No other type of floor can give a home an elegant yet homey look than hardwood floors. Over time, however, the floors gradually lose their shine. If your floor has seen better days, and you're contemplating taking out the entire flooring and replacing it with a new one, pause for a moment.
Hardwood floors can be revived; they aren't like other items in the house that should be entirely thrown out and replaced if one or a few parts stop working or become damaged. Most of the time, polishing them is the best way to bring back their shine. Polishing is often enough to make these floors look like how they were the first day they were installed.
Step 1: Cleaning
Water and other water-based solvents can damage hardwood floors. Thus, never use them to clean your hardwood floor. There are commercial hardwood cleaners that are not water-based you could use for removing stains. For dust and other particles, use a broom or vacuum (or a combination of both). For areas in them that are extremely dirty, use a stiff nylon scrub brush.
Step 2: Buffing
Buffing hardwood floors is a wonderful way to partially refinish your floor. This step in the polishing process actually prepares your floor for a new finish each time. Buffing prevents the polish or finish you apply from peeling off quickly. For this step, you'll need to rent a machine called a buffer. Make sure to use a screen with at least 100 grit.
Step 2: Polishing
Once you have your hardwood floor buffed, you'll need to finish it by applying wax or polishing solution. Go with paste wax as it lasts longer and can give your hardwood floor that extra shine. However, keep in mind that paste wax is a bit more difficult to remove than other types of polish or finish. If you're planning on refinishing them down the road, go with a polishing solution as it's easier to remove than wax.
It can be laborious and time-consuming, but you'll get better results if you apply wax or polishing solution manually. Be sure the floor is clean and dry before applying polish. The frequency in which you have to polish or wax your hardwood floor depends largely on the type of hardwood, how old your floor is and how much foot traffic it receives every day.
In general, apply hardwood floor polish at least once a year. Hardwood floors in homes would do well to be polished every couple of years in an office environment would do well to be polished every 6 months.
Niv Orlian is an experienced Home Improvement Adviser who writes articles for his Flooring & Carpet Cleaning online guides.
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