premium HardWaxOil (each coat dries within 3 - 4 hours)

Alternatively for an even more natural effect (and when you have the time to do so): two coats of Saicos Ground Coat Extra Thin - each coat takes 8 - 10 hours to dry, followed by either one coat of hard wax or one coat of natural polishing wax (contains real turpentine, so ventilate well).

Our personal preference: single oil followed by the old fashioned natural polishing wax. It gives the wood the natural long term protection it needs, and gives the surface a vibrant, rich and authentic appearance. 
Do note, the polishing wax can give scuff-marks in the first few hours, but then again, we said it was an "old-fashioned" method - and the smell of the wax (freshly applied) will definitely transport you back in time.

Recommended Wax-Polish and polishing wax (the latter can be used on furniture too):

Wax-care     Basin Tante Polly_2.5
Saicos Wax-Care 1 ltr tin   Basin "Aunt Polly" (Tante Polly) 
polishing wax
 (1 ltr tins) 

 

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference, combined with the time you have.

We hope this has given you a better idea of the difference between the HardWaxOil and the Oil plus Wax (in application and in end result).

All products can be found in our secure online shop

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