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On the paper trail
Joné Bezuidenhout of
Bloemfontein writes In Home Renovations 2015 the Esterhuizens glued brown paper to their cement floors and sealed it with yacht varnish. I love the look and I’d like to do the same thing in my own home but I need some advice…
Homeowner Rachelle Esterhuizen answers Joné’s questions: Q: How much brown paper will I need? A: Each square is roughly 30 x 30cm; measure the size of your room and calculate the number of squares required to cover the floor. Q: Did you use regular brown paper from an arts and crafts shop?
A: We got brown paper sheets from my motherin-law’s butchery – it’s thicker than normal, which means it doesn’t tear as easily. I’m sure you can buy something similar at a stationery shop.
Q: How did you go about sticking the squares down with cold glue?
A: The squares were pre-cut. The cold glue is then mixed with water to make it more runny (about 2 parts glue to 1 part water). Mix enough to fill a large flat bowl by at least 1cm – the paper squares must be able to lie flat in this. The squares are then ‘dragged’ through the glue mixture to drench them completely – but be aware that too much glue may cause the squares to tear, so you must work very carefully.
Then position each square on the floor and apply a layer of glue over them by hand. Gently smooth each square flat to remove all the air bubbles. You can also make use of a sponge roller to ‘paint’ the glue over the top of the squares.
After about five squares, you’ll get the hang of it and then it’s fun to do. Q: How did you ensure that the paper remained in position? A: Once the entire floor has been covered, it must be allowed to dry undisturbed for at least 24–36 hours. Yacht varnish, applied over the brown paper floor with a paint roller, is then used to seal the entire surface. We used Warrior Woodtreat Yacht Varnish; it must be allowed to dry for a further 24 hours before a second coat is applied. When the surface has dried once again (24–36 hours), the floor is ready.
Important The floor will not withstand puddles of water; however, I mop my floors without any problems. Moving furniture may result in scuffs on the floor – put felt under the feet of your chairs and tables to prevent this from happening.