There is nothing like the look of a beautiful hardwood floor and whether you have an old house with the original flooring or a newer house with hardwood floors, you need to maintain the finish to ensure that they will last for many years to come. There are many types of flooring and not all require the same cleaning treatments, so it is a good idea to identify what kind of sealant your floor has on it to know how to proceed with it’s maintenance.
- Acrylic Surface Sealed Hardwood Floor: acrylic urethanes, polyurethane, or polyacrylic sealants are very commonly used on modern hardwood floors. The acrylic sealer provides a very resistant seal to block surface stains and water damage, giving wood floors an easily maintained and relatively long-lasting seal.
- Oil Based Penetrating Hardwood Sealer: An oil-based wood floor sealer is different than acrylic because it penetrates into the grain of the wood and does not “sit” on the surface as much as acrylics do. Oil sealers are becoming less widely used and can be quite smelly when first applied. If you have a penetrating oil sealer, you will be able to tell by rubbing the surface with your finger. If you see a smudge then it most likely has been treated with an oil-based floor sealer (or a lacquer, varnish or shellack). But if you do not see a smudge, you most likely have an acrylic floor finish. Penetrating oil finishes will need to be regularly waxed with a liquid or paste wax and buffed for a final moisture resistant seal. But they will look beautiful!
- Surface Lacquer, Varnish or Shellack Floor Sealers: Many older floors may be sealed with one of these tried-and-true finishes. And unlike penetrating oil finishes, all of these solvent-based hardwood floor sealers are surface finishes and are not entirely resistant to moisture, water or spills and wear from use over time. They bring out the beautiful warmth of an old wood floor but may need to be reapplied to keep their beatiful patina.
Most hardwood floors can be kept clean by regularly sweeping, vacuuming with a soft bristle brush and dusting the surface regularly, but when they need a clean, follow these steps and remember that waxed floors should not be damp mopped: