The Start of Roger Hyde Limited: Part 2
RHL starting floors 2
By Roger Hyde
Hello again! As promised here begins some ‘ups and downs’ encountered in….”RHL early years”.
Why not start with the first wood floor that was independent to an established client where we were already maintaining floors. This was to be a full-on refurbishment. Whilst reading this encounter I can only ask you to remember this was still the 60’s and I was 22 years old. Of course, I could see no problems and was just pleased to succeed in getting my first village hall. Thankfully it was small and very uncared for – what could I do that would make for a disappointment?
The floor was strip pine; the surface resembled cardboard; dry, dusty and hungry for attention. Sanding would have destroyed what was left so the only decision was whether to use poly-urethane or oleo resinous seal following a straightforward but limited preparation. Having spoken to some manufacturers I went with the old fashioned and ‘safer’ oleo-resinous. The main consideration was to ensure that the floor would be bone dry before applying the seal. Bearing in mind that preparation required wet and dry scrubbing, I had to allow plenty of drying time.
Look, this is light hearted stuff here so no need to get into the nitty gritty; I had the tools and the confidence, plus the first and second coats looked very promising.
The next day it was very slightly tacky, but I pressed on with the third coat (the first clue to ‘oh dear’), but ‘hey’, it was really beginning to look good and the colour of the pine began to shine. Realisation sunk in the following day; my confidence began to sap – the floor was decidedly sticky and I only had two more days before the hall would be used. I left it for a day, but it didn’t dry completely; the hall committee felt that it looked pretty good and surely it would be dry ready for use. Suffice to say – it didn’t! I told them that I would come back when hall availability allowed and lightly prepare for another coat.
These kind people finally had to inform me that the floor remained slightly tacky until eventually general dust and dirt solved the sticky problem. Naturally the outcome was that the floor hardly looked better than before I started sealing. Undeterred I went at it again; this time I had some help – it was one ‘o clock in the morning when we realised that ‘going at it again’ was not going to be an answer. We stood outside feeling dejected in that our hard work at this unearthly hour was in vain.
As we stood gloomily gazing out into space there was an almighty ‘rear end noise’. Why we both looked accusingly at each other, I will never know, because the long rasping explosion was hardly capable of being human. Suddenly the hedge opposite parted and a horse thrust it’s head through with a look of “what do you make of that then?” Do you know – I’m sure the horse was smiling, but perhaps it was the effects of him feasting on wet grass -much the same with babies with wind.
Well, it defused all tension – we both fell about laughing. It didn’t fix our problem but it was time to depart and set about seeking some more advice.
- The floor had no damp proofing. It hadn’t appeared damp; the coats of seal had acted like a poultice and drew up moisture. No one thought to blame us for not testing the floor (standard procedure after that).
The clients couldn’t afford to have a damp proof membrane fitted without proceeds from years of bizaars and flower shows. Our investigations prompted us to set up a maintenance waxing regime with a newly evolving synthetic emulsion type carnauba wax. It allowed the floor to breath and was virtually non-slip.
Our reputation in tact, we were suddenly at the forefront of this emerging technology and could advertise our expertise in several more similar circumstances.
Onwards and upwards and all parties happy!