This week, the Green Man team were working in the impressive new extension at The Corinium Museum, Cirencester. The museum houses a fine collection of large Roman mosaics from the 2nd and 4th century, and a wide array of artefacts from the Roman town of Corinium. The new extension is designed as a narrative through time and describes the evolution of the Cotswolds from a prehistoric landscape to more civilised times.

Damaged marmoleum

During the renovation of this part of the gallery, contractors fitted brand new marmoleum flooring. Unfortunately, a shallow gouge occurred in the floor after it had been laid-

These types of shallow scrapes present multiple challenges.

Sometimes it is easier if the damage is deeper, as it allows for the repair to bond with the marmoleum more fully.

Before attempting to repair the damage, it was important to ensure the surface was clean…

Cleaning the marmoleum

Cleaning this flooring begins with a thorough removal of loose soil & debris to ensure that there is nothing abrasive left prior to machine cleaning…

 

In the image, you can see our technician Pete wielding the mighty “scissor” (dry) mop. This is an especially handy tool for sweeping large areas of commercial hard flooring.

After we had removed as much loose material as possible, it was time to apply a cleaning solution & agitate the flooring.

Forbo, the manufacturers of marmoleum, specify their own cleaning solution and method of clean.

We applied the product & agitated the floor with a lightly abrasive white pad. This works the solution evenly across the floor, as well as helping to lift out any stubborn or sticky soils.

 

After the cleaning solution has been agitated & dwelt sufficiently on the marmoleum, it needs to be rinsed off the surface using a wet vac.

This ensures no residue remains and leaves the flooring streak-free.

The floor dried very quickly, which meant we could begin to address the marmoleum repair.

Repairing marmoleum 

 

On this occasion, our work was made more difficult becuase the damage ran across two differing types of marmoleum.

Firstly, a paste is made by mixing a powdered sample of the same type of marmoleum & an appropriate type of glue. This is placed into the areas of damage.

This is then carefully pushed into the gouge to ensure the best chance of adhesion…

The paste is then allowed to dry, ideally overnight.

Once dry, the area of repair is sanded down to the level of the floor. This leaves a flat surface which is easily distinguished, owing to its lack of reflectivity.

This area now requires additional cleaning to remove the fine debris from the in-fill. Following the clean, the area is force dried & several layers of marmoleum polish are applied.

The result

To be honest, the result in this instance was not perfect. Marmoleum is designed to be repairable, but the more heavily patterned styles hide repairs much more easily. As you can see from the image, the lighter area of flooring is more forgiving of the repair.

What we certainly managed to achieve here was a level finish. Those involved with the fitting of marmoleum will confirm that achieving an invisible repair with the simpler designs of this flooring type is practically impossible. Over time, the accumulations of cleaning & polishing will help to blend out the areas of repair.

Importantly, we had done our best to manage our client’s expectations from the start. No-one wants to send brand new pieces of marmoleum to the tip, so often it makes sense to attempt repair first.

We would like to thank Amanda Hart (Museum Director) for her kind assitance and for making our time in The Corinium Museum an interesting & valuable experience.

Thank you also for reading!