Flipping French Floors #1

Tulip room

Tulip room

Builder’s debris, strong cleaners, constant sweeping and damp dusting, strong sunlight & no protection, years of benign neglect; no wonder My French Floors have had enough.

Seeing the way the thirsty floor in the terrace bedroom soaked up the lime wax like an ancient sponge ( and needs more!) brought it home to me just how much my poor, dessicated wooden floors have suffered.

So yes, this is a perfect example of one of those areas where I am letting the house dictate to me what needs to be done.

In the tulip bedroom, with the oldest and most naturally beautiful floor in the house, it will look like I have interfered very little- but I will still have to get off the odd patch of squidgy black stuff (?) treat the resulting black marks with oxalic acid, use my pine oil paint stripper  ( see earlier post) to get the spots of blue & green paint off (NOT me) and then clean and wax to keep the amazing patina.

There will be NO destructive sanding and NO nasty shiny varnishes in here.They won’t suit our house.raw white wood floor

In the kitchen-diner we are laying sheets of natural coconut fibre insulation over the existing unattractively modern (but level) floor. Then we will lay thick new local pine boards across to visually widen the room (it is already QUITE long enough at 30 feet!)

These will be treated with this amazing stuff


Although made from natural oils ( such as sunflower, soyabean & thistle oils), and waxes( caranauba, candelilla waxes etc) it is tough, microporous, highly liquid resistant, exceeds current  fire resistence standards  and is apparently safe if animals or small children lick it

This is exactly the slightly raw looking but smooth feeling light, white-ish finish I want.

We are going down this route because we want the house to BREATHE.

Hopefully application will be less labour intensive than hand rubbing lime wax onto terrace bedroom floor. I’ll let you know


About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, Francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
This entry was posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France, What we did, how we did it and what we used and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Flipping French Floors #1

  1. Osyth says:

    I love the way you listen to your house! That product looks the business but I was most interested in the new planks going into the k/d … what is the existing floor? How much clearance to you have to give for the wood to breathe? Sorry for all the questions but it is a subject quite close to home (forgive lame pun) at the mo …

    Liked by 1 person

    • The existing floor was laid in 1950 and is the cheapest unattractive but functional pine boards over joists .We would have treated and kept it but for two reasons-
      1) Cave is right below, and sound travels up and down through the typically French construction in a way not suited to a kitchen over what will probably be a guest room- it needs insulation
      2) The boards run lengthways, a design no-no in a long narrow space.
      Re letting the house breathe – this is a constant concern as we adapt and add new or reclaimed materials to the house.
      Most insulation products are synthetic, but we are anxious to use natural where we can so we will lightly lay these coconut fibre panels and screw down firmly but not tightly (Trev will judge as he goes- this a big experiment)
      I think I will do a post on our insulation techniques as they are quite controversial and at odds with current “advice” elsewhere

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth says:

        Very interested in the coconut fibre insulation – will pass this nugget to Two Brains who is of course in charge of anything that remotely seems scientific. Our ground floor is unfortunately repulsively tiled but wood won’t be an option according to my current hero Mr M from the woodyard. As ever I love reading your posts 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • We found it at M. Bricolage, not seen it anywhere else.
        Re wood over tile, not had to look at that scenario but I can say we have done a couple of things that have made our ouvriers gasp, but they have had to admit that it has worked out OK
        I am thinking wood over tile would work if you left an air gap? But that would affect doors etc

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth says:

        No can do wood over the tiles because of doors (which are listed) and actually the tiles will be taken up and smashed with glee down the line. We aren’t 100% certain what is underneath them but the cave beneath is 12th century with 8′ walls and an earth floor so poses potential problems all by it’s self. Of course if we reveal a stone floor contemporary with the guts of the house I will be jubilant. However I am not holding my breath (no desire to turn blue). M Bricolage is another hero of mine – I know we share this love 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you find your lovely stone floor,I have been disappointed as I hoped to”reveal” certain features which had sadly already been ripped out!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth says:

        Me too but I’m not hugely hopeful. Given that the place fell down over 6 centuries and was rebuilt in 1830 it’s anyone’s guess. Much of the ‘frame’ of the building is original but inside is another story. Here’s hoping for good finds 🙂


      • My fingers are crossed for you
        Incidentally we are assuming the panels are coconut fibre because that is what they look and smell like-label didn’t say!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth says:

        Following your noses – I like it 😉


  2. poshbirdy says:

    Osmo products look wonderful. I’ve seen them when we shipped them over to Bermuda. I already bought one for the front door which is also horribly thirsty. Hope to get it on before the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Colin Bisset says:

    Hard work but worth it. We used a German product Livos on our floors – smells delicious and really brings out the grain of the wood, totally non-toxic – and it looks good more than a decade later. I don’t understand why people put those polyurethane finishes down, especially on lovely old floors like yours…

    Liked by 1 person

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