Sealing old hardwood floor

Old 11-19-22, 08:26 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 1
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Sealing old hardwood floor

The hardwood floor of my house is old. It is generally in good condition (still has stain) but in some rooms, the wood looks dry and lost its sheen. I am considering resealing the floor with clear polyurethane sealant. I did some research on the web and found out that I can't seal over a waxed floor. The wax needs to be removed first. I am not sure if this floor had wax before or poly. To find out if the floor is waxed, I used the recommended method of wiping the floor with mineral spirits. I got light gray spots on the rag. I wasn't sure if this meant that this is wax, so I proceeded with a more aggressive method - I sprayed a generous coat of mineral spirits on a closet floor, let it sit for 8 minutes, then scrubbed it with a steel wool pad. The result was that the closet floor now seems to be discolored, lighter and darker in certain areas. So it looks like this chemical was too abrasive and maybe removed the stain as well? I attached a photo showing the closet floor and the rag with the light gray spots I used earlier.

Another recommended method was to add a few drops of water and let them sit for 10 minutes, then wipe. If a white stain appears below the water, then the floor is waxed. I did that but there was no white stain.

Next, I experimented sanding another area of the floor and I got a yellow/gray powder out. Is this the wax or polyurethane coating?

Just wanted to figure out exactly what's on this floor before proceeding with the removal process before applying the sealant. If you have any tips, that would be appreciated.


Old 11-20-22, 03:54 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,619
Received 824 Upvotes on 722 Posts
Welcome to the forums!
I think you are ok to go ahead and apply your poly. The odds are the oak was finished with poly and not wax. Wax over poly is easier to remove than wax applied to bare wood.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: