Scuffed wood floors

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  #1  
Old 01-31-09, 08:24 AM
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Scuffed wood floors

The wood floors in my apt are badly scuffed, partly because they were not finished properly 15 years ago when I moved in and partly because they were cleaned (not by me) with too much water and soap. Given that my apt is filled with furniture and I'm a renter (I don't own this apt), I'm trying to determine my options for making the floors look better. I'm not afraid of some hard work and would be willing to invest in the help of a professional. Is there any way to stain the floors without sanding. I can't imagine where I would put the furniture if I had to sand the floor, but can move everything to one side to stain the floor in sections. I'd also prefer to use a 'green' stain solution to avoid harmful chemicals. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-31-09, 09:04 AM
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If you are a renter, do not make a financial investment in the property. Refinishing is expensive. It is no small task. And, it's messy.

Whether the floors are sanded and refinished or a chemical stripper is used, the furniture will have to be moved. With an apartment full of furniture and no place to put it, then the situation is problematic.

There is no way to stain the floors a different color without removing the floor finish and sanding down to raw wood. Only then can a different color stain be applied. There are polyshade products availble where color is mixed into the poly, but most internet forum posters report that these can be a bear with which to work. If poly floors are in otherwise good condition, most homeowners simply 'screen' lightly sand wood flooring finish and apply new.

Since you are renting and it is recommended that you not invest in improvements in the apartment, you can take some steps to make the floors look better. You can begin by cleaning the floors a section at a time with vinegar/water solution to remove all soap and cleaning residues, rinse, and buff dry with old towel. Using soap and other cleaners not recommended for floor finish can dull them over time. Over time in high traffic areas finish can dull from grit on shoes and failure to keep grit off floors with frequent dust mopping or vacuuming with brush attachment.

For the occasional scuff, you can buff with #0000 superfine steel wool to buff out the scuff. Buff along grain of wood.

Identification of type of finish is important to assure that the same type of finish is applied. Depending on age of floor finish, it is likely polyurethane finish. If a wax finish, you can simply rewax the floor to restore shine. Wax finishes should never be cleaned with water. Water spots can be buffed out with #0000 steel wool and wax, rubbing along grain of wood.

Cleaning Wood Floors-Maintaining Hardwood Floors & A Wood Floor Care Guide-Caring for Wood Floor Finishes

Although it is not recommended that surface finishes on wood floors be waxed or oiled or cleaned with products containing waxes or oils, some do go ahead and wax the floor to restore shine. There are products on the market that claim to restore shine. I can not attest to the success of the products, but you might want to check out Restor-a-Floor Miracle Restore-A-Floor 32oz. If using such a product, read and follow label directions carefully. The floor will have to be 'very' clean before application.

Keep in mind that you are renting. Major investments in rental property are not recommended. While such investments can provide immediate pleasure and pride in your rental home, there is no real return on the financial investment. The landlord reaps the profits from your investment. Too, if you make the apartment look too good, the landlord may raise the rent, as reported in some internet forum posts, if rate is not set in your rental contract.

You can chalk up the flaws in finish to the character and age of the apartment. Runners can be placed in high traffic areas. Area rugs can be used to anchor conversation area in living room and dining room table and chairs. Rugs can hide alot of flaws in flooring and floor finish, provide a big splash of color, and focus the eyes on the rugs rather than the floor.
 
  #3  
Old 01-31-09, 10:00 AM
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Clarification for solution for scuffed floors.

Twelvepole:

Thanks for your help. Can you clarify what you mean by "'screen' lightly sand wood flooring finish and apply new"?

If I lightly buff areas that are scuffed, will they require a finish? I know the floors were previously finished with polyurethane, but I think they only got one coat, which was not enough.

I've been using Murphy's Oil on the floors with Mop and Glow for wood floors. Do you have an opinion about these products?

Arbegie
 
  #4  
Old 01-31-09, 11:54 AM
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The term 'screen' when instructed to screen wood floors for new finish comes from the practice of using a piece of drywall screen beneath buffer to slightly rough up existing finish to provide 'tooth' for better adhesion of new finish.

Screening will dull finish and will require application of new finish. Buffing the occasional scuff with #0000 steel wool, if carefully done, can minimize the appearance of an isolated scuff, but it will not make the area shine. Most scuffs on finish surface from tennis shoes or shoe heels can be removed with an eraser or a little toothpaste. Scuffs are not the same as scrapes or scratches.

Murphy's Oil soap is NOT recommended for polyurethane finish despite claims to the contrary. Oils and products containing oils, whether petroleum or vegetable based, tend to dull and soften poly finish over time.

Mop N Glo. This is a no rinse floor cleaner that contains wax. Over time it builds up, dulls, scratches, and is a nightmare to get off the floor. As best as I can recall, it came out about the time of the no-wax vinyl flooring for mopping floors and to maintain shine. What consumers soon learned was that it built up and often yellowed on the vinyl and was a nightmare to strip. Mop N Glo is NOT recommended for wood floors. Neither is Orange Glo and lots of other orange whatever and other products that are irresponsibly marketed to consumers.

Unless the label specifically states 'safe for polyurethane finish,' you can't go by the 'safe for hardwood floors' or 'safe for all floor surfaces.' If you watch late night TV, you will see ads for all kinds of products for hardwood, including steam cleaners. Maybe they think the late night audience is not alert enough to be aware of the consequences of using these products. I know of no prefinished hardwood flooring manufacturer or hardwood flooring association that recommends any of these cleaning methods.

There are many internet forum posts wanting to know how to remove Mop N Glo and the white haze left on laminate and hardwood floors. As best as I can deduce from posters who respond, they tend to prefer using Simple Green to remove Mop N Glo. You need to remove the Mop N Glo before you can do anything. Every bit of it!

Forgive me for not thinking of it during my earlier post, but here's a link to Bona Kemi. Bona provides a line of wood care floor products that come highly recommended by the prefinished hardwood flooring industry. Bona Kemi, a Swedish company, has been around since 1919 producing hardwood floor care products. Bona Kemi knows! (I heard that somewhere.)

You will find helpful links and videos on Bona Kemi's website. Note: The Bona wood floor cleaner will not remove wax. It's a product for keeping the poly finish clean.

After removing your wax, you may find that the Bona Wood Floor Polish will be sufficient for giving you enough shine to make you happy in the areas not covered by furniture. Then, you can maintain with the Bona Kemi floor cleaner. Bona also has a refresher product. Bona's videos demonstrate the use of their products.

Floor Care - Bona
 
  #5  
Old 01-31-09, 12:06 PM
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Thank you. This is very helpful. I am very grateful.
 
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