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Home / Solutions / A How-To Guide: Refreshing Your Hardwood Floors

A How-To Guide: Refreshing Your Hardwood Floors

Cleaning wooden floor with a mop 

Hardwood flooring offers a beautiful style to our homes. But after some time, they begin to appear scuffed and dull, due to everyday use and foot traffic. Weather, and all the ice, dirt and snow that gets tracked inside, can also ruin the sheen of hardwood floors, making them appear a bit lackluster.  

So other than the daily maintenance, how can you get your hardwood flooring to look as good as new? From adding a fresh topcoat to running a buffer across your floors, here are a few easy steps and extra tips for refreshing your hardwood floors. 

Steps for Refreshing Your Hardwood Floors 

Clean Your Hardwood Floors

One of the easiest steps you can take to refresh your hardwood floors is to give them a thorough cleaning. To reach every last corner, it’s best to empty the room completely of any furniture and rugs. When doing so, take precautions not to drag items across the hardwood, lifting them instead. Even if the furniture piece seems light, over time, it may dull the hardwood finish.

Give your hardwood floors a vacuum and clean them with a cleaner formulated specifically for hardwood, such as Bona hardwood floor cleaner. Damp mopping or the use of water is not recommended and over time will ruin the finish of your hardwood. 

Apply a Fresh Topcoat

When your hardwood floors appear dull and routine cleanings just aren’t bringing back the sheen, it may be time to apply a fresh topcoat or finish. 

If hardwood floors are stained, simply remove the stain with extra-fine steel wool. After, wipe away any particles from sanding the area and then reapply the original finish with a fine brush. Before it dries, be sure to wipe away the excess finish. Once the topcoat finish dries, buff it with a soft cloth.  Keep in mind this will eliminate any protective finishes that were factory applied.

Buff and Polish Your Hardwood Floors

High Gloss by Somerset

High Gloss by Somerset

Another method for refreshing your hardwood floors is to give them a buff and polish. Before you consider resanding, it’s worth the effort to see if this simple method can bring life back into your floors. If you have hardwood floors throughout a large home, investing in your own buffer machine and pads could be more cost-effective. However, if you’re a homeowner who just needs to buff a few rooms of hardwood, you’re better off hiring a professional. Another alternative is a buffer machine rental from a small tool rental outlet. 

Before you buff your floors, it’s essential to ensure your floors are clean. Otherwise, the buffer’s rotary can collect dirt and debris, potentially scuffing up your hardwoods instead of buffing them. 

Choose the correct polish for the desired result, whether it’s a high gloss or matte finish. Also, be sure to ask for a recommendation from your hardwood flooring supplier so they can steer you in the right direction. Apply polish to your hardwood floors bit by bit, working it over with the buffer in small circular motions and evenly throughout the room. Keep in mind that any of these processes may remove factory-applied finishes and your finish warranty from the manufacturer will become void.

Sand and Refinish Your Hardwood Floors

open jar of brown paint 

If you’re still not satisfied with a fresh buff and polish, you’ll have to take it to the next level with a sanding and refinish. However, it’s worth noting that fully sanding and refinishing your hardwood floors adds a new level of complexity so it’s best to try and exhaust your other options first! On the other hand, it assures your hardwood floors will be completely refreshed and looking good as new. 

Of course, you’ll need to hire a professional to sand and refinish floors. This is not a DIY project that you can accomplish in a weekend. A professional will also be able to tell if your engineered wood flooring has a thick enough top layer to sand.   

Keep Your Hardwood Floors Looking Fresh

Refreshing your hardwood floors does take some time and effort. Once you have them polished with a nice sheen and natural glow, take some preventative measures to keep them looking that way.   

  • Maintain the Temperature Settings–As a natural product, hardwood floors need to acclimate before installation. But even after, it helps to maintain your home’s temperature. 

  • Use Furniture Pads and Floor Protectors–Add furniture pads or rubber guards to furniture to prevent light scuffs that could wear away the floor’s shine over time. Even during moves or rearranging, use floor protectors to prevent deep gouges, scratches and dents.

  • Wipe Shoes–Foot traffic tracks in lots of dirt and debris, so place a mat by the door to wipe shoes or designate a place to take them off completely.  

Want to replace your outdated hardwood floors entirely? Find your perfect floor with our Floor Genius Quiz and be sure to check out our virtual flooring showroom

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Twenty & Oak Experts
Twenty & Oak Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast. 
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