Oiled floors- 1870

from July,1870 issue of Manufacturer and Builder.

Oiling improves a floor in several ways. Grease-spots, of course, will not affect the wood thus treated; and much less scrubbing than is necessary for a plain floor will suffice to keep it clean. Moreover, the appearance is improved by the oil. Many of our native woods, prepared in this manner, become positively handsome. Finally, it gives the surface a harder texture, which makes it wear longer and more uniformly. Paint costs more, takes longer to dry, and wears off more easily, since it simply forms a crust or coating upon the surface; while oil penetrates the wood. Hence an oiled floor looks better than a painted one, especially if a little color, such as Van Dyke brown, umber, or burned sienna is added to the oil. To prepare a floor in this manner, take raw linseed-oil, or some cheap oil, not offensive in odor, and capable of drying; mix it, if desired, within some such transparent color as those mentioned above; and apply it with a common paint-brush. Lay it on smoothly, so that it will strike in uniformly over the whole surface, and not stand in spots. This may be done at night, after the day’s work; and the place will be ready for use again the next morning. As far as the oiled surface is concerned, it might be stepped upon at once without injury; but there would be danger in that case of tracking the grease to other parts of time house. A new coat of oil, applied in this way once or twice a year, is sufficient to keep a floor in perfect order. This treatment is to be heartily recommended for the floors of kitchens, pantries, verandas, closets, bath-rooms, and laborers’ bed-rooms. It is also a good plan in children’s apartments, particularly in training them to do their own house-work, to leave without carpet or matting that part of the floor where the bed stands, with a few feet around it, and to oil the wood. The floor under the bed can then be easily kept free from dust, and the sweepings can be readily removed; while washstands, etc., can be so disposed as to give time youngsters free scope for their duck-like ablutions, without injury to carpets. In country-houses, the plan might be carried still further. We recently had all the floors in a newly-built house oiled; and we think it wise economy. Many well-to-do families in Europe have no carpets at all; and, though there are some disadvantages in such a course, there are certainly some points gained. We think it gives cleaner houses, with less house-cleaning. Putting down, taking up, and beating carpets is the most vexatious and laborious part of our domestic economy, as their cost and destruction constitute one of its great items of expense. Still, we do not attack carpets—though, speaking of attacks, what a tax the tacks are —we only say, where you don’t need a carpet, by all means oil your floor.

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