Thursday, 22 November 2012

Parquet Floor DIY

This blog is to show the process that I went through to get the beautiful reclaimed beech parquet floors I currently have in my home.... It involved a lot of trial and error and I hope that by writing this blog others will be helped in choosing the methods needed to deal with their parquet and the inevitable bitumen (which gets everywhere)....
Having moved into a new apartment in Cambridge, England two years ago, I found myself a year later in 2010 still with concrete floors everywhere except the bathroom and the Kitchen.
After looking at every possible flooring imaginable one year ago I decided to buy reclaimed beech parquet flooring from Ebay and to then lay and sand and varnish it all by myself.
I am a single Mum of a toddler who was two then and is now almost four, not perhaps the ideal start for what turned out to be a rather ongoing job. But hey, if I can do it, you can as well!
I'm into reclaimed and recycled goods so this made sense.
I followed every piece of parquet being sold on the lead up to my bid in November 2010 and for a mere £90 I managed to buy 40 m 2 of 6cm x 20cm x 2cm solid reclaimed beech parquet blocks from a teacher who had saved it from the school he was working at. My kind friend helped me pick it up in his estate car....

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Equipment needed to clean & lay down a parquet floor

A good chisel is a must!
Cleaning the reclaimed parquet blocks is a dirty job. Bitumen from the bottom of the blocks will get everywhere. Always work in clothes you can throw away when done. I had three DIY outfits...You will need work gloves, a chisel and a work bench and lots of paitence for preparing the blocks!!!

My blocks came in old photocopy paper boxes which worked out at about half a square metre per box. I cleaned the edges and not the bottom or tops. I cleaned 18 sqm for the lounge checking as I went that they weren't to bowed and would fit together smoothly.

Arthur's bedroom taking up the shirting boards
I took up all the skirting boards as you need to leave an expansion gap.
I couldn't find any suitable information for solid beech so I decided roughly 3 cm (1.5cm gap between the wood and the wall) all the way round the edge of the room would be sufficient. I thought this was the best method as the skirting board could be put back suspended above this gap. I decided to have a single edge around the room as I felt it complimented the herrimgbone beech parquet.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Laying The Parquet Floor

I decided to lay the rooms with a single border in filled with a herringbone pattern. This is actually easier than you would think. All the cuts are 45 degree angles (unless your room isn't square).

I used the following equipment:

  • DIY clothes
  • knee pads
  • a trowel 
  • a rubber hammer
  • eye goggles
  • compound saw
and lots of patience and cups of tea and chocolate! 

Monday, 14 May 2012

Cleaning Parquet blocks is a dirty dirty diy job...

I managed to get a work bench from the recycling area for our apartments - lovely kind people keep on leaving great stuff there instead of sending it to landfill....I am totally in favour of this approach to life!

I set the workbench up in the lounge and set to work with scraping the dirt off the sides of each block. I left the dowels in either end and swivelled the blocks round scraping as I went. About every hour I had cleaned a couple of metres worth.  It is a long job so have some other form of entertainment going whilst you do this bit... I had a film on which is always a good thing! My blocks had bitumen on the bottom of them which you don't need to clean off. The blocks had been stacked up together and the bitumen often is also left in sticky clumps on the top as well. These clumps on top may as well be left on and in the process I discovered the best way to deal with this.

I layered my parquet in the lounge and bedrooms in a herringbone manner with a single lane border of blocks and in the hallway I layered the blocks in a brick wall style.

The last room is almost done...

This is the design studio and I am nearly there... The wood glue from B&Q stated that it would spread over 15m2 onto concrete floors. Depending on the bucket purchased and the date manufactured this was in no way accurate. 

With the incentive of my Mum coming to visit from New Zealand I tried gallantly to finish the last room..The wood adhesive spread as thinly as possible left me high and dry. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Studio Finished.

Laying down the last of The Studio floor.

The Studio was a mission to do but nowhere near as bad as the other rooms....Here are the reasons why...
It was different wood.


It was from a 1950's house here in Cambridge, England...& not from an 1850's school hall...
It was cleaner.
Each piece was larger.
The wood was straighter.
It didn't have as much varnish on it.
There was less bitumen.
The pieces fitted together well.

The end is in sight.

The pencil line shows where to cut the final pieces...all 45 angles and either left or right angles..

The Floor finally laid. Not cleaned. Not Sanded. Not varnished.

This is what you need to clean the dried bitumen off the top of the parquet. A great big heavy duty  metal wire brush to attach to your diy drill bit. Turps or white spirit works but you have to use lots and it isn't great for either you or the environment....

Apply the drill bit at an angle. Apply lots of pressure.

After a few goes the wood starts to look clean.

When done you can wipe the excess dirt off the floor using white spirit...Make sure you open the windows for ventilation.

Finished and cleaned. Not sanded, varnished etc.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Compound Saw about to spring into action...
Flooring being glued down in Herringbone fashion...
Floor completely laid in Arthur's room.. Every last piece used...

Clean the excess bitumen off with white smells...but it works fast..