Did you just have new hardwood floors installed in your home? Perhaps you purchased a home with natural hardwood floors that look a bit lackluster. Follow this primer on hardwood floor care to learn how to make wood floors shine naturally and save your lovely hardwood floors.
Deep Clean Your Floors
We devoted an entire article to how to deep clean your wood floors; simply follow the directions and take out the guesswork. Each week, you'll need to deep clean your floors by completing the process of:
- Mopping with a cleaner made for wood floors
- Removing stains
Once you become adept at deep cleaning, the process moves quickly. Set aside one day per week to clean the floors properly. Follow the schedule for the best results.
Restoring Older Flooring with Sanding
Sometimes, wear and tear cause problems. Even the toughest hardwood floors need a little extra help. This usually means the top layer of wood has lost its varnish and become pitted or scratched over time. Sanding the hardwood floors will remove deeper scratches that have penetrated the top finish.
Don't try to sand your hardwood floors unless you have copious amounts of do-it-yourself (DIY) experience with a sander. Choose an orbital sander over a drum sander if you are working on engineered floors with a limited wear layer. Drum sanders work best on solid wood products, with the wear layer and core being one piece.
Remember that the amount removed is equal to how much it takes to remove the stained and finished layer. This is usually about 1mm.
Rescreen Your Floor
A screen and recoat (rescreen) only removes surface scratches. This can be used when someone wants to completely change the look of their flooring by adding new stains or finishes to change the gloss or color.
Rescreening is commonly used to revive a floor from natural wear and tear that occurs over time or can be used to blend an old floor with a newly installed one in terms of topcoat condition.
Re-Varnishing a Hardwood Floor
Once you've removed the top layer and revealed the healthy floor beneath, your hardwood needs new varnish or stain. You can choose any color you want, but unless you also want to paint the walls, choose a stain color that works with your wall color.
Paint and stain come in tones. Every color has both warm and cool tones within it and neutral options. If your floor uses a neutral tone, you can use either a warm or cool paint color on your walls. If your floor uses a warm or a cool tone, your wall paint must use the opposite tone. So, if you stain your floors with a cool tone, you need a warm tone on the walls.
Also, choose a stain or varnish at least two shades lighter than the wall color. You can slightly disregard this rule if the room features many windows or skylights to allow tons of natural light. Otherwise, follow the two-shades rule because your room won't have enough natural light to balance the colors.
Polishing an Old Floor
Perhaps your older hardwood floor does not require sanding and re-varnishing. You simply need to clean off some stains and polish the floor.
A difference exists between mopping and polishing a hardwood floor. You should mop once per week to keep the floor looking great. Polishing and waxing require a machine specifically for those purposes. Most home improvement chains rent such devices if you prefer not to purchase one.
These machines feature a soft, round pad at the bottom of what otherwise looks like a vacuum cleaner. The machine holds the hardwood floor cleaner and polish in modules that release the cleaning and polishing agents onto the floor in a controlled manner. This machine ensures the floor doesn't receive too much cleaner in one spot or a glob of polish in another.
The soft pad on the bottom rotates and blends the cleanser or polish into the flooring. By buffing it in, the machine spreads the polish and pushes it into small scratches and crevices.
When you clean a floor in this manner, move all the furniture out of the room for the day. Clean and polish the floor, then wait 24 hours to replace the furnishings and use the room again.
Quick Fixes the Right Way
A lot of information on the Internet and in books can hurt your flooring instead of helping it. As flooring experts, we want to offer advice that helps you extend the life of your floors. Here are a few common problems we spotted online that offer bad advice that could ruin your hardwood floors.
Myth: Vinegar makes a terrific hardwood floor cleaner.
Fact: Vinegar is a good quick fix for stains and wax buildup but should not be used as a routine cleaner. Vinegar can strip the finish in the same manner as full-strength acetone if over-used or not left to stand; however, both are recommended to be used as fixes to the issues mentioned above as they are really the only option when it comes to removing something residing on the topcoat that is not coming off with a damp cloth or the floor cleaner.
Myth: You can use a carpet cleaner to clean a hardwood floor stain.
Fact: Carpet cleaners use the wrong ingredients to address wood flooring stains. Use mineral oil on the hardwood. Let the oil sit on the stain for a couple of hours, then wipe it up with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
Myth: Bathroom cleansers, such as ceramic cleaner, works great on wood floors.
Fact: Cleaners like Ajax, Comet, and Scrubbing Bubbles use abrasives that will pit and scratch your hardwood floors. They also harm engineered wood flooring and laminate. Only products specifically developed for cleaning hardwood floors on hardwood floors.
Myth: You can use a regular crayon to fix scratches on wood floors.
Fact: Your child's crayons aren't formulated for addressing hardwood flooring scratches. You'll harm your floors and waste their crayons this way. Flooring manufacturers design wax flooring sticks that match their flooring products exactly and use a formula that adheres to the wood and won't harm it.
Shop for New Flooring or Flooring Renewal Products
At From The Forest, we offer many flooring choices, so you can closely match a few unsalvageable boards or pick up replacement flooring for any room in your home. Our vast selection includes professional cleaning products for hardwood floors and scratch concealers with perfectly color-matched wax sticks. Shop at our store today.