Last Updated on May 17, 2022 by Joseph Tyler
If your hardwood floors are looking worn and dull, you might be considering hiring a professional to fix them or getting worked up about how much this is going to cost you. While it can be okay to hire a professional to do the work for you, this article covers simple steps you can follow on how to make hardwood floors look new again.
Reasons wood floors look dull
- Spreading dirt on the wood floor
Before cleaning your wood floor, it is crucial to first sweep, dust mop, or vacuum the floor. Failure to do this before cleaning or simply using a dirty mop on the floors can result in spreading dirt on the wood floor. While those necessary first steps are not taken, dirt, dust, and grit may get trapped in the cleaning solution and end up staying on the surface of the floor.
Many homeowners are fond of making use of acrylic-based solution waxes for their wood floors just to earn a shiny hardwood floor. The bad news is that this solution might actually be doing more harm than good. Your floor might look patchy or milky when this solution is applied on polyurethane finishes or paste wax.
It is recommended to apply mineral spirits and elbow grease on the wood floors to eradicate the milky appearance. But for you to regain the shiny look of your floor, you may need to strip and reseal your floor. Also, be aware that some harsh chemicals like undiluted vinegar, pine oil, chlorine bleach, or ammonia can damage your floor finishes.
- Application of too much product
Using too much cleaning products or water may cause some odd looks to your hardwood floors even if you are doing everything right in ensuring a new look for your floor
- Presence of scratches on floors
If you have pets with sharp claws, having scratches on your hardwood floors is almost impossible. Frequently stepping on the hardwood floors with high heels or neglecting the act of putting doormats at entrance areas may also result in scratches. Try your best to avoid these to save yourself a dull-looking wood floor.
- Buildup of wax
If your hardwood floors are not plastered with a polyurethane finish or depend on a carnauba paste wax to generate a shiny look, the wax may build up and appear dull. In fact, wax build up can occur even if you ensure to use wax appropriately as once or twice a year which will result in a dull appearance in low-traffic areas on the floors. You can strip off paste wax by the use of mineral spirits or other available commercial wax strippers.
The hardwood floor requires refinishing
Here is how to make hardwood floors look new again because finishing on hardwood floors is not expected to be durable forever especially when it’s frequently stepped upon. Refinishing and resealing of hardwood floors can be done several times. Even engineered hardwood with a thinner veneer can be refinished and resealed several times before it needs to be replaced.
- Identify the kind of wood floor
Identifying the kind of hardwood floor you are working with is very crucial before you make them look new again. The first step is considering the kind of wood floor you have in your home. You should be able to simply clean with soap and water if what you have is laminated wood floors.
Restoring a new look will require more effort if what you have in your home is engineered hardwood flooring. Pour a few drops of water on the floor, if the water gets absorbed by the wood, it means you have an unsealed floor. You should consider hiring professionals to restore your wood floors by sanding and refinishing them.
If you observe a white ring, you have shellac or varnish but if the water remains on the floor, that’s a good sign. Water that doesn’t soak or discolor the floor is sealed with a polyurethane finish.
- Do some testing on the wood floor
To determine if you need to completely sand down your floor or simply refinish, you need to carry out some testing on the wood floor. Most wood floors are sealed with polyurethane because of their durability and ease to work with. To carry out this test, first, clean some part of your wood floor, roughen the finish with a sanding screen, wipe it clean, and apply a coat of polyurethane to it.
Give about 24hours for the polyurethane to dry. Use a coin to scrape the area you performed the test, if it doesn’t get scrubbed, go to the next step. But if the polyurethane finish is cracked or flaky, it is important to request a professional to sand down the wood floor completely.
- Carefully clean the wood floor
As mentioned earlier, it is important to clean your wood floor before applying a sanding screen. Get warm water into a bowl, a soft towel, and soap of your choice. Use these to clean stains on the wood floors if noticed. If you notice hardened dirt on the wood floors, get a dull putty knife and scrape it to get rid of the dirt. After this, sweep or vacuum the whole floor.
If you observe that the floor is too dirty, use warm water, soap, and a mop to wash it clean. Ensure to purchase a cleaning product designed majorly for hardwood floors.
- Remove the wood floor top layer by screening
What you need to do next is to screen the floor which means you will scrape the finish to make it a little rough because it is not advisable to remove it completely. To achieve this, use a rotary floor buffer on top of a sanding screen. Start with a particular area and carefully move to the other parts until you cover the whole floor.
Be careful not to pass over the same area too often because it might end up removing the finish completely. Make sure to put on a dust mask before the operation because there is likely generation of dust.
- Repeat the cleaning
Step 4 will result in a lot of sanding dust all over the room wood floor, so you will still need to repeat the cleaning process. Vacuum the wood floor while paying attention to the moldings and windowsills.
You should avoid getting dust falling on the floor during refinishing. After you vacuum the floor, you can also clean the floor with water and soap. Wait for some time to allow it dry before you apply a new coat of finish.
- Apply a new coat of finish to the wood floor
To protect the polyurethane finish, make sure to put tape on the moldings. Use a good brush to apply the finish on the floor. You can also use an applicator pad with a long handle to apply finish to the rest of the wood floors. Ensure to apply lightly on the floor as you move from one end to another. To protect yourself, wear a respirator before you start this process.
- You have a new wood floor again
Allow the new finish to dry for about 24hours, then you have a new shiny floor again. Ensure to keep it clean.
Also read: Best paint polyurethane for furniture
Maintaining your wood floor
- Ensure to clean your wood floor daily
Sweeping and vacuuming your floor daily should be part of your schedule. If you ensure to do this daily, there won’t be dirt or dust buildup.
- Avoid dragging your furniture
If you need to replace your furniture, pick it up or get assistance from someone if it’s too heavy rather than dragging it. Dragging your furniture can result to having scratches on your wood floor.
- Clean up spills
Spilling on floors is inevitable but cleaning it up as soon as it happens is important. If liquid leaks into the boards, the wood floor may lose its luster.
- Take off shoes at the entrance
Using high heel shoes or sports cleats on hardwood floors may result in scratches. They may also bring in dust, dirt, or small stones. So, it is advisable to take off your shoes at the entrance door before stepping on your shiny hardwood floor.
- Avoid mopping brand new wood floors
You only need to sweep at the beginning of your new investment. Mopping the floors or applying cleaning products on your shiny new wood floors may dull the luster.
- Purchase some area rugs
It is likely that some part of your wood floor will encounter high traffic. Purchasing area rugs and placing them on those parts can prevent the accumulation of dust, dirt, and small stones from the entrance. It is also advisable to place your couch or coffee table on an area rug.
Conclusion: How To Make Hardwood Floors Look New Again
Due to constant foot traffic, it is much more likely your wood floor looks dull. Making your hardwood new look again could take a long process but it’s a journey worth it. Follow the above procedures covered to earn yourself a new-looking hardwood floor.
Hey there, I am Joseph and I have grown up as a son of an enthusiastic woodworker and I continued in the craft after his demise. Above all, this site is in homage to my old man. He is the one that taught me to make beautiful things out of my woodworking experiences.
Sharing something so special with someone I look up to impacted me in ways that I cannot express. This is something that I want to share with the world. I am grateful to be able to share with our growing community online! Thank you all!
This page contains some tips, recommended accessories, tools, and extras that you might need to make your woodworking experience a success.