When we started removing our vendor’s execrable turquoise nylon carpet, we found that the yellow foam backing was disintegrating. The foam literally looked like very fine sand. (I will look for a photo and add if I find one)
Worried about breathing the unknown substance in, I called the local district council for advice. The guy I spoke to was great, telling me exactly what we should do to remove it. Kitted up like forensic scientists, NCIS stylee in disposable overalls and masks, we used a hired HEPA filter commercial vacuum cleaner.
First, we vacuumed the carpet thoroughly. Then vacuumed up the loose stuff and vacuumed as we went, rolling it up. Fortunately, being the hall carpeting, it wasn’t very wide.
After bagging in the garden, the carpet went straight to the tip and the hall got another vacuum. It was then that we noticed some pretty big gaps between the original Edwardian pine floorboards. Big enough to stick a pencil in.
My mother ruined her feet dancing in high heels and ended up with titanium toe joints, so I am not a fan of spiky heels. It wouldn’t be funny if a visitor got one stuck and I didn’t fancy losing my debit card or pen. Plus, there were probably some spidery critters down in the foundations, which I didn’t want to become intimately acquainted with.
My lovely father-in-law had some actual floorlaying experience, so when I came up with the idea of parquet tiles, he told us exactly what he needed. We bought it all from Wickes and got unsealed hevea brasiliensis aka parawood parquet tiles.
Hevea is pale, so we wanted to stain and wax it. I had a long phone call with a wax and stain manufacturer, and was pointed in the direction of a local stockist. Incredible though it seems to me now, neither the manufacturer nor the guy in the old-fashioned hardware store suggested sealing the floor first. I was told that stain wouldn’t be needed and that over time the floor would darken.
Pa-in-law did an excellent job of laying the floor. Hardboard panels nailed to the floor boards with taped joints. Expert level cork expansion joints etc. Floor looked great.
The wax looked orange, it smelt pungent and we weren’t advised to use masks. Even with the front and back doors open, The Husband became faint and wobbly from whatever solvent the manufacturer used.
It stayed orange, that is until the wax started wearing off. The floor became greige, very quickly.
The kitchen is situated at the end of the elongated z shape hall and necessitates a step down. Not clear why the house was designed with a step down to the kitchen and a step up to an upper landing with three of the four bedrooms.
Laying the parquet but stopping short of the step edge threw the natural walking steps. After I crash-dived into the kitchen, The Husband removed some parquet.
There is work to be done on both kitchen, bathroom and stairs so the hall floor will need to wait awhile. But today I hit upon solutions to two of the problems.
The first, came to me, because as a child I lived in a timber-framed house from Colt Houses with my parents. Ours had thick sealed cork flooring under the carpets on both floors.
The second solution came from a company in Westerwald, Dural which manufactures nosing systems for stairs.
Sealed cork tiles are warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to clean, natural product.