Caring for Parquet

This story shows how to care for parquet flooring.

Caring for Parquet

You'll get good results if you treat your parquet floor as you would fine furniture. Use a cleaner that is made or recommended by the manufacturer. Never clean the floor with water or water-base products.

Wipe up spills immediately with a damp cloth and dry the area with a dry cloth. Old T-shirts are excellent for this purpose. Do not use cleaners that contain abrasives, caustic chemicals, bleach, or ammonia. For routine cleaning use a solvent-base cleaner or a one-step cleaner/polish combination.

Most prefinished parquet tile is manufactured with a durable acrylic or polyurethane finish. Some finishes are no-wax, others benefit from waxing. Check the manufacturer's directions before you purchase cleaning products. Acrylic waxes generally are not recommended for wood floors, and some polyurethane finishes should not be waxed.

Almost all wood finishes change color over time. You can slow this process by keeping the draperies closed. Areas covered with rugs won't be subject to color changes, so the color difference will be revealed if you decide to move the rugs.

Prestart Checklist

An hour to vacuum and clean a 15x20-foot floor; an hour to remove, replace a damaged tile

Cleaning: vacuum, cleaning product applicator Repairing: circular saw, chisel, hammer, notched plastic scraper, trowel, putty knife, utility knife, backsaw

Cleaning: manufacturer's cleaning solution Repairing: replacement tile, mastic

Step 1

To remove a damaged parquet tile, set your circular saw to the thickness of the tile and equip the saw with a fine-tooth blade. Make a series of parallel plunge cuts about 2 inches apart, stopping just short of the adjacent tiles.

Step 2

Using a 3/4-inch or 1-inch chisel with the bevel down, cut out the sections of parquet between the lines. Keep the chisel as flat as possible -- you may have to remove the first section one layer at a time. Clean out any wood scraps and scrape off the old adhesive with a putty knife.

Step 3

If the parquet is tongue-and-groove (and most quality tiles are), the tongues will be in the way when you replace the tile. When you remove the damaged tile, cut the tongues on the surrounding tiles. Cut the tongue from the replacement tile and press it into freshly laid adhesive. Spread the adhesive with a notched plastic scraper and press the new tile flush with the old tile.

Step 4

Clean excess adhesive that seeped through the joints and weigh down the tile with heavy books or exercise weights. Let the adhesive dry overnight. If the replacement tile is prefinished, it may look more glossy than the originals. Reduce the new-tile gloss with a light burnishing with #0000 steel wool. If the tile is unfinished, stain and finish it to match the surrounding floor.

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