Your wood floors take a beating on a daily basis, particularly if you have pets, children and an active household. As enduring and timeless as hardwoods appear, you do have to maintain them, like any other flooring. When you properly polish wood floors in your Raleigh area home, you keep them beautiful and resilient. Using the right products when polishing helps them retain their shine while reducing the appearance of imperfections.
The first step before you start to polish wood floors is to evaluate the finish. If yours feature a protective coating, such as urethane or other waterproof barrier, you can safely polish them. If you have unsealed wood floors or a tung oil finish, polish is not your solution. Instead, unsealed floors require wax.
Necessary Tools and Materials to Polish Wood Floors
To polish wood floors, you need:
- Sponge mop
- Hardwood floor cleaner
- Microfiber mop pad
- Wood floor polish
- Flathead mop
1. Test your wood floor finish.
To determine the type of finish on your wood floor, use a sharp knife blade to scrape a small amount of the finish from an unnoticeable area. If your scrapings do not include clear material but the finish smudges, your floors likely have a penetrating finish. You should not polish wood floors like these and instead need to wax them.
If your scrapings show clear material, the floor has a surface finish and you can polish them. But to be safe, you should test your polish on a hidden area before proceeding with the rest of your floors.
2. Clean your wood floors to remove dirt and dust.
Remove as much of your furniture and rugs from your room as you can. Then clean your wood floor using a broom and dustpan. You can also use a vacuum designed for hard flooring.
Next, mop using a quality wood floor cleaner, such as a professional one available from your wood flooring contractor. If you cannot locate commercial wood floor cleaning solution, you can make your own using a 1/4 cup of dish soap in one gallon of warm water. This process lifts grime and residual dust or dirt.
Rinse your floors with a clean, damp mop. Fully dry them using a soft and clean towel.
3. Polish wood floors for a beautiful shine.
Starting in a back corner of your room, work toward an exit to avoid polishing yourself into a corner. Pour a small amount of wood floor polish directly onto the floor in an "S" shape. Work this polish into the wood using a flathead mop in back and forth motions with the grain of the wood. Smooth air bubbles as they appear.
Continue this process in square sections of about five feet wide. Working in small sections makes it easier to maintain control over the polish before it dries. Remember that applying thin layers enables faster drying. You can apply multiple coats, if desired.
As you work, remember to avoid getting polish on your drywall or baseboards. It can stain these areas.
4. Wait one day before putting the room back together.
Avoid allowing any light traffic through the room for about one hour after you polish wood floors. After one day, you can move furniture and other items back into place. It is also safe to resume normal use after one day. It is important to not slide or drag items across the floor, however. This can scratch the polish and the wood beneath it.
5. Protect your floors to keep them looking great.
To keep your floors looking fresh and great, maintain them properly. This maintenance starts with placing floor mats or rugs at entry points to prevent tracking of dirt from outside. If you have wood floors in a kitchen, laundry room or bathroom, place rugs at sinks and other wet areas to avoid getting water on the wood.
Vacuum or sweep your floors at least once weekly. You should deep clean them as in step two, above, at least monthly. Do not use DIY cleaning solutions that contain diluted ammonia or vinegar. Instead, use cleaners designed specifically for wood floors.
Polish wood floors twice per year or as needed. But you should not polish them more than four times each year.
For more information about how to polish wood floors and maintain them, talk to your wood flooring expert at Tri Point Flooring. You can call us at (919) 771-7542 or visit our Cary, NC headquarters at 102 Greenway Overlook.