"Oddly enough this jotting is not about floor sanding at all! Although I now make my living sanding wooden floors throughout London, I have been blessed that, in most situations, I have been able to get right down to sanding a floor with little or no prior preparation. However, the position I found myself in today was a little different from the norm, as the wooden floor in front of my eyes was definitely in need of some TLC, before I could be let loose with a floor sander. My initial observations were that the floor was nice and flat, but some of the joints needed filling, and there were other minor defects that needed attention to bring back the floor close to its original glory.
“It’s the sign of the times, I’m afraid,” said the bearded chap standing next to me in what was once an old Methodist Chapel. “We are setting up this old place as a drop in centre and food bank for deprived families in the area and we have been given a generous grant to spruce the place up a bit,” he explained. “Although we are in central London you would be surprised to know how many people we cater for here,” he added rather thoughtfully.
The chapel was certainly in need of some renovation, but I couldn’t help admire the wooden floor, which was the centre piece of the building. It had obviously been laid by some craftsman, but over time, several of the parquet joints had separated and with general wear and tear cracks had developed in the surface. The centre leader explained that they were expecting a lot of families with young children to use the centre and he was concerned that the floor must be smooth and properly sealed so that it didn’t present any risk to crawling babies. The floor had to be easy to clean and disinfect afterwards.
I inspected the wooden floor closely and soon realised that before sanding this floor, expert preparation of the wooden floor would be of paramount importance. I examined my Bona Care catalogue and quickly determined that a product called Bona Mix and Fill would be ideally suited to this application. The Bona specification sheet told me that Mix and Fill will repair joints up 2mm wide, whilst drying quickly and is easy to apply. I was also pleased to note that it is completely free of any solvents and not overpowering in terms of odour. As Mix and Fill is water based and entirely inflammable I was happy that this Bona product would present no harm to the kids.
“We want to retain the character of floor, if you know what I mean,” the centre manager intervened, “will this floor still retain its natural colour after you have filled in the gaps?” he asked. I explained that I will mix the Bona filler with some of the original floor sand to keep the colour consistent, then, as the joints are filled, the overall look of the floor will remain relatively unchanged.
So, after the floor sanding operation, I gathered together some of the fine floor sand residue and mixed it with the Bona Mix and Fill compound. I then applied it to the joints in the floor with a plastic grouting applicator, spreading it evenly through the gaps in the floor. I was very pleased to note that there in most cases just one amount of Mix and Fill was sufficient but in some of the more difficult cracks I did have to use two layers of the compound, just to be sure. Once completed and dry (which took approximately 30 minutes),I then completed sanding the floor with a Lagler Trio floor sander fitted with some 120 grit sanding discs. In no time I had the floor ready and prepared to seal. Bona Mix and Fill can be used with all Bona finishes, so I went after the centre manager to find out which of the Bona sealants he had selected for this floor.
This was the first time I had encountered Bona Mix and Fill and I was delighted with the results, I thought to myself I would have preferred to have used the product in different circumstances but I consoled myself with the fact that, luckily, I doubt that I would be needing the services of this centre for myself!"