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To parquet, to parquet; hassles doing up a detached cottage; inheriting a listed property; and the pitfalls of an interest-only mortgage.
Under our kitchen lino we’ve discovered an old parquet floor, mostly a mahogany colour with patches worn to beech. We’d love to have the whole floor pale but power-sanding and household bleach have had little effect. Is there any way to lighten the darker parquet?
David Snell writes: I think perhaps it’s the dark wood that reflects the original colour and the lighter areas are those that have been damaged by water, heat or the dropping of things like hot fat. You’ll obviously beg to differ but I’ve never been convinced that timber flooring of any type is really suitable for kitchens and bathrooms, and the previous occupants obviously agreed when they covered it up with the linoleum.
Be that as it may, let’s take it from here. I don’t think you’ll ever get the whole floor to lighten without replicating the original damage; you’ve already sanded it down and it is still patchy. The other choice is to try to darken the light areas to match the rest of the floor.
I suggest you get some trial pots of various woodstains and then, in a discreet corner or underneath a kitchen unit, try out small patches to see which one works the best. Once you have your colour you’ll need to seal it.
The product that I’ve found to be the best is Treatex Hardwax Oil Traditional, which you paint onto the floor. It’s not cheap but it does the job. Thereafter a cleaning additive by the same company, Treatex (01844 260416; www.treatex.co.uk), which is added to water and applied with a damp mop, will maintain the sheen.