When Your Floor Fades
One reason a hardwood floor is considered to be such a great investment in your home is longevity. With the right care, a hardwood floor can last decades, improving the value of your property for years to come.
If you’ve installed your own hardwood floor some years ago, you might have noticed that the colour is no longer as bright as it used to be. Maybe you’ve purchased an older home with hardwood flooring, and no matter how shiny they got that floor to show off the house you can tell it’s seen better days.
Have no fear! Hardwood floors can be restored back to as good as new again and again with the right treatment. The first step to returning colour and shine to your floor is determining the finish on the floor.
Determining the Finish
If you bought the floor and had it installed yourself you probably already know the finish. If you didn’t install the floor, you’ll need to determine the type of finish by asking or by consulting a hardwood floor care expert, who will usually be able to tell you the finish.
The most common types of finishes on modern floors are wax and polyurethane varnish. Some old floors will have a shellac finish.
Find the Right Treatment
Next, you’ll need to find the right treatment for your floor. For example, a wax floor will need to be cleaned with a speciality wax floor cleaner, then either coloured paste or liquid floor wax will need be applied according to the product’s instructions.
Polyurethane varnish or other finishes will require other products.
Apply a Floor Renewing Product
Revitalizers are products that will keep your floors looking great and increase the time before you need to have your hardwood refinished or recoated. They are specially formulated based on the type of finish on your floor, and they are usually sprayed on or applied with a mop. Most take less than 24 hours to dry and leave your floor looking shiny and new.
It’s very important to make sure you pick a floor renewing product that’s properly tailored to the finish you’ve used! If you’re having your floor regularly recoated, it might be a good idea to run the product by the same professional so that you have an assurance that it won’t affect your floor.
Refinish the Floor
Lastly, for some floor restoration jobs you need to call in the big guns – floor refinishing. Floor refinishing involves taking every piece of finished solid hardwood in your floor and sanding down the top layer to the raw wood underneath.
Once this has been done, the wood can be restrained and refinished – it will literally be “like new”. The downside is that this process uses up the top layer of the wood. The amount of wood used on a single refinishing is very slight, but it does add up and most floors cannot be refinished more than 10-12 times throughout their lifespan.
However, there are several reasons that you might want to refinish:
- Deep scratches or gouges: It’s the job of the finish to protect your floor. Light scratches and scrapes will not penetrate the finish, and instead only leave a groove in the varnish or wax that can be temporarily filled by a revitalizing treatment or recoated later. Heavy scratches, however, can penetrate through the finish to the wood. These can fill with dust and dirt and become obvious blemishes. To fix these unattractive marks, you’ll need to sand the wood down deeper than the level of the scratch.
- Moisture damage: Despite your best efforts to protect your hardwood floor, moisture damage can still happen, whether it’s a surprise leak or a spill that wasn’t dried in time. Moisture damage will cause stains in your wood that are very unattractive. To remedy this, you’ll need to sand the wood down to a level below where the moisture penetrated. In the case of mild moisture damage, this usually is not very deep on a finished floor, allowing the stain to be completely removed.
- Change the stain colour: As the years go by, you may wish to change the colour of the wood stain that you have applied. Or, you may have inherited a wood floor and want to add your own touch by choosing a new stain. Refinishing allows you to remove the stained layer of wood and apply a new stain of your choosing.
Don’t be worried when your hardwood floor begins to fade – this is a natural effect of age on the material. When your floor has lost its lustre, simply apply the techniques above to have it looking as good as new in no time!