finish: is it wax or is it poly?

Old 08-13-01, 09:43 AM
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We've just bought a new house and it has hardwoods throughout; nice solid oak floors. My question is concerning the finish. I'm not sure whether they were finished with a urethane-based finish or if a wax finish was used. (The house is only 6-8 years old.) I figure it's a satin urethane, but was wondering if there is an easy way to determine this (I wouldn't want to try to touch up some small spots with poly if the existing finish is wax.)


Old 08-17-01, 10:07 PM
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Floor finish?

Polyurethane finishes, which are so popular these days, form a protective layer that looks like clear plastic on top of the wood. Penetrating finishes are absorbed into the wood fibers. These tend to be oils, most often with wax applied on the surface, and they have had matte finish. When you rub your hand over the surface, you can feel the wood grain. The National Hardwood Organization says that if you are unsure of your finish that you can test in an inconspicuous place: a urethane finish will bubble when you apply a small amount of paint remover to the floor's surface and a penetrating finish will not. Let us know what type of finish you have. If you have a satin urethane finish, all you need to do is run the dust mop at least once a week (more often if necessary in high traffic areas). If you vacuum, use brush attachment and do not use beater bars which can damage the floor. Damp mop occasionally with white vinegar/water solution (1/4 cup/gallon of water) or use manufacturer's recommended cleaner for prefinished hardwood or a product recommended for poly finishes. If you have a penetrating sealer and wax finish, then you need to wax with a paste wax recommended for hardwood floors and buff. Let us know what type of floor you have and what you plan to do to maintain them.
Old 08-20-01, 01:46 PM
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Thanks twelvepole,

We move in in about 10 days, so I'll check and let you know. I think it's just satin poly, but my wife wanted me to check to make sure. (She's gotten used to the high gloss poly finish in our old house, methinks.) I'll let you know what I find.


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