The undeniable beauty of parquet flooring is financially out of reach for many people. A cost comparison between replacing the old worn out wall to wall carpeting and installing parquet flooring will show that the parquet choice is less expensive if you install it yourself.
If you don’t have sub flooring which can be sanded and varnished, you might consider do it yourself parquet flooring. Eight or twelve inch squares of finished oak are available in several shades of stain from dark walnut like oak to pale natural tones. The wood grain is preserved in all finishes and the final clear coat will stand up to most traffic.
First, of course, the carpet and all strips and nails must be removed.
A firm, level surface is required for a professional looking installation. Problem surfaces may have to be covered with one half inch plywood. The oak squares may be installed over concrete with a special mastic. Any low spots or uneven surfaces in the concrete must be corrected with a fast patch leveler. A final good vacuuming will remove any loose grains of cement.
Just like ceramic tile, you start laying the oak squares along a center line. The mastic remains tacky for fifteen minutes, so it is possible to apply the mastic with a serrated spreader tool in a double row across the room. I recommend you wear knee protectors and sturdy rubber gloves. Your work clothing will be rendered unwearable after the project so be prepared. A rubber mallet is handy to lock the squares into place as you go. The new surface can be walked on in 30 minutes except for the last two rows. Be careful not to spread any mastic on the new surface. GooGone mastic remover should be used to clean up unwanted mastic.
Using a small chop or miter saw, carefully cut the edges to fit exactly. A fine quarter round molding will hide any slightly imperfect edges. Stain and clear coat the molding before installation to match the color of the oak squares. If there is an unavoidable height difference between floor surfaces, say between a living room and a kitchen, a beveled oak strip can preserve the edge and perform a pleasing transition. No more that three eighths of an inch difference in height is recommended.
Your beautiful new parquet floor can be enhanced with area rugs. Besides giving your room a decorator look, the area rugs can be turned for even wear. They can be changed in an instant and sent out for an occasional cleaning. For keeping your new floor like new, it is a good idea to have a shoe cabinet near the front door to make it convenient for everyone in the house to wear slippers inside (excepting holiday guests). Even though the clear coat is impervious to dirt and water, you may want to add a coat of a good carnauba wax to the surface. Your new parquet floor can be enjoyed for many years and will increase the value of your home.