Never Coat a Waxed Floor in Polyurethane
LESLIE: Number one asked question here at The Money Pit – flooring; and we’ve got John in New Jersey who’s doing some work at his money pit. What can we do for you?
JOHN: I’ve been in this house 25 years. I practically rebuilt it. I have hardwood floors that have always been finished with wax. I want to put polyurethane down but the guys who are supposed to know this stuff tell me that if I put polyurethane down the wax will come through.
TOM: They’re right and you have some very rare floors there, John. You’ve been doing it the way people have been doing it for 100 or more years; by using a floor wax on those floors. And if you do try to put – and I know there’s a lot of work for you because that’s just the way that it. If you do try to put urethane on top of that, it’s not going to hold. The only way you can do that is if you had the floor sanded. If you go down through that wax to raw wood, then you could use a urethane finish and it’ll stay up. But if you try to do anything less than that, it definitely will not stick and you’re going to have a big mess on your hands. So you have to decide how much of a commitment you want to make, John.
JOHN: What would you do if they were your floors?
TOM: I would continue to wax them if they’ve been done all those years. I’ll tell you what I would do to freshen them up. I would rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen. It’s sort of like one of those floor buffers you see the guys use in commercial buildings but you put a sanding screen under it and the sanding screen will just sand off just the upper sort of surface of that floor and then I would rebuff it with some new paste wax. That’s how I’d refinish it. But again, if you can do the paste wax, it’s not going to last as long as a urethane finish and you’re going to have to do it again from time to time is the price you pay for that look of hand-rubbed wood floors, which is just gorgeous.
JOHN: Well, it’s a colonial house, so I think I’ll stay with it. Thank you, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.