Frequently Asked Questions

  1. QUESTION:
    What cleaning products can i use to scrub my hardwood floors?
    My apartment has hardwood floors that I love, but I’m just not sure on how to scrub them as i don’t want to cause them damage. I know about Murphy’s Wood Soap, but is there anything else out there that will work as well?

    • ANSWER:
      Here are some hardwood floor cleaners available, but a neutral cleanser (i.e., neither too low or too high a pH level) and water will do the job just as effectively. The hardwood floor must be properly sealed before any mopping. If there are worn patches, do not use water, as the liquid can penetrate the wood and cause warping. Most hardwood floors are now finished using a surface finish called polyurethane. These floors look glossy and shiny. It looks like a plastic coating over the wood and is extremely hard wearing. Another finish, called penetrating seals, consists of wax or oil finishes that penetrate the wood and protect from within. A little alcohol can also be used to remove stains from clean hardwood floors. Finish off by polishing and buffing. If the stain remains, then sanding down the area may be the only option in order to remove it. Some people also use a floor polish to add a shine to the floors. If wax or polish is used regularly, there may be a problem with adhesion when it comes to recoating the hardwood floors.

  2. QUESTION:
    How hard is it to resurface a hardwood floor?
    We need to resurface a hardwood floor for a rental and I have never used those sanders before. Is it really difficult?

    • ANSWER:
      Not that difficult. Just dusty and time-consuming. Definitely get the orbital sander, not the regular one. It will take longer, but your chances of messing up the floor are far lower with the orbital.

      Close off the room from the rest of the house with tape, plastic, etc.

      Wear a breathing mask.

      Put a fan in the window, blowing out. This will help get rid of the dust.

      Before putting down the finish, wipe the floor down with cotton cloths and denatured alcohol. This gets the last of the dust, does a good job of cleaning and doesn’t raise the grain.

      We used Cabot polyurethane with very good results.

  3. QUESTION:
    What’s the best way to clean wood floors?
    Looking for the best way to clean wood floors without smearing and/or ruining the finish. Also, is there a anti bacterial way to clean wood floors. Thank you

    • ANSWER:
      Hardwood floors are one of the easiest flooring types to keep clean. Unlike carpeting, hardwood floors require minimum maintenance and can last for many years. Clean hardwood floors that run throughout a house can make the house look both beautiful and spacious. Maintenance methods to clean hardwood floors should not differ among types, but some finishes may require extra care when removing stains.

      The quickest and most effective way to clean hardwood floors is with a damp mop. Before mopping, make sure that you have removed all surface dust from the floor. This can be done with a soft broom or lightweight vacuum cleaner. Then, simply mop, rinse and repeat. It is important to remove grit and dirt from hardwood floors. Dirt and grit are the biggest enemies when it comes to scratching or scouring the floor finish.

      There are many hardwood floor cleaners available, but a very low pH cleanser and water will do the job just as effectively. The hardwood floor must be properly sealed before any mopping. If there are worn patches, do not use water, as the liquid can penetrate the wood and cause warping.

      Most hardwood floors are now finished using a surface finish called polyurethane. These floors look glossy and shiny. Polyurethane looks like a plastic coating over the wood and is extremely hard wearing. Another finish, called penetrating seals, consists of wax or oil finishes that penetrate the wood and protect from within.

      You may wish to go that extra mile and finish off the mopping with a wax or polish. If you find that your clean hardwood floors still look dull, then buffing them with wax may help. It may take some extra elbow grease in order to clean hardwood floors in this way, but the end result will be worth it. Some people also use a floor polish to add a shine to the floors. If wax or polish is used regularly, there may be a problem with adhesion when it comes to recoating the hardwood floors.

      All floors are susceptible to stains, whether they are hardwood or carpeted. A very fine steel wool can be used to remove a majority of the stains. A little alcohol can also be used to remove stains from clean hardwood floors. Finish off by polishing and buffing. If the stain remains, then sanding down the area may be the only option in order to remove it.

      Depending on the amount of traffic in your house, you may only have to clean hardwood floors once a week. An extra precaution used in order to maintain clean hardwood floors may be to have people remove footwear when they enter the house. By doing this, you may limit the amount of heelmarks imprinted into the floors and the maintenance required in the future.

      Water stains:
      Use No 2 steel wool to sand spot and re-wax area. For darker stains, you may have to strip further down, clean with mineral spirits and refinish. Worst case, you may have to replace the board.

      Cigarette burns:
      Use steel wool to sand spot. Clean with mild soapy water (use something like Dove ™ dish washing liquid).

      Heel marks/ Scuff marks:
      Use fine steel wood but don’t sand too deep. Clean with a basic floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer of you wood floors. Wipe area dry and polish.

      Ink and other dark spots:
      This one will just have to be sanded away and refinished. If the stain remains after that, now is the time to drag out the replacement boards.

      Chewing gum and wax stains:
      First get off as much as you can by scraping without spreading the stain any further. One way to ensure this is to work from the outside in. After, fill a zipper bag with ice and place on the gum or wax and leave on sufficient time to freeze. The gum or wax should pop right off. If it doesn’t, try putting a cleaner over the gum for about 20 minutes. The cleaner will seep under the sides of the gum and allow it to pop off. If all else fails, this is another case where the board may have to be replaced.

      Alcohol:
      Apply a liquid or paste wax to the alcohol and shine away. Alcohol will only make a dull spot on the wood so a good polish should take care of that.

      Hardwood Floor Stains
      When working on stains on your hardwood floor, be sure to work from the outside in so that you don’t spread the stain any further out.

      When you are assessing your stains, remember that you are looking at the difference between fixing the wood and fixing the finish. This decision will make a big difference in how you go about attacking the stain.

      For repairs or stains on the actual wood, replacement is usually the only option. There are some instances where smaller gouges, holes, burns etc in the actual wood can be repaired temporarily by using a wood putty in the same color as your wood floor. These putties can be found at your local hardware store.

      Several years of shrinking and swelling of the wood cause squeaks. Every winter the wood will dry a bit and the wood will shrink. Obviously the opposite happens in the summer when the weather is humid. After a couple of years you will notice that squeaks come up in the most inconvenient places. To fix those squeaks, try putting powdered graphite, talc powder or powdered soap in between the wood planks. If that method doesn’t work, you can nail down the offending plank and cover the nail hole with wood putty.

      One thing worth noting. Many consumers believe that oil soaps like Murphy’s Oil Soap ™ are made for cleaning hard wood floors. Oil soaps are in fact made for cleaning woods, especially hard woods, but most hardwood floors are now treated. You want to keep in mind that you are now cleaning the finish and not the actual wood (unless you have a very old fashioned unfinished wood floor).

      I hope this was helpful,Take Care!!! :)

  4. QUESTION:
    How to clean my hardwood floors?
    I bought my house a year ago. It has beautiful cherry hardwood floors made by Bella. I have tried to upkeep them with several kinds of cleaners.. including murphys oil, some stuff made by orangeglow, and the swifter hardwood floor cleaner and thus far nothing can bring back the original shine. Its splotchy. In some places it is extremely shiny, but in my high traffic areas its dull. Any advice?

    • ANSWER:
      These floors are finished with polyurethane. Poly is a glass like finish and should be treated as such. Don’t put things on the floor that would smear a window like Murphy’s …What you want to do is vacuum. Swiffer dry mop then armed with a spray bottle of straight white vinegar (or windex) and a large faced terry or microfiber mop have at it. Rinse the mop head often and wring it as dry as you can.

      After all the smeary stuff you put on the floor it may take a few times before the shine comes back. DO NOT over wet the floor expecting instantaneous results. Mop in the direction of the grain.

      Buy the white vinegar by the gallon..it’s great to use in the shower too. Just spray it after a shower and it will break down soap scum and mineral deposits. It’s great in the wash too it will soften the water letting the detergent work better and clothing will be cleaner and odor free. It’s great in the kitchen for cleaning counter tops and counters and the fridge. It kills germs, bacteria and mold and does not discolor things. It’s cheap. It’s great on sofas, coats or fabric to freshen the odor without washing. The smell goes away taking any bad odors with it when it dries. (They should pay me for this endorsement)

  5. QUESTION:
    Is there a do-it-yourself method to fix stains in hardwood floors?
    There are a few stains and marks (in small areas) on my hardwood floors in some areas and I want to fix them before I move out. How can I go about patching them up?

    • ANSWER:
      The one thing that you DON”T want to do is to use a method that will force you to pay for having the entire floor sanded and refinished.
      If a cleaner doesn’t work STOP and go no further
      Here’s what’s going on
      When new hardwood floors are finished with varnish if they’re older floors or polyurethane if they’re newer floors
      What you wind up walking on is the finish and not the actual wood >think bowling alleys and bar tops
      Over time normal wear and tear [and owner neglect ] removes the finish and the actual wood below it gets stained and dinged.
      The only solution is to sand it all down and refinish so that you once again have a uniform looking floor…..and as a non -professional you DON’T want to go there
      Good luck

  6. QUESTION:
    Can I machine clean my carpet with parquet floor underneath?
    I want to machine clean the carpet in my bedroom. A buddy of mine says he wants to wash the carpet by hand because the machine might spray too much water, and the parquet oak tiles will pop up. Should I let my buddy wash the carpet by hand?

    • ANSWER:
      How you clean a carpet varies greatly depending on what materials were used to make the carpet and whether or not the carpet is attached to the floor. No matter what cleaning method is used, you want to prevent water and any powerful cleansing agents from coming into contact with your wood floor. Water can damage a wood floor. Before cleaning your carpet, it is important to make sure your floor is adequately protected.
      1…Inspect your hardwood floor to make sure it is properly coated with a wax or polyurethane finish.
      2…Sand, apply a new coat of finish and buff your floor if it is need of a new protective layer. Vacuum your hardwood floor to remove any residue from the refinishing.

      3..Clean your carpet with the method recommended for your type of carpet. It is always best to use the mildest carpet cleaning product possible. Use as little as water as possible, particularly if the carpet can’t be moved. Never saturate the carpet to the point where water seeps into the padding or onto the floor.

      4..Dry clean your carpet with foam or powder, if possible. The dry cleaning method ensures that water will not come into contact with your wood floor. Vacuum your carpet thoroughly after dry cleaning.

      5..Remove any water off your wood floors with towels or a dry mop after cleaning your carpet.

      6..Take your carpet outside and dry it in the sun, if practicable. Or dry your carpet inside by aiming floor fans across its surface. Dry both sides of the carpet.

      7..Check again to make sure your floor is completely dry. Use a towel to dry up any remaining moisture.

      But i think the best idea will be to contact a professional carpet cleaner to do the job. That way your expensive wooden floor will be safe.

      Read more: How to Clean Carpet over Hardwood Floor | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5826152_clean-carpet-over-hardwood-floor.html#ixzz2JOgZVG4q

  7. QUESTION:
    Is there a good way to refinish an oak parque floor with polyurethane? Need to sand? Steps to clean first?
    This floor is on a concrete slab. It is dark oak, squares made up of narrow strips of wood, running alternately east-west and north-south.

    • ANSWER:
      Was original finish polyurethane? If so you can apply a fresh coat to bring back the shine of a new floor. Proper preperation is essential in order to get the best result. Thoroughly clean the floor with a hardwood floor cleaner. Minor scratches can be filled and small discolored areas can be touched up with stain before applying the new poly.

      If you choose to sand the whole floor and restain before applying new poly, be aware that excessive sanding can quickly ruin your floor. Chances are that your floor is a laminated material. If you were able to look at a piece of the flooring from the edge, it would probably look a lot like a thin piece of plywood with the top layer being the finished wood surface. That top layer is usually very thin and an electric floor sander can quickly sand right through this layer and ruin your floor. Sand lightly and carefully and you should have no problem.

      Good luck with your project.

  8. QUESTION:
    What do you use to clean a hardwood floor?
    Is Pine Sol safe or not? I have always used a swifter sweeper but it just needs to be shined again.

    • ANSWER:
      We put in 800 sf of hardwood flooring in our master suite and I made the mistake of doing it before finishing the plaster work. What we found was really eye opening.

      1. Murphy’s Oil Soap works well if your floors are really well sealed. But they make a mess and will warp boards that are in tight corners and don’t have good air flow. Boards will swell up and “cup”

      2. Vinegar destroys the polyurethane finish and causes it to peel up.

      3. Orange Glo hardwood floor kits are the best by far, but Bruce hardwood floor cleaner is good, too. The difference is that the Orange Glo leaves the floor with better protection and a light oil finish. It doesn’t stain socks or slippers though, but it does a great job of making the floors look better longer.

      It’s up to you what you use, but if you want to keep it nice longer, I wouldn’t go near Murphy’s or vinegar again.

  9. QUESTION:
    How to get my wood floor shiny again?
    I use orange glo cleaner and polish for my wood floor and works really good. My Maid used the swiper wet jet (for wood) on top of orange glo…and the floor looks ugly, spoted everywhere. I don’t know how to clean it of and what to use, need your advice, Thanks

    • ANSWER:
      Things You’ll Need:
      Hardwood floor cleaner
      Murphy’s Oil Soap
      Vinegar
      2 teabags
      Boiling water
      Polyurethane finish (optional)
      Step1Mop your floor using a cleaner made by hardwood flooring or floor finishing companies or one design specifically for wood. Cleaners that aren’t appropriate for your floor may leave a dulling residue behind. When this occurs, you have to remove the cleaner completely before you can bring back the luster of your floor. Use as little water as possible when cleaning your hardwood floors and dry them completely with a soft cloth–don’t let them air dry. The National Wood Flooring Association, recommends adding a cap full of vinegar to your mop water, however some hard wood flooring manufacturers disagree, siting that vinegar is too acidic and may wear away the finish.
      Step2Try this easy solution if Step 1 doesn’t provide results. Add Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean, hot water and use it to mop your floors. You’ll need to rinse your floors afterward and adding a cupful of vinegar to the clean rinse water should bring back the luster of your hardwood flooring.
      Step3Follow this recipe to naturally bring back the shine if Steps 1 and 2 didn’t achieve the look you were hoping for. Mix 1qt. of boiling water with 2 teabags. Let the teabags steep for 10 to 15 minutes and remove them from the water. Using a soft cloth, apply the tea to the floor. Rinse the floor with clean water when you’ve finished. The tannic acid in the tea should bring back a glossy shine to your hardwoods.
      Step4Try a high gloss polyurethane finish. You can purchase a water based or oil based finish and depending on which you choose, you may need to let the floor dry for up to four days before you can walk on it again. It’s certainly a little more work to use a polyurethane finish, but it produces remarkable results.

  10. QUESTION:
    Some tips for beautifying finished wood floors and minimizing appearance of scuff marks?
    Im getting rid to move and I would like to clean the heard floors thoroughly and also use something on them to make them look really nice and to minimize scuff marks. There were marks when I moved in, but I would still like to leave the floors looking their best.

    • ANSWER:
      Hardwood floors are one of the easiest flooring types to keep clean. Unlike carpeting, hardwood floors require minimum maintenance and can last for many years. Clean hardwood floors that run throughout a house can make the house look both beautiful and spacious. Maintenance methods to clean hardwood floors should not differ among types, but some finishes may require extra care when removing stains.

      The quickest and most effective way to clean hardwood floors is with a damp mop. Before mopping, make sure that you have removed all surface dust from the floor. This can be done with a soft broom or lightweight vacuum cleaner. Then, simply mop, rinse and repeat. It is important to remove grit and dirt from hardwood floors. Dirt and grit are the biggest enemies when it comes to scratching or scouring the floor finish.

      There are many hardwood floor cleaners available, but a very low pH cleanser and water will do the job just as effectively. The hardwood floor must be properly sealed before any mopping. If there are worn patches, do not use water, as the liquid can penetrate the wood and cause warping.

      Most hardwood floors are now finished using a surface finish called polyurethane. These floors look glossy and shiny. Polyurethane looks like a plastic coating over the wood and is extremely hard wearing. Another finish, called penetrating seals, consists of wax or oil finishes that penetrate the wood and protect from within.

      You may wish to go that extra mile and finish off the mopping with a wax or polish. If you find that your clean hardwood floors still look dull, then buffing them with wax may help. It may take some extra elbow grease in order to clean hardwood floors in this way, but the end result will be worth it. Some people also use a floor polish to add a shine to the floors. If wax or polish is used regularly, there may be a problem with adhesion when it comes to recoating the hardwood floors.

      All floors are susceptible to stains, whether they are hardwood or carpeted. A very fine steel wool can be used to remove a majority of the stains. A little alcohol can also be used to remove stains from clean hardwood floors. Finish off by polishing and buffing. If the stain remains, then sanding down the area may be the only option in order to remove it.

      bb70

  11. QUESTION:
    What to do with my hardwood floors?
    I scrubbed my floors to hard and i just need to know what i need to do to get rid of the white spot

    • ANSWER:
      It depends on how much damage you did to your floor.

      If you just badly scratched the surface, then a thorough cleaning followed by a light sanding for adhesion and two coats of Polyurethane will fix it. Try a small spot first to make sure you are not encasing your first mistake in plastic.

      If the damage is more extensive, you will have to sand more. Unless you have to remove a lot of material, belt sanders and the circular floor sanders may be too much; they can actually grind down your floor.

      Check with your paint store or home centre, I used a water-based polyurethane with great results. The floors were physically smooth, so I used an orbital sander with 100-grit paper and a hand sander on an extension, like the one they use to sand walls. That made white spots on the floor. Do not sand all the original finish off unless your paint specialist recommends that you do so, otherwise you will have to treat for bare wood first. Vacuum thoroughly and clean per finish directions. My floor was cleaned before sanding, so I used a damp rag to remove all the dust.

      Apply the new finish with a paintbrush on the edges and with a special applicator for the floor. Apply only in the direction of the grain (parallel to the floor boards). Pay special attention at the transition points like doorways. If your floor runs parallel to the doorsill, finish at the line between two boards, if your floor runs perpendicular, feather in a straight line.

      It’s actually quite easy.

  12. QUESTION:
    How can I get the smell of cats and dogs out of a house ?
    I just recently bought a house but the only problem is that the people before ( tenants ) had like 3 dogs and 2 cats and the whole house smells absolutely horrible !!!!! The tenants before let the animals urinate any where they pleased , well that’s what im assuming because the house has a unbearable smell . I ripped all the carpet off a couple of hours ago but the wood floor has a bunch of stains. Is there a way too get the horrible smell out once and for all ? please help.

    • ANSWER:
      Are you talking subfloor or hardwood floors? Either way, scrub the stains with Nature’s Miracle or a similar enzymatic cleaner. You may need to scrub a couple of times. If they’re hardwood floors and you can’t get the smell out sufficiently, you may have to replace them. If we’re talking subfloor, give that a few days to dry. Then coat the subfloor with something like Kilz or polyurethane. It may take a couple of coats but should seal any remaining odor in sufficiently. I would give it a few days for it to dry and the odor of the sealer to dissipate, to see if it’s sufficiently handled, before putting new floor down. If you still catch whiffs of the pet odor, put a couple of more coats on.

  13. QUESTION:
    Need some advice on reviving a hardwood floor?
    I just moved into a new apartment that has all wood floors. However, the wood has not been taken care of very well. I thoroughly cleaned and oiled the floor. And it looked great! Until everything dried and it went back to what it was before. Basically it seems that the wood is really thirsty and just sucks the moisture right up. What can I do to revive it/hydrate it on a small budget?

    • ANSWER:
      Without going through the very expensive process of hiring a pro to sand you floors, you’ll need to put in some labor of your own. It ain’t easy.

      First wash the floors with a strong detergent to remove all the oils and waxes. Tri-sodium Phosphate works great if you can get it where you live. Make sure you wear gloves. Rinse the floor well with clear water.

      Next get some medium grade steel wool and rough up the finsih that in on the floor now. Don’t miss any spots.

      Buy some floor grade gloss polyurethane (there are several brands that don’t work well on floors) from you favorite paint store. You’ll need enough for two coats. Oil base is best, but I understand the new latexes work well also.

      This the first coat down with a mix of 25% thinner (for oil based). Apply the second coat within twenty four hours full strength. This will give you a nice shiney floor. If you wait more than twenty-four hours use a fine steel wool between coats.

      Now what I told you will not remove inbeded stains, scratches, dents or the old finish. It’s just a touch up.

      Should cost you less than .00

  14. QUESTION:
    how to join hardwood floor to tile floor?
    We are laying hardwood flooring in our front hall that adjoins a room that has tile floors. The hardwood is higher than the tile floor. How do we join the two?

    • ANSWER:
      The best way to transition a hardwood floor to a tile floor is a reducing strip. It should be made of the same species of wood as you existing floor, beit oak, maple, Brazilian cherry or otherwise. Mind you, there are two commonly used species of oak, if it’s an oak floor. Red and white oak have different graining patterns, though oftentimes, only one species is available where you shop.

      Intermingling them won’t be that striking, but if you like uniformity, then match them. Be sure to match the stain, too. Many home centers have scanners to help you here, but a sample will be needed.

      If you’re unsure, then buy two pieces of oak, one white and one red(provided were talking an oak floor) and a few amples of colors that are similar. Stain parts of them, poly or lacquer them (matching the final finish sheen is important, too, beit gloss, semi gloss or another).

      To install the reducer:
      Cut it to size, stain it(easier before it’s installed), pre drill for the finish nails and apply a small bead if a polyurethane based adhesive(PL 200 is fine). Don’t use so uch that it ooozes out from under the reducer. This stuff is a real hassle to clean up!

      Drive the nails through the pre drilled holes (I like at least 8d finish nails for this), counter sink them and fill them with a wood filler that accepts stain, preferably one that you can mix the stain with.

      Three coats of poly, or whatever final finish there is. Sand or steel wool between coats and a 000 or 0000 steel wool after the final coat goes on

  15. QUESTION:
    What can I use to quickly get dried-on glue from my hard wood floors?
    Over the last week I’ve tried mineral spirits, the odors are terrible.
    Then there was the adhesive remover – yeah, it didn’t work either – well it did manage to bubble up the plastic coating on the cheapy baseboard we have. Good thing I wanna replace it anyway
    Then came the goo-gone as a result of an answerer here – nope, no luck there
    I bought Bostik’s adhesive remover wipes at , but it takes a combination of wiping and scrubbing to get the floors clean.
    I bought the no odor mineral spirits and it works if I rub and rub and rub

    Is there anything, anything, anything that I can use to quickly get the glue off? I have 400 sq ft of floors that are covered in glue. *SIGH*
    MV – just for future reference – when you’re installing wood floors on concrete, you glue it down.

    • ANSWER:
      I have run into this problem before. First question, are the floors ‘real’ wood or laminate. Is the glue a film, or bead.
      If it is a bead, you may be able to scrape it off, do not use a sharp tool….try a scraper for car windows, a good edge plastic (not metal). Laminate you could try spraying a solution of vinegar and water (light coat) let it soak, and scrub with a mild abrasive plastic pad. I actually did an entire floor with this solution and an electric floor polisher with 3M scrub pad attached. If real hardwood, these methods will put fine scratches in the finish, but may be the only way to remove the glue. If so, once you have it removed, and cleaned the floor, you can buff the entire floor with fine steel wool and apply a finish coat of polyurethane. This will remedy the scratch problem. (for future reference, the glue should be cleaned away as you install, resulting in minor residue cleanup.)

  16. QUESTION:
    best hardwood floor cleaning method?
    What is the best appliance to use to clean hard wood floors? A string mop, one of those new microfiber wet mops or something else?

    • ANSWER:
      * Never damp mop – Water and wood floors don’t mix! Use only the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning products when cleaning hardwood floors.

      * The absolutely simple and safe way to clean any sort of wood that is finished with a urethane is to use polyurethane cleaners which are manufactured by both hardwood flooring manufacturers and manufacturers of polyurethane.

      * Vacuum Regularly – Small stones, mud and gritty dirt tracked in from outside can play havoc on the wood floors finish. To help prevent outside dirt from tracking onto the hardwood floor, use long bristle door mats placed at all outside entrances for people to wipe their feet on before entering onto the floors. Vacuum using a soft bristle brush attachment.

      * Don’t use oil soaps – There are many over the counter oil-based soaps and wax based cleaning products that may damage or dull the finish of your wood floor. The best suggestion is to only use the manufacturers recommended products for cleaning your hardwood flooring.

      * Never wax a urethane wood finish – If your hardwood floor has a polyurethane finish never use a paste wax on the floor’s surface. A paste wax may form a sticky film on your floor and allow tracked in dirt to stick to your wood finish. Polyurethane finishes will not adhere to any wax and adding a fresh coat of polyurethane to your floor will be very difficult.

      Hardwood Floor Cleaner
      & Polish System
      Hardwood Floor Care Made Easy!
      You are steps away from a clean, beautifully maintained hardwood floor.

      http://www.cleanshineprotect.com/default.asp

      http://www.cleanshineprotect.com/hardwoodfloorkit.asp

  17. QUESTION:
    I have just sanded my hardwood floors to the bare wood. I want to stain and then wax them. I don’t want to…
    …use polyurethane. Does anyone know a good “how-to” guide for doing this properly?
    The hardwood is some kind of ligth oak. I have rough sanded, because the old finish was very rough and, basically, a mess. But I have still not done the final, smooth sanding, so hopefully I can still take time to research my finishing options…

    • ANSWER:
      Hmmm…check out hgtv.com…I suspect you’ll find some info there. And check out Home Depot or Lowes — they have booklets and even free instructional classes for all manner of home DIY projects. I have found the booklets and classes invaluable.

      What kind of hardwood? There are many water-based stains on the market, and these work well and are very quick drying. No matter how you stain, you are going to have to sand again (the stain lifts the grain of the wood) before putting a finish on. You can wax directly over using a clear or tinted wax. A water-based poly designed for floors is a good sealant, but as this stuff has a big tendency to bubble, you need to make sure your floors are perfectly cleaned of any sanding residue, and are going to need a sanding or two between coats (you’ll need at least 4 coats, if not more for flooring.) You can stain and then apply wax directly over it without sealing (always my choice) — this is the way they used to do it in the olden days. You can get clear or tinted waxes, but if you foregoing a sealing finish, I would suggest “bowling alley” or “basketball court” wax. Waxing will require application, then buffing with steel wool (usually #1) and then buffed with a buffing pad. While waxing will not hold up quite as well as poly and will need re-dos…you’re going to be waxing on a regular basis anyway. Stains, however, are more likely to permeate the wax than a poly if not caught early enough (but…it is easier to spot sand and fix a small spot that has been stained and waxes than one that has been polyurethaned). As you have a hard wood rather than soft (pine), this is actually a nice alternative with a beautiful finish.

      Another alternative is a tung oil finish — gorgeous — and I have included a link to a site that talks about this (I did this on a paneled wall, and got the directions from here). http://www.realmilkpaint.com/floortung.html.

      And…well…yeah, you should have thought about this before the sanding, but that’s water under the bridge. If it is going to be, like, a week or more before you finish your floors…do this TODAY: Lay down a layer of kraft paper (called painter’s paper/drop cloth paper — cheap — available everywhere) over the entire floor and then lay plastic paths for walking. Otherwise, your bare wood will pick up dust, dirt, and will start to oxidize (mellow) before you get it finished.

      And…don’t forget…start in a corner and finish at a doorway…don’t want to paint yourself into a corner, so to speak. ;-]

      Then there is the option of getting someone else (like a professional) to do it for you…while that’s not an option I usually go for…it can save a lot of time and possibly money in the long run.

      ADDED: Oak…mmmm… the tung finish will look great with oak — I use tung on oak furniture all the time and it looks so rich and mellow. And, OK, you’re absolved with the sanding part ;-].

  18. QUESTION:
    can i refurbish old wooden plank flooring?
    my husband and i are purchasing a very old home (100+ years) under the carpet are like 2×4 wooden plank floors. my mom says they cant be sanded and painted because they are to wide. is this true? the floors were painted at one point many many years ago, but i would like to sand and stain them but she says it cant be done! i say it can! can anyone give me some advise or tips?

    • ANSWER:
      Most hardwood floors can be refinished several times over the years. Renting an industrial sander is the best way, if you are planning on doing the labor yourself. Before you sand, however, very carefully go over your floor and pound in/ remove any nails, staples, etc or they will rip up your sandpaper and possibly damage the machine. Be sure to arm yourself with lots of sandpaper (you almost always need more than you planned on using!). Use a rougher grit first to remove imperfections and old finishes. Use a fine grit later to make sure you have a nice, smooth finish. After staining it to your color choice, use several coats of floor polyurethane to protect your new floors for years to come.

      To keep your floors looking like new, we suggest using a Mohawk Floorcare Essentials Hardwood and Laminate Cleaning Kit ( http://www.flooring-nc.com/floor-care/hardwood-laminate-care-kit/vmj_color_plus.tpl.htm ).

      Add the finishing touches with new wood or metal floor vents (if your vents are in the floor)- http://www.flooring-nc.com/floor-registers/view-all-products.htm?limit=20&limitstart=40 has lots of different models.

  19. QUESTION:
    redoing hardwood floors. just bought this house and the floors were always covered w/wall to wall.?
    the floors look in good condition and I did put some stain on a part of the bedroom floor, which really improved the looks. I just don’t want to get in over my head and stain the whole thing, then do the polyurethane thing and then wind up having to have a pro come in. Has anyone had any experience with a remodel or redoing the hardwood? Have just spent a bunch on having a master bath put in and want to make sure if I tackle this job I will be able to finish. thanks for any input or tricks of the trade.

    • ANSWER:
      Try rejuvenating the floor before you get in over your head or have to call in the professionals. I’ve seen a lot of hardwood that has been covered by carpet that merely needs a good cleaning and a little sprucing up. First, clean it well with a product like Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove surface dust and dirt. You can apply it easily with a sponge mop. Then determine whether it simply needs moisturizing in which case use a product like Scott’s Liquid Gold. If there are scratches or water marks, try a product like Howard’s Restore a Finish. It comes in clear or in tints to match your wood tones. It, too, can be easily applied with a sponge mop and often restores the beauty to the wood without restaining or sanding and it doesn’t damage the wood or finish. I’ve seen amazing results on floors clients were certain needed refinishing.

  20. QUESTION:
    should I use water or oil-based polyurethane for my hardwood floor?

    • ANSWER:
      The decision depends on a few variables. Both are durable finishes for hardwood floors. Oil base polyurethane has an ambering effect to it. So if you want your finish to have an absolutely clear coat on top, opt for the water base. If you like the warm ambering quality of the oil base, use that. If you are not staining your floor, just remember that water base will not bring out the grain patterns nearly as well as oil. Oil base will last longer between coats, but recoats are a bit more involved. Water base dries quicker, so you can get more coats applied quicker. That is why most flooring contractors use it. Not because its a better product.
      If I do a natural maple floor, I use the water base. If I do a natural or stained oak or cherry floor, I use the oil. I believe oil to be a much harder and longer lasting finish. By the way, NEVER and I do mean NEVER wax your finished floors. The reason being, that when its time for a re-coat, you will end up having to completely sand the finish off, because no finish will stick to wax. And the flooring contractor will charge you more because of the amount of sanding belts he will have to use because of the wax clogging them. The best way to clean hardwood floors is 1/4 cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water. Use a sponge mop, and buff behind you. The vinegar is just acidic enough to clean without harming the finish. Wax was used a LONG time ago before varnish and polyurethane. It WAS the finish.

  21. QUESTION:
    Hardwood floor dust – Is the potential hazard too risky?
    I was having the floor in my living room renewed due to some scratches. While the job was being completed a lot of dust from the floor was flying around the house. We opened all the windows and the house was fairly ventilated.
    There is still a lot of dust from the floor in the furniture that we will vacuum and clean later.
    My question is about the potential hazard and health risks of breathing this dust. Is it ok to stay at home or should I move for a day or two?
    And what other measures can I take to minimize potential risks?

    • ANSWER:
      I’ve never considered wood dust to be especially hazardous, at least for the infrequent exposure, although some people may be more sensitive to it than others. I always thought it was more of a nuisance than a hazard (it tends to get into everything). I worried more about the fumes from the polyurethane finish, although that was for the oil-based polyurethane. The newer water-based polyurethanes are a lot less toxic.

      For what it’s worth, the dust seems to settle out of the air fairly quickly. Thus, the contractor can often sand and apply the first finish coat the same day. Moving out after the job is done doesn’t seem like it would buy you much.

      As for minimizing the risks, you should close all the doors in the rest of the house while floors are being sanded. You can also talk to the contractor about dust and fume mitigation (before the job starts, obviously).

  22. QUESTION:
    simple way to re-finish original hardwood floors?
    me and my husband are re-finishing the floors in our babies room. its just an 11x13ft room, so not huge. anyway, the original hardwood floors are beautiful so we didnt want to waste them, however, neither of us know how to re-finish them.

    of course i understand that you sand them, then stain them, then put a top coat of some sort on.

    so basically, what are the steps to doing this? and do you use wax on the top to finish them, or do use something like polyurethane? thanks!!

    • ANSWER:
      Before you do anything else, try cleaning the floor really well, and rent a commercial floor buffer from home depot… follow the instructions…cleaning and buffing may be all you need….

      If you have to refinish, you sand with medium sandpaper, then fine sandpaper, then apply your stain, then apply a coat of polyurethane, lightly sand with 400 grit paper, clean, apply 2nd coat, buff…

  23. QUESTION:
    what’s the best hardwood floor cleaner?
    I have installed hardwoods in my home (oakwood) and would like to know the best hardwood cleaner?

    • ANSWER:
      Hardwood floors are one of the easiest flooring types to keep clean. Unlike carpeting, hardwood floors require minimum maintenance and can last for many years. Clean hardwood floors that run throughout a house can make the house look both beautiful and spacious. Maintenance methods to clean hardwood floors should not differ among types, but some finishes may require extra care when removing stains.

      The quickest and most effective way to clean hardwood floors is with a damp mop. Before mopping, make sure that you have removed all surface dust from the floor. This can be done with a soft broom or lightweight vacuum cleaner. Then, simply mop, rinse and repeat. It is important to remove grit and dirt from hardwood floors. Dirt and grit are the biggest enemies when it comes to scratching or scouring the floor finish.

      There are many hardwood floor cleaners available, but a neutral cleanser (i.e., neither too low or too high a pH level) and water will do the job just as effectively. The hardwood floor must be properly sealed before any mopping. If there are worn patches, do not use water, as the liquid can penetrate the wood and cause warping.

      Most hardwood floors are now finished using a surface finish called polyurethane. These floors look glossy and shiny. Polyurethane looks like a plastic coating over the wood and is extremely hard wearing. Another finish, called penetrating seals, consists of wax or oil finishes that penetrate the wood and protect from within.

      You may wish to go that extra mile and finish off the mopping with a wax or polish. If you find that your clean hardwood floors still look dull, then buffing them with wax may help. It may take some extra elbow grease in order to clean hardwood floors in this way, but the end result will be worth it. Some people also use a floor polish to add a shine to the floors. If wax or polish is used regularly, there may be a problem with adhesion when it comes to recoating the hardwood floors.

      All floors are susceptible to stains, whether they are hardwood or carpeted. A very fine steel wool can be used to remove a majority of the stains. A little alcohol can also be used to remove stains from clean hardwood floors. Finish off by polishing and buffing. If the stain remains, then sanding down the area may be the only option in order to remove it.

      Depending on the amount of traffic in your house, you may only have to clean hardwood floors once a week. An extra precaution used in order to maintain clean hardwood floors may be to have people remove footwear when they enter the house. By doing this, you may limit the amount of heelmarks imprinted into the floors and the maintenance required in the future.

  24. QUESTION:
    I am sanding my hardwood floors- what is the best finish? Stain? Polyurethane? Wax?
    I’ve always though that poly was the best to protect them but recently I’ve heard that wax is the best option- any suggestion? If I stain I would assume I still have to cover them with some sort of protectant?

    • ANSWER:
      Stain only adds color to the wood. Take some scrap pieces to use as ‘samples’ for different colors. It’s a good idea to apply the chosen ‘topcoat’ to the stain too, to see if it makes any difference in the color as a finished product. Apply your chosen top coat to a bare piece of wood too… you just might like the color, and decide not to stain. (I realize you’re sanding down an existing floor – so go out and buy a couple of boards of the same species, and as close to the color of your wood as you can get, to make color samples with. It’d be heartbreaking to get completely finished with all the work, only to find it didnt turn out ‘just’ like you wanted it too, heheh)

      Polyurethane creates a nice hard finish, which is an excellent choice for flooring. Ive used both, as a professional, along with some other finishing choices, like lacquer, varnish, etc. These are all known as ‘soft’ finishes, and work great for projects that are going on a wall, not the floor. Wax is a ‘traditional’ wood finish, and that was the first choice, before polyurethane was created. Wax requires more ‘maintenance’ than polyurethanes. You have to spend more time cleaning it, occasionally stripping it off, and refinishing it. Wax is often used in commercial settings on vinyl tiles, because they are regularly cleaned and maintained anyway, with heavy equipment.
      So, the bottom line, is how much work do you want to put into regular maintenance on your floor. If you want to damp mop it only every so often, go with the polyurethane.
      The one drawback with polyurethane is that when it gets scratched, it takes more work to remove the scratch, than wax does… but again, you’re not going to have to spend as much time maintaining it, on a regular basis.

      Have Fun

  25. QUESTION:
    thick coatings available for old hardwood floor?
    Does anyone know of a clear coating, maybe an epoxy that I can use to build up an old hardwood floor that is beginning to have cracks lift in places. I’m thinking of something like what they have in Disney land in Mickey and Minnies houses. If you haven’t been there it is about a 1/4″ thick on top of hardwood and takes dirt/moisture amazingly well. I am unable to simply nail down the cracks as the wood on the groove top is the problem and it is just too thin. The floor is 150 year old 1/4 sawed fir in a historical home so bylaws make it tough to replace. thanks

    • ANSWER:
      Hi first I recomend that if you only want to re-coat the floors in very improtant that you find out what kind of finish you have in your wood floors you can test the finish and check you floors doing this

      If the floor was installed, or last serviced, before the mid ’60s, you should assume the finish used was varnish or shellac. To determine this, scratch the surface with a coin or other sharp object in a corner or other inconspicuous space. If the finish flakes, it is probably shellac or varnish. Shellac and varnish are rarely used anymore and require full sanding to remove before application of a surface finish or wax finish.

      Next, check the floor for wax finish. In an inconspicuous area, corner or behind a door, apply two (2) drops of water. If, within ten minutes, white spots appear under the drops of water, the floor has a wax finish. To remove the white spots, gently rub the spots with #000 steel wool dampened with wax.

      If the finish does not flake from scratching with a coin and white spots do not appear from the drops of water, the floor has a surface finish and should be maintained accordingly.

      Follow these steps to evaluate the condition of your hardwood floor and its finish.

      Finish Condition

      Has the finish been worn off or is it just dirty? See if the finish is dull, chipped, scraped or gouged. To test if the finish has worn off, begin in a high-traffic area and pour one to two tablespoons of water onto the floor. If the water soaks in immediately and leaves a darkened spot, the finish is worn and water can damage the wood. If the water soaks in after a few minutes and darkens the wood only slightly, the finish is partially worn. If the water beads on top, the surface is properly sealed. Repeat this test in low- and medium-traffic areas.

      Wood Condition

      It the finish is worn, the wood may have been damaged. Are there stains, burns, cuts, gouges, holes, cracks or warped boards? If the wood is damaged, repair or replacement may be required before you deep clean your floor or apply a maintenance coat.

      the finish in A high area like disney usually are a Oxygen-crosslinking, 100% polyurethane waterborne formula with extraordinary
      performance, ease of application and durability.

      if you looking for something as hard as epoxy you can used
      Bona Traffic® a 2 component floor finish is the latest generation of waterborne polyurethanes.
      Formulated specifically for heavy traffic commercial and residential hardwood floors, Traffic
      provides unsurpassed durability in a wood floor finish.
      For trained, experienced professional use only.

      you can check
      http://www.floorsincalifornia.com the resources page

      good luck!

  26. QUESTION:
    Ways/products to shine natural, dry, old wood floors?
    My grandma just moved into an older home that has old wood floors that we pulled cat pee soaked carpet. The finish is gone on it and it’s dry looking and cracked. What are some ways or products that can make it look almost new and shiny.

    • ANSWER:
      I assume you want to do it properly so here goes:
      Redoing hardwood floors takes a great deal of time, sweat, and elbow grease. As a general rule, floors of fifty square feet or less can be sanded by hand, but for any floor larger than that, rent or buy a small orbital sander. Everything necessary for doing it yourself will be available at your local hardware store. You can buy a pretty good electric sander nowadays for less than 0, which can be a good investment, especially if you’re planning to work on your home on a regular basis( or rent one).The first layer to be removed is often a thick wax coating, followed by a coat of either polyurethane or varnish. A heavy duty commercial wax stripper can remove the wax, and then a lacquer thinner or acetone can be wiped on to prepare the wood for the next step. If there are any carpet tacks or pieces of old nails in the wood, remove them first(with nails you can use a hammer and punch to sink them below the floors surface). The remnant of a nail can tear up sandpaper, damage a sanding pad, and do serious damage to the palm of your hand, so check carefully to make sure all remnants of tacks and nails are gone before you begin sanding. Fill all nail holes with a quality wood filler, matching the color as closely as you can, and let it dry. Then you’re ready to begin sanding the floor with 220-grit sandpaper, whether by hand or with a sander. When you’re done sanding, wipe the entire floor with a damp cloth to remove as much sanding dust as possible. Damp cloths work better than vacuum cleaners. Let the floor dry, and then wipe it again with a tack rag, which is a cloth impregnated with resin to pick up fine dust particles. Again, your local hardware store will have what you need.After the floor is as clean as you can get it, apply three coats of polyurethane with a paint pad, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly, lightly sanding with 220-grit paper, and wiping the floor with a damp cloth and a tack rag between coats. If you prefer an old-fashioned finish, you can use a 50/50 mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirits and then wax the floors with beeswax or paste wax. Take caution with the chemical mixture and the rags because they can catch on fire. You can refinish hardwood floors yourself. It just takes time and effort–and a good set of kneepads wouldn’t hurt, either! Once you finish, you’ll have a gorgeous floor to be proud of .
      Hope that helps you, Good luck.

  27. QUESTION:
    old hardwood floor needs shine?
    I live in an old apartment building which has old hardwood floors with no finish on them, they are completely stripped of any finish. How can I refinish my floors and make them shine.

    • ANSWER:
      It will cost you approx. per square foot to have a professional refinish your floors. They will also determine if the floors are refinish-able…sometimes they have been sanded too much to do again or they are so damaged and uneven that a new floor is a better option.

      Given that you say it’s an apartment – perhaps you do not own the space? If so, you may not be allowed to touch the floors – check with your land lord.

      An non-invasive method would be one that doesn’t require sanding – you could try a product like Pro Shot® Floor Restorer restores the natural beauty of your floors in one easy application, dries to a mirror-like finish in about 30 minutes, and is UL-listed for slip resistance.

      If you do plan to do it yourself try these steps:

      •Step 1
      Thoroughly sweep and mop the wood floor to be sanded. Be sure to check for any nails or tacks left behind from carpet installation and carefully remove.

      •Step 2
      Keep the room well ventilated, if possible open windows, this will assist with dust that is generated. Using the 20-grit sandpaper start in the corner of the room. Slowly and evenly sand the entire floor following the grain of the wood, using the floor sander. Follow by going around the edges with a palm sander or edger. Sweep or vacuum up any dust left behind.

      •Step 3
      Sand over the floor in the same manner as above using the 60-grit sandpaper. Clean up the resulting dust. If necessary you can mop with mineral spirits but do not use water on the raw wood floor.

      •Step 4
      If you choose to stain the floor, do it before you begin applying polyurethane. Allow the stain plenty of time to dry before sealing.

      •Step 5
      Seal the floor using the thick nap roller or wool cover. Start at the farthest corner from the door. Work your way towards the door, applying an even coat of polyurethane. Allow 6 to 12 hours of drying time between coats depending on the recommended drying time listed on the label. Follow with 3 to 4 more coats for best results.

      Things You’ll Need:

      •Electric Sander (rent)
      •Polishing (Buffing) Machine (rent)
      •Polyurethane
      •Putty Knife
      •Needle Nosed Pliers
      •Tack Cloths (several)
      •Rags
      •Wood Stain
      •Polyurethane Application Mop
      •Sandpaper (3 grits)

  28. QUESTION:
    is there something 2 put on a hard wood floor to make them look better?
    looking 4 some kind of cleaner to but on my hard wood floor 2 make them look better been moon stuff on 4 12 year there never been nothing on beside stuff u mop with

    • ANSWER:
      Any cleaning product used on hardwoods should have a neutral pH, and one specifically formulated for wood floors is the best choice. Follow the instructions on the cleaning label, use a soft mop, and apply the cleaner/water solution sparingly. If after cleaning the wood floors feel sticky or like there is a residue, use a vinegar rinse with ¼ cup white or cider vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Mopping with regular detergents or any cleaner with ammonia can strip the finish of the floors, so carefully read labels before applying any cleaner to your hardwood floors. Floors with a wax finish (most new floors and many older do not require this because they have a polyurethane coating) will require buffing approximately twice a year; follow manufacturer recommendations on waxing and buffing. If you happen to find a spot of floor with a stain, clean with your chosen wood cleaner, rinse with the vinegar solution, and then dry with a clean towel. Rub fine-grain sand paper along the wood (following the grain) until the stain is no longer apparent. Buff with a cloth, and then apply wax or finish to protect the area.
      If you go to Menards, Lowes, Home Depot they can recommend something that would be best for your floors. Below are 2 sites you may find interesting.

  29. QUESTION:
    Hardwood Floor HELP!?
    My daughter spilled Isopropyl Alcohol on our hardwood floor and didn’t tell anyone about it and it sat for about 15-20 minutes. Once i found it I cleaned it up but now there is a huge stain where it was laying. How do I get the stain up?

    • ANSWER:
      It all depends on what type of floor it is. Laminate or solid wood.If it is laminate you better buy a throw rug. Solid wood,Is the stain lighter or darker than the original finish? How old is it? Some older floors are finished with shellac and that would be the best for you,because alcohol dissolves shellac and all you would have to do is touch it up. Shellac comes in 2 colors clear and orange(looks like oak).If it is relatively new it may be an acrylic finish,if so lightly sand the area and blend in with a coat of acrylic varnish(polyurethane) If color is an issue blend in a stain color that matches after sanding and finish when dry.Good luck! Oh! and don’t rush it.Let each coat dry completely before using another.

  30. QUESTION:
    whats the best way to refinish wood floors?

    • ANSWER:
      Most hardwood floors can be refinished several times over the years. Renting an industrial sander is the best way, if you are planning on doing the labor yourself. Before you sand, however, very carefully go over your floor and pound in/ remove any nails, staples, etc or they will rip up your sandpaper and possibly damage the machine. Be sure to arm yourself with lots of sandpaper (you almost always need more than you planned on using!). Use a rougher grit first to remove imperfections and old finishes. Use a fine grit later to make sure you have a nice, smooth finish. After staining it to your color choice, use several coats of floor polyurethane to protect your new floors for years to come.

      To keep your floors looking like new, we suggest using a Mohawk Floorcare Essentials Hardwood and Laminate Cleaning Kit ( http://www.flooring-nc.com/floor-care/hardwood-laminate-care-kit/vmj_color_plus.tpl.htm ).

      Add the finishing touches with new wood or metal floor vents (if your vents are in the floor)- http://www.flooring-nc.com/floor-registers/view-all-products.htm?limit=20&limitstart=40 has lots of different models.


how to clean hardwood floors before polyurethane