PRESERVATION & RESTORATION - WOOD FLOORING

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We live in a time where it is difficult to find quality flooring and finishes to tread upon, and to have a floor refinished and restored properly. Engineered floors, veneered over plasticized, filled particle board, "miracle floors" are closer to garbage than one realizes. Throw an engineered tile in water overnight and see what happens to it, and watch a miracle fungus grow. There are many fine floors of old buildings that should be saved, and appreciated. But it is not always easy. Getting a flooring company to even use a real, old quality floor finish is like pulling teeth. Everyone will swear up and down that waterborne finishes are the thing to use. The economics are compelling. An oil polyurethane finish requires about one week to refinish with drying time between coats that can be applied once every 24-48 hours, and should be sanded between coats. Since a complete waterborne finish of 3 coats is applied without sanding in one day, both the retailers and floor refinishers/installers swear that waterborne finishes are the best finish available. From the profitability standpoint they are right. Then they double their profits when you have to refinish your floor 1 or 2 years later, and it doesn't cost them to move everything off your floor and have you go through the refinishing process again.

 

Floor after restoration

Two apartments joined together with the separating wall ripped out, plywood filler panel between floors

 



18" Long Quarter Sawn white Oak Herringbone                                  14" long Flat Cut Oak Herringbone Floor





The owner , a nuclear physicist, thought that maybe a herringbone to the straight border between might work. A modest goal, to preserve the existing flooring and its patina. After six months of pleading, he still couldn't get the most prominent flooring companies in NYC to agree to marry the two floors. They all insisted on demolition and complete replacement.





Mathematically, Olek determined a better solution was to be had, eliminating the border entirely. Custom making new herringbone of a slightly narrower width than standard, we had the vision that the two floors could be joined as if always one. A flawless union was attained using a scattered mixture of oaks, precisely carrying across the herringbone pattern, in an illusion consummated by our artists. Blending by dye and stain, new and old quartered and flat cut white oaks could co-exist harmoniously. Finished with aniline dyes and Japan colors, then shellac and wax.







The typical NYC problem- a pre-War building with leaking radiators destroying the floor. Decades of leaks rots out the best quartered white oak. Inlaying matching wood, the floor is restored to its prior beauty after finishing.





Prince George Hotel- Grand Ballroom-

The perfect example of a newly refinished floor, that must be newly refinished less than two years later. And this floor was only used for parties, not every day of the week.





Stripping the old finish, meticulously repairing damages and inlaying Dutchmen restore the floors, carefully sanding the floors, and then dyeing and staining before applying coats of the final finish, fine sanded between coats. This is the process to refinish a floor, and restore its beauty.









Protection is key. Soiling a beautiful painted ceiling is prevented by masking the fabric paneled walls, and 20' high ceilings. Then sanding is carefully done, and all flooring repaired.





Careful, methodical dyeing and staining is necessary to get the best finish- using stains alone gives a muddy, lifeless finish. To show off the fire in Quarter Sawn ("Tiger") White Oak, using dyes mostly keeps the finish looking natural and the wood grain at its best.





Most importantly, the commercial user will enjoy 15 years or more from this oil borne polyurethane finish. It will protect the floor from food, drink, and cleaning detergents- the worst that can be thrown upon it, and serve its users faithfully for decades.





The aniline dyes used show off the exquisite graining of the quarter sawn white oak. This beautiful graining and life are not to be found in engineered wood flooring, or waterborne finished hardwood flooring.





The plastic protection covering the walls and ceilings have kept the Prince George Ballroom spotless through this messy process. Our old customer from the major restoration of the Lobby and Public spaces of the entire first floor, the 400-room Prince George Hotel called Olek Lejbzon & Co. in again ten years later, to restore their floor, poorly restored just two years before by others.






Wood Flooring Gallery


               Jules Bistro                                                                               Prince George Ballroom