19 APRIL 1963, Page 30

Consuming Interest

Flawless Floors


SPRING, which has held off for so long, is now almost literally under our feet. Which reminds me. If spring-cleaning a friend of ours over has floored you, as it did Easter (how that nice new sunshine shows up the stains in the old: boards), here are some thoughts that may smooth things

labour-saving over.

Wood floors that have withstood the winter are likely to show the signs, especially in those with-it households that have eschewed the dark- stain easy way out. Contempbrary decor (as it used to be called in the old days, about two years ago) has for some time demanded a light background. It's easy—just hire or borroW a: sanding machine, burr off the top layer of timber and rub in a bit of beeswax. Such a lovely soft glow, and such damned hard work.

Science has tried hard to rescue us from this. predicament and perhaps with more success than the plastics industry has led us to expect in other connections.

Floor seals, says the Timber Research and, Development Association, are a labour-saving, sensible and satisfactory alternative to wax or shellac. True, sealed floors cannot be expected' to look quite as rich as those that have had the benefit of several years' regular and frequent wax- ing. But they need less maintenance and the seal protects the porous surface from stains. Of the bewildering variety of treatments now available, the two kinds that are easiest to use and givi, the best do-it-yourself results are the oleo" resinous and the ureaformaldehyde finishes. Forget any fears that they leave your beautiful boards looking vulgarly glossy and hard. After a little wear the surface becomes matt again. And., there is less likelihood of slipperiness, so often;; caused by the layer of wax left on the surface by the amateur finisher using the conventional materials.

The oleoresins (the best are made from tun oil and phenolic resin) take about twenty-four, hours to dry, but they do penetrate the wood surface and reinforce the fibres, and worn spots can easily be renewed. Two brand names to re- member are Bourne Seal (Floor Treatments Ltd., Lloyds Bank Buildings, High Street, High Wycombe, Bucks), which costs between 8s. 6d• and8s. 10d. a pint retail, and Ronseal (Ronuk Ltd., Portslade, Sussex), 6s. 6d. a pint or 42s. 6d. a gallon. Bourne Seal is also sold under the name of Marley Seal by the Marley Tile Company, of London Road, Riverhead, Seven- oaks, Kent. There are any number of other similar sealing compounds that can be obtained through builders' merchants. The reason why so few of these finishes are easily bought for domestic use is that until recently they have been thought of I mainly in connection with industrial and office floors, dance halls and gymnasia. This also ex- plains why they have such .hard-wearing charac- teristics.

Quicker-drying and more transparent than the oil and resin finishes (some are yellowish- brown and will make a light wood floor notice- ably darker) arc the newer ureaformaldehyde seals. In the trade they are known as 'one-can lacquers,' because they are ready mixed with an acid catalyst that helps the curing or hardening of the resin. Many of the industrial floor finishes are `two-can' and have to be mixed by the user. The one-can lacquers also dry harder than the oleoresins, while the two-can finishes are harder still (also harder to use), and much in-favour for 'varnishing' boats. A recommended brand in the one-can range is Glitsa, made by Petalon Ltd., 5 Fitzhardinge Street, WI. Prices te nd to vary quite widely from shop to shop. - he Only two-can lacquer that is retailed (as far as I know) is Luroc, Which is sold—and demon- strated—by Selfridges. When any of these treatments is to be used the wand surface must be completely clear of residual wax, polish or paint, best' achieved by sanding with a machine that can be hired for a Pound or two a day, reducing for second and third days (1 gave details of these facilities in the spring of 1960 in this column, April 29). Once they have been applied, on no account try to polish these surface finishes with wax. Polish cannot penetrate into the wood, and merely makes the floor sticky and attracts dirt. There are special floor polishes supplied by Floor Treatments and Ronuk (and others), but gener- ally very little maintenance should be needed --which is the point of the whole thing.

Following my warnings here recently about the care you should take if you are planning to hire a villa for your holiday I hear that three of the villa-renting firms (Eurovillas, Solvis and Spanish Villas) have formed an Association of Villa Renting Organisations (provisional name), One of the directors of Eurovillas writes to tell me that my 'criticism of the absurd and often dishonest descriptions of properties, which 'appear in many of the advertisements and brochures of the villa renting firms, are only too well founded.' I am glad to report, therefore, that invitations to join the Association have gone to all the known villa renting firms and that all the applications will be vetted by the Travel Trade Association. Membership will be restricted 'to those firms which can produce evidence of solvency and are prepared to subscribe to a strict code of behaviour, not only as to the ac- curacy of their descriptions of properties offered, but also as to the treatment of fair and reason- able complaints against the services given.

This seems to me to be a very welcome advance. The rules, aims and objects of the Association have yet to be formulated but I hOpe to report further developments before long.

Talking of holidays, I notice that Spanish hotel prices have increased considerably this year, in some cases by as much as 40 per cent. There is a government-authorised price scale, but this has not kept hotelkeepers in line and the Spanish Government has now announced a stronger control on prices. The increase in prices is likely to affect you this year if you make a booking privately with a Spanish hotel but, if you go on an inclusive holiday arranged by a travel agency, you should not be affected, since the agencies will have contracted the hotels for the season and before the increases came into effect