Did you buy an older home because you fell in love with its character? Many homes built in previous decades or centuries feature details that often aren’t prevalent in new construction, such as Dutch doors, transom windows and even dumbwaiters or laundry chutes.
One of the most attractive features in many older homes are the hardwood floors. But years of wear and tear can leave them looking dull, scratched or dingy. If your home’s hardwood floors need a makeover, follow these steps to have them looking like new.
Sweep and repair
After emptying the room of all its furniture, give the floor a good sweep and vacuum to get rid of all the dirt and grit. This is also the best time to deal with repairs, such as sinking nail heads, filling in scratches or patching holes.
Clean with appropriate cleaner
Next, you’ll want to clean your floor with an appropriate cleaner, such as Murphy’s Oil Soap or Bona Floor Cleaner. It’s important not to use regular soap or harsh chemicals on your hardwood floor, as they can leave a residue or damage the wood with too much moisture. Let the floor dry.
Polish and seal
After the floor is dry, apply a thin layer of polish evenly around the room. The polish will help to moisturize the wood and leave it shiny. Polishes can be purchased with either a satin or glossy finish, depending on your tastes. Some floors benefit from a second coat; follow instructions on the label to determine how much time should elapse between applications. Be sure to give the floor plenty of time to dry before moving furniture back in – in some cases up to three days.
Buffing and waxing
Sometimes cleaning and polishing just doesn’t give your floor the love it needs to restore its luster, especially if it is already finished with wax or shellac. In this case, you can use a floor buffer to remove the top layer of finish off the floor. Buffers can be rented for around $50 a day, just be sure the buffer has a sanding screen so you don’t remove too much of the surface of the floor. Clean the dust and follow with a floor wax, which can be buffed to a shine once it dries.
When to call a professional
If none of the above techniques give you the results you desire, it may be time to refinish your hardwood floors. This technique requires more time and know-how, so even though you can rent a sander to do the job yourself, it might be best to hire a professional. Not only will they properly sand your floor, they will also re-stain and seal it, restoring your beautiful floors to their former glory, which, with the proper care, will last you for many years to come.
Nothing gives a home warmth and character quite like a well-cared for hardwood floor. It is worth the investment to refresh your floors; not only does it renew your home’s energy, it can even increase its value.