How to Repair Parquet Floors?

Having your floors in top condition is crucial if you want to maintain the image of a beautiful home. Parquet, however, as any other material used for floors can be damaged. Water, for example, can destroy your parquet floors very easily, to the point where you have to replace the whole floor. Fire is another danger to any sort of floor. Or, your floor might have simply been damaged by physical force.

Whatever it is, repairing parquet floors is a job that certainly needn’t be taken to a professional, as you can do it on your own – if you know what you’re doing. In today’s article, we’ll be ensuring that you know what you’re doing!

How to Repair Parquet Floors
How to Repair Parquet Floors

Today, we’ll be taking a look at all the fixes you might need to apply on your parquet floor, and we’ll be teaching you how to take care of your floor after it’s been damaged.

Let’s get started!

Fixing Your Parquet Floor After a Flood

The timeless look your parquet floor provides will lose its grace pretty quickly if you’ve suffered a flood. A broken pipe can be devastating for your floors, and you need to replace that parquet flooring as soon as possible.

Step 1 – Removing the Parquet

There’s no real way to fix your parquet floor after it’s been damaged by water, so you’ll have to replace it completely. The first step in this replacement is removing the floor completely, before setting up a new floor.

The damaged pieces are very easy to find, as they’ll be buckling up off of the floor. Water will literally raise the floor, so the parts of the floor that are uneven are the parts you need to take care of. You’ll need a circular saw (most likely, sometimes it’s possible to just rip your parquet out, but that’s rare) and you’ll need to cut into the floor.

It’s best to aim for the joints where one piece of parquet meets another – you should be able to pry out the piece of parquet after cutting into the floor. If you can’t pry off the piece of parquet, ask someone to help you and use two crowbars simultaneously.

Step 2 – Removing the Adhesive

There’s adhesive underneath the parquet – that’s how it’s sticking to the floor. This adhesive is usually very strong, which makes it very difficult to get rid of. This is actually a good thing because your flooring is built to last and this adhesive is supposed to keep the parquet permanently stuck to the floor for at least 100 years.

However, parquet can’t exactly handle water and this adhesive can’t either. It’s best to use a scraper when you’re trying to pry the adhesive off the floor. You should know in advance that this is difficult physical labor and if you had more hands-on deck you’d certainly get it off sooner.

Step 3 – Buying New Parquet

You’ll obviously have to replace your old parquet with a new parquet, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to buy the exact same parquet you bought all those years ago. Contact the retailer who sold you this one and ask if they have some more, if not, contact the company. It’s also possible, although unlikely, that you have some leftover from when the house was being built or renovated.

That’s your best chance of getting the same parquet. If you don’t manage that, then you should hit the shops and find the closest model you can to your model of parquet. What’s good is the fact that most parquet colors are coded and they’re produced massively, and they really stick to the popular part of the spectrum. This means that the color of your parquet is likely among the most popular ones, so you won’t have a problem with finding another model, even if it isn’t from the same manufacturer.

Step 4 – Acclimation

When you’re installing a new piece of parquet, you need to allow it to acclimate to the environment of your home. The new piece may expand or contract to a significant degree because the parquet reacts differently to different temperatures. You definitely don’t want to apply the adhesive just to have your parquet contract and leave gaping holes in your floor.

So, leave your new parquet in the room for at least 24 hours before you decide to apply the adhesive, just for it to get used to the temperature and humidity levels of the room. This is the safest way to go, and some experts even suggest that you leave it for more than 24 hours.

Step 5 – Applying the Adhesive

Applying the adhesive is the first thing you’re supposed to do when you’re about to install a new piece of parquet. Different manufacturers recommend different adhesives, so make sure that you’re following instructions by your manufacturer.

Apply some adhesive to the floor and let it sit in, it needs to become hard and tacky before you start installing the new flooring. Don’t think about installing the new flooring before you’ve let the adhesive sit!

Step 6 – Installing the Parquet

The last piece of the puzzle is to actually install the parquet on the adhesive.

To do that, cut the tongues from the new piece of parquet and allow it to fit down into the openings. After that, simply press it into the adhesive and then put something heavy on top of it. Once the adhesive has dried, you can use the floor just like you did before the flooding!

Parquet Floor Restoration

Did your floor lose the shine and need to be restored? Don’t worry, there’s a clear guideline of what you have to do.

Step 1 – Staging the Area

The first thing you should do is clear the area out – sometimes the most mundane tasks can be the most important ones. The area must be prepared for the inevitable sanding which will strip the old finish. It’s important to get rid of dust, which has abrasive properties, and it could harm the floor when you start sanding it.

Step 2 – Repairing the Old Flooring

If the parquet seems to be unstable and there are damaged or missing blocks, you might need to replace some of the floorings. To determine whether the parquet is unstable, you need to gently tap each section of the parquet to discover which parts produce hollow or rattling sounds.

It’s difficult to remove a single part of the parquet, but it needs to be done before you move on with your restoration. What’s unfortunate is that if the parquet in your apartment/house is very old, it’s likely used bitumen as an adhesive. This is absolutely terrible news!

Bitumen is nowadays used as a material in road construction, but in the Victorian era, it was used as an adhesive for parquet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really bond well with modern adhesives, not to mention that it sticks to the floor with a lot of strength and it’s a pain to get rid of it! The material itself is sticky, often brittle, and unstable.

Removing bitumen from the underfloor may be painful, but it’s also necessary and you absolutely must do it if you want to properly secure your parquet in place. And once you remove the bitumen, the job isn’t done…

At this point, it may seem like a never-ending list of jobs, but it’s not true. There’s an ending before you, we swear, it’s just important to do everything properly if you want long-lasting results.

The underfloor is the third victim of bitumen – the first one being you, and the second one being the parquet. It is strong enough to damage the concrete below the blocks upon removal because it’s stuck to the underfloor so well. The damage this causes can make the subfloor uneven, and that has to be taken care of before you start laying any new parquet…however, modern problems require modern solutions, and modern acrylic leveling compounds are just the thing you need to fix this problem.

Level the surface of the underfloor with one of these compounds, and once it’s completely level, you can proceed by putting the parquet blocks back into their rightful place.

Blocks of parquet are fitted with a bit of space in between them because they tend to move a bit as the seasons roll on. This can’t and shouldn’t be prevented, as it’s a natural process and that’s just how woodworks. The floor might actually buckle if you attempt to affect this. It’s also a reason why it’s important to remove as much bitumen as possible – the more of it you remove, the better will your floor fit in the long run.

Modern, flexible adhesives are much better than old-school adhesives because they allow for the floor to move a little bit, in its natural ways. These adhesives are a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it.

Step 3 – Sanding the Floor

When you’re sanding your floor, it’s important to understand that floor sanding is divided into three parts: rough, medium, and fine. If your floor is very uneven, it’s best to start with coarse sandpaper grits like P24 and slowly transition to finer ones. Since parquets are more delicate and they’re rarely uneven, it’s unlikely that this will be necessary with parquet.

It’s better to start with P40 and gradually move on to P80. Once you’ve reached P80, you’re at the medium sanding round. Once you’re done and you’ve sanded the whole floor, it’s time to vacuum the floor to clean it.

It’s important to follow the grain of the wood – this is sort of a golden rule when it comes to sanding the floor. If you don’t follow it, you’re risking damaging the grain and ruining the impression of a perfectly smooth surface.

This is where trouble arises with parquet floors. Since parquet is made from many blocks of wood, arranged in different patterns with grain following different directions, how can you sand it without damaging the grain? You don’t.

Since herringbone is the most popular parquet pattern, it’s best to sand it diagonally – each side of the parquet will be stripped equally and it’s really the best way to approach this job.

You can also use a buffing machine to make the final part of the sanding process easier.

Step 4 – Filling in the Gaps

This isn’t mandatory, but it’s definitely going to make your floor look more beautiful and it will prevent draughts and save you some money on heating bills during the winter.

Since the gaps on the parquet floor are so small, it’s preferred to fill them by using a mix of sawdust and filler resin. You can collect the dust during the sanding process and add it to the resin, which allows the mixture to acquire the natural color of the floor and mask the gap pretty well. If there are any bigger gaps, you can collect coarser sawdust during the rough sanding (or you can just buy the sawdust).

Since resin dries extremely quickly, you’re going to need to act quickly! Use a bigger knife to allow the filling to go faster.

Step 5 – Finishing the Job

There are two types of floor finishes and you’re going to need to opt for one. There are penetrating oils and lacquers. The third option is hard wax oils, and it’s supposed to combine the qualities of both oil and lacquers but its actual effectiveness is questionable, so we wouldn’t recommend it.

Lacquers form a sort of protective film on the surface of the parquet and provide the best protection out of the three, while they also require the least maintenance out of the three. However, it will scratch easily and it will make the parquet look sort of plastic.

Then, we have oils, which soak into the wood and protect the wood from the inside. The look is much better in comparison to lacquers, but the level of durability and the level of protection is much less developed than with lacquers.

Hardwax oils are new products that work as an oil finish but also form a film on the surface just like a lacquer. This film is, however, weak and the finish is susceptible to damage caused by liquid spills, which is why we don’t recommend it.

Most of these finishes can be applied using an applicator pad and a brush, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, since they know best.

Once you’ve applied your finish, you’ve completed your restoration!

Removing Scratches from Your Parquet Floor

Removing Superficial Scratches

Even though scratches are nothing but an optical defect in your flooring and they certainly won’t be causing you any trouble, they’re still something that should be removed if you have the time. With parquet, you have the additional danger of dirt and moisture penetrating the scratch and entering your floor.

Polishing can remove most superficial scratches and sanding marks, and most scratches are actually superficial. It doesn’t matter if your parquet is oiled or waxed, polishing won’t harm it and it will definitely get rid of the scratch.

Furniture polish or repair wax or oil is applied to a soft, lint-free cloth and the scratch is rubbed in until it has disappeared – this is the best method of getting rid of it. However, it’s important to check whether the material is actually compatible with parquet, because the agents used in the material may cause discoloration of the wood.

Painted parquet must be taken care of, especially. You can just sand the area and provide it with a new layer of diluted lacquer, but it will hardly be possible to repair the paint without transitions, which can be seen more or less depending on the light incidence.

It’s actually possible to take care of the simplest scratches with walnut! You can just rub it into the scratch, and the scratch will not disappear completely, but it won’t be as visible. Suitable parquet maintenance also helps against small scratches in the floor.

Removing Deeper Scratches

Deep scratches and holes can also be fixed. Even though we didn’t check, there certainly is a video on the internet of someone, somewhere, fixing a hole in their floor with ramen noodles, but this isn’t what we’d recommend.

Wooden putty is our recommendation.

Make sure to first clean your parquet with a vacuum cleaner and a damp cloth, as the area you’re fixing must be completely dry before you start working on it.

You should mix the wood putty accordingly and apply it to the scratch or hole with a plastic spatula in several layers and smooth coat it. However, wood putty isn’t colored to the exact same color as your parquet, and this will be very visible. That’s why it’s best to use sawdust that’s matching with your parquet in color and add it to the putty. When it’s completely dried, sand the repaired area with sandpaper until it’s completely even with the rest of the parquet. It usually takes 12 to 24 hours for the putty to dry, so this is a two-day job.

There are also whole sets, ones you can find in DIY stores or order online, which you can use to repair your parquet. These sets usually have melting wax in them, and high-quality melting wax will heat up and be applied to the hole and fill it. You can get this wax in various shades, so you don’t have to worry about it fitting in with the color of your parquet – there won’t be a difference.

Some sets offer the option of the wax being mixed with a wood paste until the color tone corresponds as closely as possible to that of the parquet. You can fill the hole(s) in your floor with this compound, which is surely going to look the same way it did before the hole was created. This wax, however, is no good for filling joints in hardwood flooring – the brittle material is unsuitable for this job.

You can simply remove the remaining wax with a spatula and clean the repaired area with a dry cloth and reapply care products for wood (polish, oil, sealing varnish).

It must be noted, though, that these sets can only be used once the hole is deep enough. The hole needs to be large enough for it to fit a large amount of wax – which will use itself as support. If the hole is too small, you should either stick with the previous method or you should, somewhat ironically, make the hole larger.

Removing Dents in the Parquet

Dents are usually not as troubling as scratches, holes, or flooding. You can, in most cases, just moisten them to get them flat. The parquet will swell lightly because of the moisture and the dent is removed.

However, there are more stubborn dents that can’t just be removed easily with moisture – an iron may help you with this. Place a damp cloth on the appropriate place and gently slide over it with a hot iron. The moisture from the water will evaporate and penetrate into the wood better – this will make the parquet expand and the dent will disappear.

However, there’s something you have to be wary about when you’re working with this method. If the moisture is too excessive, you could cause the parquet to swell too much, which will result in you fixing the dent, but opening up a whole new can of worms, so make sure that you’re not overdoing it.

Another thing that you have to keep in mind is the lacquer – not all lacquer can withstand the high temperatures of the iron – you could easily damage your floor if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s best to test this method out on your lacquered parquet in a spot where no one will notice the discoloration if it happens to appear.

If the dent was caused by water damage or flooding, though, then it may not be as easy to repair the dent.

Replacing the Parquet Partially

What’s good about parquet, and all hardwood flooring, really – is the fact that you can just partially repair the flooring. You don’t have to completely change the flooring, as you can simply take out the part of the parquet that has suffered the damage and replace them.

Why Does Parquet Deteriorate?

Age is the most common factor when it comes to parquet restoration. Your parquet has without a doubt been covered with various rugs and carpets. Once you finally take these pieces out, you’ll find that some blocks of parquet have started to rot and are of no use to you anymore. No material can fight to age, and it’s ultimately the one element that beats all of us – your parquet is no less vulnerable. The only real way you can fight it is to slow the aging of the parquet down by taking good care of it.

The wood has to be allowed to ‘breathe’ in order to do well, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make with parquet is covering it with a carpet or a rug. Since parquet floors witnessed a real ‘boom’ in the 1940s, they were laid upon inferior substrates that lacked the reliability of our modern-day concrete and underfloor damp-proof membranes. This has basically caused the deterioration of many parquet floors.

The most common issues with parquet that need repairing are loose and un-bonded blocks, rotten and unsound blocks, missing blocks and areas filled with concrete, gaps between the blocks, poor surface finishes and appearance, inappropriate blocks of a different species fitted into the floor, block sections that lift from the floor due to failed substrates and lack of expansion joints causing buckling of the parquet.

The best thing you can do to ensure that your parquet floor lasts long is to refinish it with a lacquer every 7 years. This is how much the average lacquer can last, but different lacquers from different manufacturers last differently, so make sure to follow the instructions from the manufacturer.

It’s important to take the wood your parquet floor is made of into consideration, as well, as not all lacquers are applicable to all different types of wood. We’d always recommend that you consult with an expert before deciding what lacquer to buy, as you don’t want to mess up and buy something that’s only going to harm your floor.

Also, there are certain repairs not even you can carry out, in which case we recommend that you call an expert. 

Literature:

https://www.flooringfirst.co.uk/service-guide-parquet-restoration/parquet-floor-restoration-thorough-guide.html
https://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-fix-water-damaged-parquet-flooring

Annika Vallgren

The old housewives, in general, were in charge of everything in a household. From doing budget deliberations, meal planning to implementing actions and everything in between, they are simply the right person for the job, period. A major portion of their time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, and feeding her hungry children, who would come home tired from school. I believe we have a lot to learn from her. So, here you will find old housewife tips mixed with modern life hacks, knowledge about washing and cleaning, and much more the modern housewife needs!

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