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Subject: Historic floor coverings

Historic floor coverings

From: Hughes Patricia <albionconservation>
Date: Monday, April 24, 2006
Chris Wenzel <cwjchris [at] gmx__de> writes

>I am looking for a floor protection for a small castle, which is
>highly frequented by visitors (approximately 250,000 p.a.). During
>the summer season guided tours start each five minutes, so there is
>traffic in each room all of the day.

The problem you describe is a large, complex and familiar one. Our
approach would probably be one of compromise, with the longevity of
the floor, minimal intervention and sensitivity to the collection
and interiors as priorities.

I have seen glass flooring used beautifully as a bridge (which
worked structurally because there was a missing section of floor,
and aesthetically because of the archaeology it uncovered) in an
ancient castle. The parquet floor you describe, however, must be of
a later date. It probably has an uneven surface. It would not be
possible to fit a glass bridge on top of the parquet without damage
to the doors, and the fixings for this option would also cause
damage to the fabric of the castle. The weight of the glass and its
potential as a trip hazard could also cause problems. There are
polypropylene floor protectors on the market, but these would be
visually disturbing to visitors, besides being unsuitable for other
reasons. Without more information it is hard to advise on the most
suitable solution to protect your floor.

One workable solution could include purpose-made druggets. The
historical context of the interiors, with reference to the materials
of the original protective floor coverings used by the owners at the
time the parquet was laid, with appropriate underlay beneath, would
probably be my starting point,

Hughes Patricia
Textile and Preventive Conservator
Albion Conservation Consultancy,
UK and USA

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:52
                  Distributed: Friday, April 28, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-52-005
Received on Monday, 24 April, 2006

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