building protection

Designable parquet and wood flooring or wood-like floor surfaces, such as bamboo, offer many possibilities for individual surface protection. Literally, no other thing is used as much as the floor. The floor is the most stressed area regarding building construction or in a house.

There is a lot of information about parquet, wood and flooring but little about the aesthetics and design criteria of surfaces that can be treated after installation. Finished products, such as laminate, factory sealed or oiled finished parquet, can hardly be designed, unless the surface effect is changed with glossier care products or, if possible, the existing protection system is removed, in order to apply a different one.

The appearance of a floor surface is so essential, if the interior design effect of the entire space is to be created. The design possibilities of parquet, wood, bamboo and similar floors are based on the technical utility functions of the protective products and the individual, optical wishes placed on the surfaces. Today, requirements to the sustainability and resource efficiency of the products to be used are a matter of course.

The surface effect is created on untreated surfaces, i.e. those which are still influenced by colourless or coloured primers or varnishes, oils, varnishes, lyes and care products etc. after the floor material has been laid. Therefore, we deal with surfaces that can be designed, i.e. those that allow individual requirements.

The "design" of the floor should achieve a long service life and easy maintenance and cleaning with the right surface treatment, which should of course be tread-resistant. The applied sealing or impregnation should endure a lot: be environmentally-friendly, offer solutions with regard to resource efficiency and at the same time "look good" in the long term, or the originally required optical effect should be maintained as long as possible.

The floor surface should receive a coordinated colour effect or a certain gloss level matching the interior - the furniture, walls, fabrics and colours used in the room – and should result in a harmonious and valuable overall effect.

The quality of the flooring material and its appearance depends on the type of wood used or the carrier material used, the type of installation (sprung floors, planks, wood paving etc.) and the surface finish. Technical possibilities and limits as well as optical desires define the design framework.

Whether new or old, whether carpet, parquet or wooden flooring, cementitious putty - floors need to be protected from stains, scratches or dents and generally from signs of wear. Cork, wood or bamboo floors are protected either with an impregnation or a sealant or with care and cleaning agents. In rare cases, wood is only treated with lye or soap, as the surface offers little protection against the effects of liquids, dirt or other substances.

The professionally prepared care instructions contain, for example information on the application of the IRSA care and (basic) cleaning product, on joint formation, plasticizer-free chair glides and carpet brakes, suitable office chair castors in accordance with DIN 68131, dirt trap mats, when to re-seal or when the floor should be cared for, walked on or loaded at the earliest.

Another important point is to get to know the right room climate. A room temperature of around 20 °C and a maximum humidity of 60 to 65 % are ideal. Wood as a natural material "breathes" and reacts particularly to moisture. If the air is too moist, it can easily swell and deform. If the climate is too dry, it contracts and joints are being formed. During the heating period, humidifiers help to prevent room air from becoming too dry.

Parquet varnish, wood water varnish, wood sealing, parquet sealing, wood varnish, primer top coat
Floor sealing, sealing for parquet, wood or bamboo and cork floors

With a parquet varnish or parquet sealing, whether an environmentally friendly water-based varnish or a solvent-based sealer, the surface is protected from chemical and mechanical influences as an alternative to oil. For example the application of a varnish creates a film, while the application of an impregnation (not layer-forming oil) polishes the material into the wood. Parquet sealing influences the technical and optical properties of the surface.

A pre-requisite for any kind of professionally performed surface treatment is that the surface appears smooth and even after sanding and any necessary putties. For example, the surface must not be (differently) rough or even show colour stains or grooves caused by improper sanding.

The technical challenges that should be considered when using surface protection materials are the swelling and shrinkage behaviour of the carrier material, the possible gluing properties - the so-called side gluing - the sealing or impregnation applied to the carrier, the degree of mechanical and chemical stress and the required slip resistance and tread resistance of the sealed or oiled surface. For health and environmental reasons, environmentally friendly, e.g. low-emission or emission-free and certified surface protection products should be used.

The perfect design possibilities with colourless seals are the "glowing of wood" and the "degree of gloss".

The change in colour tone of untreated raw materials (e.g. wood, bamboo, cork) caused by the first application of a transparent sealant (primer or top coat) is known as a "glowing of wood".

The degree of gloss is a visual perception that is created when surfaces are looked at. The gloss level is measured with a so-called reflectometer (e.g. from Byk Gardener). A constant light beam is sent to the surface to be measured at a defined angle; the residual amount of the light beam reflected from the surface is measured in %. The measurement can be carried out at an angle of incidence of 20° (high gloss), 60° (medium gloss) and 85° (mat).
The gloss level of the floor surface is always controlled by the last applied sealant, wax or care product.