FRENCH FIXER UPPER
|Posted on June 22, 2016 at 4:25 PM||comments (48)|
The older our skin gets, the more we fuss with creams and lotions, laser and botox treatments, and pamper ourselves with visits to the spa, right? Well, I don’t know much beyond creams and lotions, but you get my meaning. We need to take care of our skin by exfoliating, cleansing and moisturizing it regularly to keep it radiant and youthful.
The same can be said for wood; especially wood floors. They are stepped on, scuffed, scratched, stripped dry by regular mopping, and subjected to changing temperatures, making them dry and brittle when the weather changes outside.
And just like our skin, wood surfaces need to be cleaned and moisturized which can be done with a specialized treatment twice a year. I’m sure you’ve heard of some of these treatments. They cost an enormous amount of money because the solution comes in fancy packaging. Well, forget about buying the fancy treatment because I’m about to tell you how to make your own special solution for pennies on the dollar/euro.
The recipe is simple: one-part turpentine, one-part vinegar, and one-part linseed oil. Although here, in France, I had to substitute turpentine with alcohol (industrial strength alcohol that I bought at the grocery store.) But the recipe remains the same; one-part linseed oil, one-part vinegar, and one-part alcohol. Place the ingredients in a glass jar that can be capped with a tight fitting lid. Once you have all three parts together, shake the jar vigorously to blend well.
Once your floor has been swept and mopped to remove all dust and other debris, apply the mixture with an old rag. Begin in one corner and work your way throughout the space. Try and work your way towards a door where you get out without stepping on your treated floor. Let the solution soak in to the wood. Notice the sparkle in the wainscot?
You’ll notice that older wood will tend to absorb more of the solution. But if you feel it still needs more, you can do it again with less saturation on the rag the second time around.
On the pantry doors, which are original to the house, I applied the mixture to the lower half. Notice the difference in the treated wood versus the untreated wood.
This is how the pantry doors look after a single treatment. And - we are talking about 400 year old wood!
Now back to the floor. If you repeat the process a second time, watch carefully that none of the solution remains without being absorbed - just sitting there. If that happens, simply remove it with another clean and dry rag. This is what you'll end up with.
That’s all there is to it. Let it dry for at least half an hour and you are ready to bring everything back in.
I try and treat everything in the house that is made of stained wood, twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall.
Even the stairs get the spa treatment. Notice the difference between the gound floor stairs and the first floor stairs.
Ground floor stairs leading up to the first floor have been subjected to the spa treatment.
In this next photo can you see the gray - ashen hue of the first floors stairs leading up to the second floor?
Have no fear it will ruin the luster of the wood because the alcohol/ turpentine will loosen old built up wax and dirt (exfoliate), the vinegar will clean it away (cleanse), and the oil will put back the luster and moisture that is depleted throughout the year (moisturize).
So pamper your wood like you would your skin but don’t forget to wear gloves!