Anyone waxing wood floors anymore?

fannerDecember 4, 2010

I see there are several older posts regarding maintenance of waxed wood floors. I am looking for tips and advice. Our first floor is all Oak flooring and the second floor is all maple (all 100+ years old) and I have come to the conclusion that it is waxed with most likely no other finish underneath. They need some sprucing up where the carpet is not protecting it. Some posts I read look like it is recommended to try to buff out all of the old wax and start over and other advice I received was to just give the flooring a good cleaning and then re-wax.

Here are the questions that I have:

If just a good cleaning is necessary as preparation, what is a safe way to thouroughly clean a waxed wood floor?

If I need to remove the old wax, how?

What wax is recommended? It looks like there are paste waxes, waxes that claim to "clean and wax" at the same time and liquid waxes.

Do you just pour or smear(for the paste) it on and then what?

How often does the wax need to be re-applied, or is it as needed depending on the traffic in any given area?

Keep in mind that I live in small town USA and would prefer to use products that are readily available. If this is something I will be doing a few times a year, it would be nice to use products that I can get at the local hardware store. We do have a place that I can rent a buffer and pads from.

Any specifics would be greatly appreciated. I realize that techniques can be as individual as a finger print, but I can possibly combine ides if anyone out there has any. Thanks so much for your input!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My suggestions may not be applicable to your situation.

I have dark oak flooring from the 1970's that was supposedly factory-finished except that the finish wasn't very good. So I wax.

Try to remove the old wax with an oil-based solvent such as mineral spirits(? I forget what I used) or lacquer thinner. These are pretty bad, so make sure you have adequate ventilation. Your hardware store may have other suggestions. Just get on the floor with the solvent, paper towels, gloves, gentle scrub brush, and trash can. It's easier to control the amount of solvent and cleaning if you clean the floor manually. The paper towels indicate how much junk is left on the floor. Being close to the floor gives you a better idea of how much soil/sand/debris is left.

I used to use Johnson's paste wax, which was fine, except that the flooring has a very "rustic" texture which made removing excess wax impossible. The build-up eventually turned yellow. So now I use Bruce "liquid wax with cleaner". It doesn't last as long as paste wax, but the process doesn't take as long. Again, I just get down on the floors, pour and wipe to spread, wait a few minutes, and buff by hand with old terrycloth towels or old socks. I used to use a buffer, but it got too hard to handle as I got older. Plus, the areas next to the wall had to be buffed by hand anyway. Just put yourself in a Zen state.

Wax as needed. You can spot wax the areas with heavy traffic. Just don't wax too frequently. Once a year may be enough.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 7:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

*Thank-you* so much for the reply! I have read to use mineral spirits but honestly couldn't figure out exactly how to apply etc. I have wondered about hand applying vs using a machine. Our entire house, sans the kitchen and bathroom, will need to be done eventually.... but I think if I rented a buffer once to do the entire house once, I can probably get away with hand buffing spots from then on. There is a large radiator in every room to work around and under also, which I will have to do by hand.

I was also wondering about the liquid vs paste wax. I see our hardware store has both and figure originally they were done with paste. BUT, I'm sure the liquid is easier in the long run... perhaps I can use paste in the higher traffic areas? Do you think it might be more durable?

I prefer the hands and knees method for cleaning my kitchen floors, so I'm sure I will prefer that in the long run... I may have more specific questions to come ~ thanks again so much!!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 7:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you're using plain, untinted waxes, I see no reason not to mix. Theoretically, oil-based floor waxes should be compatible and thus the liquid should dissolve into the paste. Try your plan in one area and see what happens.

Forgot to mention that that you may need another "tool" when cleaning: toothpicks or small skewers, to dig out the crud between the wood strips or in the chinks.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is probably too late for your floors because I'm assuming you've already done them. I've got the same situation; 100 year old maple flooring. I discovered that under the wax finish on our floors was shellac. I've done a lot of research on shellac as of late and am in the process of stripping the old shellac and applying new shellac which I will then wax. You can tell if you have shellac floors by removing the wax with mineral spirits and then rubbing the floor with denatured alcohol, which dissolves the shellac.

If you find shellac and it's in good shape you're in luck because one of the wonders of shellac is that after removing all the wax you can re-coat shellac. The new shellac is suspended in denatured alcohol, so it will 'melt' the old shellac and the new and old will blend together seamlessly.

If you want further information feel free to email me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zinsser Shellac

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mother used to have the kids put on socks and slide on the floors to buff them! I was looking for non-toxic wax and found a recipe on google for some I could make.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 6:29AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
ANeed advice on installation of wood look porcelain tiles, Help!
Help! wood look porcelain tiles seem durable and a...
Has anyone ever used it? It's interlocking PVC tiles,...
Has anyone purchased from value floors direct?
Has anyone purchased flooring from value floors direct? I...
Any experience with BellaCera hardwood flooring and/or hickory wood?
We fell in love with a hickory hardwood in their line,...
Do your Karndean floors look like this?
I'm going to be posting pictures shortly to let you...
Sponsored Products
Couristan Everest Isfahan Oriental Rug - Black - 3791/6025-5.3X5.3OCTAGON
$129.00 | Hayneedle
Clavius Table Lamp
Indonesian Balinese Oversized Iron and Wood Floor Screen
$549.99 | Dot & Bo
Essentials Low Lint Bath Rug
Grandin Road
Uttermost 13849 Filiano Distressed Gold Leaf Wood Floor Mirror
Littman Bros Lighting
Grasshopper Task Table Lamp - Blue Gray - Greta Grossman, Gubi
$495.00 | HORNE
Ballard Classic Battery-Operated LED Pre-lit Garland
Ballard Designs
Brera F1 Floor Lamp
LBC Lighting
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™