s: I have an old house that I just bought and was hoping to refinish the floors before I moved in to make it look like new. I called a few flooring companies and the whole repainting was too expensive. They also said the floors had been refinished several times already and the process could not be done again and I would have to pay to replace it all. what can I do?
a: Wood floors, especially hardwoods like oak, are one of the most durable floors you can get. It is common to see homes over 100 years old with beautiful original wood floors. Wood floors require some extra care to help keep them looking new, and refinishing is usually what people think of first. This requires sanding down to the wood itself, and may remove up to 1/16 inch of wood. At some point, the top layer of wood is too thin to sand again.
Fortunately for many in your situation, there are options other than a complete repainting or replacement. Definitely not doing anything but cleaning. Being fine with some patina will make your floors more livable, especially if you have kids and pets. The rustic look is popular, but it all depends on what you like. It’s your home.
You mentioned that you want your floors to look like new, so let’s go back to what you discussed with the contractors. Did they mention a process called screening? This is a very light sanding to remove part of the finish, not the bottom of the wood itself. If most of your finishes are in good condition, the inspection can be done on just a portion of the flooring, such as a high-traffic pattern, or the entire floor. Then a new final coat is applied on top of that.
If your floors are badly damaged, buffing may help you extend the life and appearance of your existing floors until you can do something else. You will need to know what is currently on your floor. Whatever is there now may need to be removed. This can be done with cleaning products and techniques other than sanding, just be sure to use products designed for wood floors. Other products may be too harsh or may create residue or buildup. There are plenty of products to choose from, including liquid or paste waxes to silicone-based ones, each with their own benefits. Check out the “How to Wax Hardwood Floors” article on the Better Homes and Gardens website for more information.
The best part about polishing wood floors is that you can do it yourself. (Scarfing your floors even lightly with anything more than a damp cloth or a very soft scrub brush is a very difficult DIY project.) From there, keep floors clean by vacuuming and light mopping with water only or a product designed for wood. Floors. Polish again as necessary for a great looking hardwood floor.
Do you have a design dilemma? Jennifer Adams is an award-winning designer, television personality, and book author “Bringing Love Home: Change Your Environment. Change Your Life.” And the “How Far Can You Fly – 8 Powers To Lift You To Your Full Potential.” Send your questions to[email protected]Or for more design ideas, visit Jennifer’s blog on her website atwww.jenniferadams.com.