Located in Sprotbrough, Doncaster, Richmond Hill Primary Academy is a vibrant, forward-thinking school with an inclusive ethos.

Following a call from the client architect, John Hill Associates, we were asked to visit the Academy to discuss the potential replacement of the woodblock floor for a sheet vinyl finish. The floor in question is a multipurpose ‘hall’ and is at the heart of the school. It was being used for a multitude of functions, whether tutorial, leisure, dining or exercise.

Staff had noted for a period of time that the floor was becoming slippery, discoloured and ‘shabby’. It had been subjected to saturation during the November 2019 floods that were so catastrophic to the local area. The final straw was a ‘slip, trip and fall’ incident that befell a senior staff member.

Before the restoration

“As soon as we saw the 300m2 hall we knew it was an asset for the school, it had to be rescued and refurbished if at all possible,” explains Tim Vaughan, director at A Cumberlidge. “However, the specification required the floor to be uplifted, the screed raised, and a sheet vinyl reinstated. After much discussion, we proffered two quotations for Governor meeting discussion. We implored all stakeholders to retain the existing floor and I’m delighted to say they acceded to same and instructed accordingly.

“Working over the summer holidays, we sanded and meticulously prepared the floor. There were a number of areas to work upon, including the making good of damage (see photo below).  European oak was ‘tended’ to colour match the existing, this prior to a final sand off and seal. All parties were delighted with the revised aesthetics.

“After preparing the floor, we applied three coats of Treatex Hardwax Oil, sanding between each, to ensure a smooth and highly durable surface.”

Adds Tim: “This was a scheme of many challenges, particularly with the heat and humidity level of the summer period, but the results were stunning. The floor looks as good, if not better, than the day it was originally laid. All complete and ready for the next 25+ years!”

Our final act was to instruct and assist MJ Court Markings [of Lincoln] in the application of a badminton court.

Concludes Tim: “We’re proud that this original hardwood herringbone block floor, most probably laid during the 1960s, was saved from landfill after the client chose a refurbishment over replacement. This floor offers at least twice the durability of a vinyl finish. From a sustainability point of view, besides looking stunning, it offers long term value against time/cost and provides the most environmentally friendly and sustainable solution.”