Stripping wax off of a parquet floor is a relatively easy task. It will require some long and tedious work, but it is not complicated and can vastly improve the look of your wood floors. If your parquet floors are looking dull, then you may have a wax buildup. Try stripping the wax before you take the extra step of refinishing your wood.
Step 1- Determine the Type of Wax
The first thing you need to do is determine what kind of wax is on your floor. The way you can do this is to test a small inconspicuous area. Take a clean rag and apply the mineral spirits to the rag. Rub the rag on the floor. If the wax comes off immediately and the wood floor looks bare underneath it, paste wax was used to cover the floor. If the floor does not look bare, you probably have a polyurethane coating on top of the wood, and then wax on top of the poly. For this type of floor you can use a commercial wax stripper, such as IFT made by Basic Coatings. It will remove the wax without damaging the polyurethane coating underneath. This article will focus on removing the more common paste wax.
Step 2- Removing the Wax
First, you need to clean and mop the entire floor to give yourself a clean workspace. Make sure that you have proper ventilation for the area and are wearing gloves and eye protection. Then, you need to start in the furthest corner of the room and work in a small area of about 24 square inches. Pour the odorless mineral spirit over the area and using the #3 steel wool, rub the floor in the direction of the wood grain. Replace the steel wool pads as they become covered in wax. As you are rubbing the floor with the steel wool, use a clean rag to wipe up the removed wax immediately. Continue this same process for each 24 inch square section of your entire floor. After you have finished the floor, look back over it and make sure that there are no stubborn sections of wax left. If there are, remove them by scrubbing the spot with the #3 steel wool pad again. Then you can sweep or vacuum all the wax pieces that remain on the floor.
Step 3- Aftercare
After you have finished removing the wax from the floor, you should let it dry and then re-coat with wax. If you follow a plan of stripping and waxing the parquet floor every year, you will not have to sand it down and refinish for at least 40 years. Some other tips to keep in mind includes never wet-mopping a wood floor, since the standing water can dull and discolor the wood. Prevent wax buildup by applying wax under furniture and in light traffic areas every other year. Also, take care to never slide furniture across wood flooring, since it will scratch and damage it.