Hardwood Floors:  Renewal to Beautiful 

Hardwood floringA very warm and inviting feature of any home is a beautifully polished wood floor. If your hardwood floors have lost their luster or are scratched and scarred, consider a renewal project. You can either have them refinished professionally or consider tackling a DIY project yourself.

Understand the differences between hardwood floors

Cleaning techniques vary for authentic hardwood floors and laminated, engineered hardwoods that should be treated differently. You can keep your wood floors looking new longer by using the right cleaners on a regular basis. On the other hand, laminates come with a built-in shine and need minimal care, and basic soap and water works best, unlike care required for genuine wood flooring. Always identify your type of hardwood flooring before cleaning.

Test for real hardwood floors

Before attempting to use any shine products, perform an easy test to ascertain the reliability of the finish and whether or not the hardwood floor can absorb a shine in its current condition. Simply place a few drops of water on one of the most severely worn areas. Watch to see if the water drops bead. If they do, then the finish already on top can handle a new shining process.

On the other hand, if the water drops don’t bead, but instead penetrates and turns the wood dark, your floors should be professionally refinished through an intense sanding process. If your budget doesn’t allow for custom refurnishing, you can use a hardwood floor wax product and a quality, clean broom. Try to get into all cracks and corners and remove as much dirt as possible. If your vacuum cleaner has a brush attachment, go over the hardwood floor surface to remove whatever the broom was unable to extract.

Making old look new again

After you have determined which cleaner is designed to work on your type of hardwood floors, apply it by carefully following the directions supplied with the product. It’s always best to choose the same shine product previously used. If wax was last applied, then add a fresh coat. Just wait for it to dry and then wipe the area with a very soft cloth and buff.

For hardwood floors that were oil-treated or that have been treated with a penetrating sealer, attempting to wax them now is a waste of time. Those sealants used previously have already soaked into the hardwood. Sanding is the only way to remove varnish or shellac finishes from hardwood floors. When the penetrating product has been removed, then you can switch to different cleaning and waxing products.

Using a mechanical floor buffer can really make your hardwood floors shine. Try to operate the buffer in a consistent pattern for best results. Be sure to change the buffer pads frequently to get a professional shine.

Refinishing your own floors takes a lot of time and considerable muscle. If you’re a DIY’er, you can rent sanding machines and tackle it yourself, but the time needed from start to finish might just make hiring a professional a more attractive option. Not only will they do all of the sanding to remove the damaged top floor surface as required, but they will reseal the floor to your specifications.

Hardwood floors—making old look new again— is worth the money. Your home will look refreshed in a way that might encourage you to take on another worthwhile home renovation project.

 Image Credit: Tigerwood-hardwood flooring by Jcwalker3rd at Wikimedia