Faded wood floors that have lost their luster can be rejuvenated or restored. Before you tackle coloring and shining your hardwood floor, it is essential that you know what type of finish was originally applied to the wood. Your hardwood floor may have a varnish, wax or shellac finish. The type of floor finish determines the method you can use to restore the color and shine to your wood floor.
Determining the Finish
Hardwood floors installed prior to the 1960s typically have a shellac or varnish coating. Shellac and varnish finishes are indicated by flaking when the floor is scraped with a sharp implement. Before you can restore a shellacked or varnished floor, the entire wood surface will have to be sanded, removing the finish, and then restained and resurfaced. Wax finishes will form white bubbles or spots when exposed to water for about ten minutes. The white discoloration can be removed with steel wool and floor wax. Once you have determined the finish of the hardwood floor, you can decide how to restore the color and shine.
Colored Paste or Liquid Floor Waxes
Colored paste and liquid floor waxes are sold by different manufacturers at home improvement, discount and hardware stores. If your wood floor has a wax finish, colored paste and liquid floor waxes can be used to rejuvenate the wood. Clean the floor with a cleaner intended for wax finishes. Never use any cleaner that is water-based on a wax finish. Apply the colored wax to a buffing cloth, and rub the floor in circular motions until the floor begins to absorb the color and shine. If the floor is badly damaged, use fine steel wool pads to strip away the wax finish. Then apply colored paste or liquid wax to the floor, buff on, and then reseal the floor with a wood sealer.
Floor Renewing Treatments
Floor renewing products are available from many manufacturers aimed at reducing the time required to restore color and luster to your hardwood floor. These products are specially formulated for the type of finish on your hardwood floor. Some treatments spray onto the floor in varying amounts of gloss finishes and create a protective barrier over the wood. These sprays are temporary solutions and last for a matter of months, or less if the area is a high traffic region of your floor. Some floor-renewing treatments are sold as combination deep-cleaning and restorative products. These type of products perform a double duty in cleaning the wood as well as providing color and shine.
Wood Stains and Sealants
When a floor has been neglected for a very long time, it might be necessary to strip the finish, sand the floor and start over. Deeply gouged and scratched wood needs to be repaired with wood putty. Sanding the floor will allow the wood to absorb fresh stain, giving the wood a vibrant color again. Loss of shine is a loss of finish. A wood floor’s finish does more than just provide a layer of attractive gloss. The finish protects the color and the wood from damage. To restain a floor, clean the floor thoroughly with a wood floor cleaner. Sand the floor to remove the original finish. Stain the floor and seal the wood. It is important to allow each coat of stain or sealant to dry completely before applying the next layer to decrease the likelihood of bubbles forming on the floor.