Wet and windy - autumn is here

BewolktWhen you have UnderFloor Heating (UFH) you should prepare your wooden floor for the arrival of real Autumn/Winter period now, before the true heating season starts. UFH tends to dry out the wood a bit more than on average, so treating your floor with a maintenance polish (like a moisteriser) will keep it in good health and beautiful over the colder times of the year.

It's never a good idea to apply a polish on a warm wooden surface, this can create patches of too quickly dried polish, therefore treat your wooden floor during a "sunny" day these coming weeks, before the UFH is switched on to higher levels.

To know even more about maintaining your wooden floor, have a look at the "Ultmate Maintenance Guide" - filled with practical tips and advice and includes videos showing you how to wash and wax.

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How a timely post saved the day - and the mosaic

Remember the last post - about a new client being as happy as Larry, due to our advice? That resulted in a lovely email from another new client:

Oldschool"Thank heaven for your recent post! My partner and I bought an old schoolhouse, complete with this old-fashion oak mosaic floor. The plan was to restore this by sanding and then applying a new finish, only to discover that sanding was definitely out of the question once we found out the old caretakers had applied wax on it year after year after year! - We did try a small part of the floor with a sander, but that turned out an absolute nightmare, we seemed to spread the old wax - warmed by the sanding paper - everywhere!

I was really about to chuck the whole floor in - or out in this case - when I stumbled upon your post. Like your other client, I do not have time - or desire - to go on my hands and knees every month to maintain this lovely floor. So imagine how happy I was reading about this simple method to keep my waxed floor still beautiful and lovely as it is."

Glad - again - to have been of service!

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New client as happy as

We recently received a call for help from a new home owner, she had bought a lovely home from an elderly couple who'd moved to a smaller house. The one item she really loved, and clinged the deal, was the tropical herringbone floor in the living area.

But now she'd encountered a problem, the floor was not a varnished one as she'd expected - having discovered an open tin of old-fashion wax in one of the cupboards. She told me she really didn't have time to go on her hand and knees every month to apply the wax. Could she not just sand the whole floor, varnish it and be done with it?

I had to disappoint her: contrary to common belief a varnished floor also needs regular maintenance to keep it healthy and beautiful, but the main issue here was the fact that an waxed floor - no matter if you sand it thoroughly - will not take any varnish or lacquer, it will simply flake off.

But.... maintaining an oiled or wax floor no longer requires hand and knees work, that's something from the olden days. With modern care products it is as simple as taking a walk in the park. Specially with the wax-care spray it will only take you 10 to 15 minutes tops! And is only needed every 5 to 6 months! 

224017190The lady, still rather reluctantly, ordered one spray and, surprise surprise, called back a week later to tell me she's as happy as Larry. The floor looks lovely without any hard labour - it worked right as I told her.

Glad to gave been of service! And the old tin of wax? That was given to a neighbour who owned an antique furniture shop. They are as happy as Larry too! 

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Do not use Ammonium to clean your Oak floor

A worried lady called us with the following story:

In her kitchen an Oak floor had been installed (wood-engineered) and, as can happen in areas where cooking is done, in front of the cooker splashes of grease had marked to floor. Knowing how well ammonium can cut through grease she'd used some on a cloth and rubbed away the solidified grease stain.

Only to discover a few hours later the Oak in the treated spot had turned a shade darker than the surrounding area!

Oak and Ammonium - think old cow sheds

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(Image from Farming in France blog)

Oak contains tannic acid and, when exposed to ammonium, this acid reacts and becomes darker. It's natural reaction, just think of old cow-sheds, barns or old train cattle wagons.

Original Oak from any place where cattle has been for a long while is well known for its very dark colouring. Trying to sand the beams or boards bare to expose the blond wood again is very difficult to do, because years and years of being "exposed" to cattle with their wee, containing ammonium, this natural discolouration has penetrated deeply in the wood, not just stained the surface.

6a00d8341c660f53ef0147e313aad2970b-pi

This natural process is still being used (in controlled and safe circumstances - SO DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!) to produce "smoked" Oak. Mostly done in air-thight chambers in a factory, exposing untreated Oak to ammonium vapours for hours. The amount of tannic acid in the Oak, combined with more or less time in this "smoking chamber" determines the natural darkness of the boards.
Another name for this process is "fumed" Oak (from the French word fumé).

In the "olden days" some exceptional specialist floor companies did "smoke on site", using very strong ammonium in a bare room, sealing off all doors, windows etc. Any draft coming in to the room while this "not suitable for human exposure" was in process would affect the result. And nothing else in the room could be made of Oak, it would get darker too. So, once again: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!

Note: some wood floors are incorrectly branded - excuse the pun - as smoked or fumed and only have been treated/stained with a colour to resemble this natural effect. The way to find out is to check if the colouring is only "skin-deep" - not even 1mm in the wood - or truly in the wood, at least 1 - 2 mm deep.

Would spilling cleaning ammonium colour my Oak floor too?

No, not that easily - IF the wood floor has been maintained regularly to keep the wear and tear layer in proper condition.

The floor in question had not been maintained for a year, and because the area in front of the cooker had had the most "traffic", the protective finish was rather reduced, enabling the ammonium to react with the "bare" wood.

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Everything you need in one box (or two)

When you are (re)searching products to care or repair your wooden floor, you could be forgiven for becoming overwhelmed by all the products available. Which one, or combination of products, would do everything you want it to do, AND is suitable for it?

Do I need an oil when my floor has been oiled before to bring back its lustre, do I need a cleaning product first and what wax or polish can I apply and how often? 
What products do I need when I only have to add a few blocks to our existing parquet floor, and want to sand and re-finish the whole area of flooring?

The list of questions can go on and on.

For this purpose we created so-called "all in one boxes" in our secure webshop, all the items you need for certain care and/or repair jobs.

image from images-cdn.ecwid.com

Such as:

Ecoline cleaning kit for all floor finishes

Intensive cleaning and repair kit for oiled floors

and Saicos Floor Care set.

And don't forget the various guides we created especially for you:

The Ultimate Maintenance Guide

and/or

Restore without Sanding

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More restoration tips

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-07-30/397faf7d-7cc8-4a0f-a042-6027b8c4982f.pngThere are two different types of floorboards: softwood and hardwood. Pine boards are the most frequently found in 'modern' homes. You can of course re-sand them, but that won't reduce the ease with which dents and small damages appear.
 
If you accept this 'softwood' fact then there's nothing to stop your re-sanding the old existing pine boards in your home.
 
There is however one more thing to be aware of: where Oak matures into its characteristic Honey Colour, Pine tends to mature into orange - sometimes quite ugly orange too!
 
Applying a coloured Oil instead of a natural finish will often prevent this from happening. The colour most used for this is the "Colour Wax Oak", either one or two coats. always followed by a last coat natural HardWaxOil. For your conveniences we've already paired the two products together as "Restoration Pack Pine"
 
So instead of a nicely restored, but turning orange quit quickly, floor you end up with a nicely restored 'golden' brown floor - which could give you years and years of value. Do remember to apply a suitable maintenance product to it once every 5 - 6 months to keep your floor healthy and beautiful.
 
See our secure web shop for all more available colours (and maintenance products!)
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Surprise: oak floor turns out to be wonderful tropical

There are wood species and there are wood species. The best known and most common/popular in wooden flooring is still Oak Rustic, showing its full natural character. Often stained - unfortunately, why would you disguise nature's own beautiful colours?

Nature's own variety

Original Iroco/Kambala herringbone rediscovered after restoration A few years ago we were asked to sand down and renovate an original parquet floor near Kent's coast. The home owners wanted the existing dark stain removed from their herringbone floor and bring back it's original Oak - so they thought - character.

When we arrived on site it was immediately clear that hiding beneath the dark and knackered varnish layer lay not an Oak floor, but one of nature's most versatile in colour spectrum tropical wood species: Iroko (Kambala).

Iroko (Milicia excelsa) grows in tropical Africa as 50 - 60 meter high straight and often branchless tree, with an 1upto 2.5 meter wide trunk.
The wood sources from this tree various from butter yellow to golden brown, from soft pearly green to brownish red. The grain is often straight, but can have a slight wave. It contains a substance that dissolves in organic solvents which increases the drying time of varnishes/lacquers finishes.

On this particular floor - as we advice to do on all tropical wood-species - we applied one coat of Saicos Ground Oil Extra Thin for long term protection. The oil is applied very thinly and then spread out evenly with none-fluffy cloth underneath the professional buffing machine.

After this has dried, the floor is finished with polishing wax, an old-fashion but very, if not the most, effective method to create the wear and tear layer.

Ton, co-owner of Wood You Like - buffs in the solid wax to create the natural wear and tear layer on the Iroko parquet floor
The professional buffing machine above works in the polishing wax, leaving a satin to shiny and non-slippery finish, bringing the wood's own character fully to life!
 
One Iroko/Kambala original herringbone parquet floor brought back to its original glamour
The end result: gone is the darkening and scruffy lacquer finish. The restoration-works fully exposed this Iroko/Kambala natural full and versatile character.

Wondering what your own original parquet floor is hiding beneath its old finish? Read this guide and who knows? Your floor might be an even bigger treasure than you think.

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Misconception on 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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Carpet???

(Remember: only one week left to enter your order in the Pre-Summer Draw, the final day is 30.06.2017)

Sometimes we are truly baffled by a question:

Hi, I'm going to lay an oak wood-engineered  flooring in my hallway. I have a carpet down at the moment, which is not very thick, but has quite a smooth texture. Would I be able to lay laminate over it, and it could be used as an underlay for the wood floor?

Answer:
BugsI'm afraid the answer is NO. You should never use carpet, or old carpet underlay, underneath a hard floor covering. Not only is it a different type of "underlayment" to that which you should use when installing wooden or laminate flooring, just think of all the little bugs, house mites, etc., still in the carpet or carpet underlayment. No matter how well or often you vacuum clean, they will still be there! Bugs and house mites love warm and humid conditions - so you'd be creating the perfect breeding circumstances for them.

Remove carpet and carpet underlayment, vacuum clean the bare underfloor thoroughly, and use proper underlayment especially made for wooden or laminated flooring. This will give you the best results.

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Now we always answer the question, no matter how baffled we are. We know wood-flooring, its installation, finishing and caring for have others baffled too, we are here to inform and advice everyone. Have a question yourself - use the ?help button at the bottom of every page.

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Do I use this after that?

Our inbox frequently received all kinds of questions, on all kinds wooden flooring subjects. Some are very good questions, others make us think not everyone has a correct understanding of the floorcovering they selected.

One question read:

can I use Saicos hard wax oil and then use Aunt Polly polishing wax

All oiled floors, not matter which brand oil had been used, can be treated with any maintenance product suitable for oiled floors, so the answer is yes. Some manufacturers of floor oils tell you you have to use only their maintenance products, but our experience tells us all (good) maintenance products - from sprays, polish and wax - can be used to keep your oiled floor healthy, beautiful and protecting it against dirt and drips.

Our answer was then followed by another question:

When I applied the Aunt Polly, can I then reseal the floor yearly with the HardWaxOil?

This is one of those questions that makes us realise that some people do not know the difference between finishing and maintenance products.

You only treat your wooden floor with a finishing product - such as Saicos HardWaxOil, or single oils - when it is brand new and unfinished OR if it floor has been sanded bare.

image from dpbfm6h358sh7.cloudfront.netA once treated floor you maintain with maintenance products, there is no need what so ever to reseal your wooden floor with another coat of oil once every year. Sellers of wooden floors or finishing materials who tell you that either do not know what they are talking about or are trying to sell you expensive oils.
Every wooden floor needs a maintenance treatment roughly twice a year, that should suffice to keep it healthy and beautiful.

So: finishing products only once (by yourself on unfinished wood or by the manufacturer when you purchase a pre-oiled floor) - maintenance products every 5 - 6 months. 

If you need more information on how to maintain your wooden floor, purchase the Ultimate Maintenance Guide in the secure webshop and you will never doubt what product to use when.

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An unfinished finish

A wooden floor is a beautiful and natural floor covering, with its lustre and shine. But not everyone appreciates its shine - due to the applied finish.

"I've just sanded down my Oak floor and I now love the colour, or the lack of it, the wood has now. How can I keep this (lack of) colour?"

"I know I have to finish my floor to protect it against dirt and stains etc, but finishing will give the wood a certain colour which I do not like that much. How can I...... etc"

As one of the persons asking the question already indicated, you'll have to finish your wooden floor after sanding (or if you purchased an unfinished floor) or you'll quickly end up with a dirty floor and stains that could be hard to remove. 

There is however a solution to keep your floor looking rather unfinished, using Saicos Premium HardWaxOil PURE. This is one of the sheens available which will give your floor the impression it is still unfinished while giving it also the normal protection the HardWaxOil finish will give it.

SAICOS-HARDWAX-OIL-Pure
The left part is finished with Pure, the right part with a normal sheen

(The Pure will give this impression for a long time, but nature will catch up eventually).

Remember, every wooden floor loves a maintenance polish every 5 -6 months. The Pure finish will come back unfinished once the polish has dried.

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Pre-Summer Draw - enter now

Over time Wood You Like has introduced various draws, for instances for the best DIY-er per month or when participating in one of our surveys. This time, every order counts towards the

PRE-SUMMER DRAW

Pre-Summer-Draw

Every order counts, as long as you place it between now (20.05.17) and the end of June (so before 01.07.17). 

On the first of July we will draw 5 lucky winners who all will receive a tremendous information pack (with a total value of over £ 30.00: Wooden Floor Installation Manuel (E-guide), The Ultimate Maintenance Guide, 7 Easy Steps to Repair/Restore your Parquet Floor and Buying Guide for Wooden Floors) PLUS for one of these five lucky winners we will refund the purchase price (excluding delivery charges) of the order drawn.

Place you order now and you might win the "Win-Back-your-Purchase-Price-Prize"!

As said above, all orders, no matter their total amount or type of product purchased, will be entered into the Pre-Summer Draw. Your order must be placed (and paid for) between 20.05.2017 and 30.06.2017 to be a valid entry. That is the only requirement, we can't make it any simpler!

The 5 winners of this Pre-Summer Draw will receive an email, containing the information pack, in the first full week of July 2017, the winner of the "Win-Back-your-Purchase-Price-Prize" will be refunded the purchase price (excluding delivery charges) before Saturday 08.07.17

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Part tropical, part Oak - now what?

Recently we received the following question (if you have a question of your own, simply use the ?Help button at the bottom of every page):

Hi there, I've just installed a reclaimed mosaic floor and am now stuck on what to do next. Part of the wood is tropical and part of the wood is Oak. How do I finish this the best way? Some tell me I should not use the same oil on the Oak as I plan to use on the tropical, is this so?

Well, "some" are partly right, tropical wood-species are oily of themselves and applying a HardWaxOil might give problems. The oil in the HWO will not penetrate the wood in the same way (or time) it does on blond wood-species, such as Oak, and could end up in a patchy result. Your best bet would be to use the thin oil, specially made for the first coat on tropical species, also as the first coat on the Oak - especially handy when both species are installed rather mixed, as can happen with reclaimed floors.

The thin oil will do its job perfectly on both the tropical and the Oak. Then, although on tropical one coat of hardwaxoil would suffice, it does not harm the wood if you also apply two coats of HardWaxOil normally done on the Oak wood. For your benefit, and for others too of course, we have combined Saicos Clean thin Oil and Saicos HardWaxOil in one product: The Tropical Combo, available in both 0.75 ltr tins as in 2.5 ltr tins.

5 different wood-species in one floor

(Own example of mixed species in one floor, in this case we discovered 5! different species)

applying the tropical combo on the different wood-species
(After applying the two products as mentioned above, this was the beautiful end result)

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Being green

Once in a while we still receive questions from returning clients on one of the maintenance products we used to carry:

"I've purchased wax-polish StepStop in the past from you, but I don't see it listed in your webshop. "

The 'old' StepStop was one of the products from Dutch manufacturer Lecol/Leha, which we stopped selling after an argument with the English importer on the green credentials of this manufacturer - you can read the story of this episode in this blogpost (on Kiss-business II, the business blog from our hand).

We then searched and found a very good and high quality replacement, maintaining your floor just as easy and well, and with true green credentials: 

Saicos EcoLine Wax-Care polish and its sister EcoLine wax-care spray for lacquered or varnished floors, and even for oiled/wax floors.

Easymaintenance

These products and the manufacturer  have never let us or our clients down, so if you are looking for high quality and green maintenance (or finishing) products, try the wide range of Saicos, the natural finish.

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Old or new reclaimed, choose wisely

Anyone who ever saw an old fashion parquet floor, battered by time, has been left in awe of it. So when you see an offer of old reclaimed parquet blocks, many are prone to jump on the offer and have it installed in their own home.

But be aware of the following:

  1. Reclaimed blocks with bitumenMost reclaimed blocks come with a thick layer of bitumen at the bottom - the bitumen was frequently used as an adhesive before this material was banned for such practice. This layer has to be
    removed before you install the blocks in your home, otherwise you only adhere the bitumen layer to the underfloor and when this old and smelly adhesive becomes brittle you are left with loose blocks.
    Now, removing such a layer of bitumen is hard to do. Best - and only if your reclaimed blocks are thick enough, say over 15mm - is to cut off the bottom part of the block, removing a thin layer of wood and the whole of the bitumen in one clean sweep. But this requires a lot of time and a specialised tool - and mind your fingers, you don't want to cut those off!
  2. Once you were able to remove the bitumen completely of the blocks you can install them, in a pattern you like. Then you have to finish the floor, but since the blocks are reclaimed they already have a (often damaged) finish on them. Do you know if it is a stain, of if varnish or oil was used? 
    Because many are in awe of the battered appearance to the reclaimed blocks, sanding it down to the bare wood will remove this authentic look. You'll be left with a lot of work and hardly anything to show for your labour, at least not the old fashioned battered reclaimed look you bought them for.

There are however reputable suppliers who have new "reclaimed" parquet blocks for you: battered for the old fashioned look without the above problems. They might be a bit more in price than real reclaimed blocks, but if you add the time, trouble and sometimes even the cost of removing the bitumen the new blocks often come out at the same or even lower price.

Often these news blocks come half-prefinished, so you only have to finish them, after you installed them, with a maintenance polish such as Saicos Wax-Care polish or Basin Aunt Poly's polishing wax for an even more authentic look. Others come unfinished, and you have to be carefully installing them to prevent spillages and stains of the modern adhesive, and can be finished with for instance Saicos HardWaxOil.

Who knows, you might end up with a grand new reclaimed floor such as the one below:

Newreclaimed

 

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