Our home has a rosewood floor, which requires frequent and laborious manual polishing. Do you know of any good brands in melamine polish that will withstand heavy usage?
There’s nothing that will make your floor scratch-proof—even highly-polished hard stones need re-polishing after a while. However, you can extend the maintenance-free period by applying a hard surface coating over the base polish or lacquer. Hard surface coatings that use either melamine or polyurethane (PU) will do the job. These are available in smooth and matte finishes, and are practically transparent with very shallow colour tint. Though most manufacturers have spray-based surface-hardeners, the brush-applied variety has also started to make an appearance in the market.
Walk all over: A melamine finish reduces maintenance for wood floors.
My favourite brand is MRF Paints’ WoodCoat. But you could try any of the following brands: Asian Paints’ Melamyne Matt or Glossy for Interiors; Kansai Nerolac’s Wonderwood; ICI Dulux Paints’ Timbertone; or Berger Paints’ Woodkeeper. PU coating may be a notch better for high-traffic areas such as doors, wooden stairs, etc.
I am an architect from Bangalore. I have been in pursuit of the ideal polished cement floor for many years now. I have not only seen floors but even dado walls in cement, executed to polished perfection in Sri Lanka and Puducherry. However, despite speaking to architects from these places, I have not been able to pin down the actual technique.
Achieving shine in plain cement floors through the “traditional method” proved to be a challenge for me as well. I remember attempting to recreate the glory of old glazed cement floors in vibrant colours not once but twice—and failing miserably on both occasions. Once at my client’s cost and once at my own. You are right: It’s difficult to find workmen with clarity regarding this lost art, as learning was based on oral instruction in earlier times. Most people have only a vague idea about ingredients or the method of construction. I’ve tried the following: adding linseed oil first, followed by coconut oil, instead of water; rubbing the top surface with coconut fibre; rubbing the surface continuously hoping it would shine (it didn’t); curing it with coconut oil; adding natural glue and brick dust (surkhi) along with marble powder and white slaked lime in the mortar... Self-proclaimed advisers later pronounced that our failures were due to lack of several ingredients, such as the juice of the bael (wood apple) fruit, fibre mixed in water, egg white and several other things in incredible quantities. If there’s anybody out there with a foolproof recipe, I am all ears.
Now, the matter of making plain cement floors shine. There are several companies marketing polymer synthetic and epoxy-based chemicals that can make new as well as old cement floors shine.
Ashford formula: This is a self-levelling, surface-penetrating chemical that impregnates the concrete and increases its density. The shine on the surface improves with usage and time. Perfect with dehumidified or joint-free cement floors. Product-specific application technique and precautions are available at www.jbaindia.com/ashford_formula.html
Vendors: Athens Corp. and JBA Concrete Solutions
Akemi: This company primarily focuses on chemicals for stone flooring but has a few products that are good for cement as well (see www.akemi.de/en/products/carerange/stone/stonecare/).
Do the following if using Akemi:
• Start by increasing the surface density of the existing cement floor by applying their Stone Strengthener E. It has to be applied using a steel brush. Don’t apply too much pressure or the cement surface may disintegrate. Allow 12-18 hours for absorption (the chemical penetrates to 18mm depth in that time). Use the steel brush to lightly scrub and clean the excess chemical.
• Apply their Basic Crystallizer AK1 followed by Basic Crystallizer AK2, as directed on the individual product containers.
Vendor: Silicone Concepts
(Malhotra is a New Delhi-based architect.)
News you can use
Colour trends for 2010
A global provider of professional colour standards for design industries, Pantone Llc (www.pantone.com) announced Pantone 15-5519 Turquoise as the colour for 2010. With both warm and cool undertones, turquoise pairs nicely with any colour. It adds excitement to neutrals and browns, complements reds and pinks, creates a classic maritime look with deep blues, livens up greens, and is trendsetting with yellow-greens.
Asian Paints’ colour trend forecast, Colour Next—2010, is based on six months’ research with designers and multidisciplinary experts. The five themes are Nature Networks, Urba-Nite, Aura, Smart Comfort and Gallerie. You can see the hues in each theme, and play favourites, at www.asianpaints.com/colournext
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