Hardwood Flooring Ideas

Hardwood Flooring Ideas

Bleaching, liming

Liming a hardwood, such as the ash of this staircase, will transform the natural warm tone of the wood to a cooler, grey colour and will particularly highlight the grain. Thorough preparation of the wood is essential to enable the liming medium to sit in the grain and achieve this distinctive and elegant look.

Colouring wood grain

Bleaching, liming and staining are decorative treatments that can be applied to wood to alter its colouring without losing the unique quality of the grain. Indeed, on the contrary, bleaching and liming emphasize the wood-grain creating striking effects.

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Bleaching

The bleached, greyish floors found in old Scandinavian houses create a subtle, sophisticated background that is perfect for virtually any type of furnishing and colour. Although these floors have been scrubbed over the years to the point where the soft part of the wood is worn away leaving the raised and harder central grain, a similar light and airy feel can be achieved on old boards without quite so much time and effort. It can be done either by bleaching the wood or simply by rubbing white paint into it.

There are a number of chemical wood bleaches available, based on either strong acids or alkalis. Always follow the manufacturers instructions when using them and ventilate the working environment. Wear protective clothing, rubber gloves and a mask. For further product information request a data sheet from the supplier.

To rub white paint into the wood be it emulsion or undercoat is a much simpler operation. Use an old cloth to rub the paint in and wipe off any excess with a clean, dry cloth, finishing in the direction of the grain. Alternatively, you can make up a colourwash with a 13 ratio of white emulsion to water. Tint this wash with raw umber and ivory black acrylic colour to make a warm grey, and then add raw sienna to warm the colour further. Test the colour on a board in a discreet corner, allowing it to dry before making any final judgements. If it is too opaque, add more water and adjust the colours to suit.

Both these treatments look best when finished with a matt varnish.

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