Waxed wood floor pictures (pic heavy)

fannerJanuary 26, 2011

This is a follow-up from discussion on the hardwood floor refinishing thread. I promised to post pictures after I waxed some of my floors, so here it is. The results are not dramatic, but I didn't want them to be. We couldn't be more thrilled with how they turned out! For a bit of background: We have lived in our house for 12+ years. We planned on "some day" having the floors stripped and refinished, but I honestly never *loved* the idea of pristine looking floors. Up against the "worn" look of the rest of the woodwork, and the fact that I love the color and texture of our floors, it just didn't feel right. Thanks to this board, and one much like it, I figured out that my floors were maintained by waxing for the last 105 years. So, to protect them from the serious wear they are showing, I decided to wax them again.

You can see in the pictures that there are some serious stain issues, especially in the dining room. The only real fix for these would be a complete sanding and possibly replacement of some of the boards. Not an option at this time, and since I am just covering them back up with an area rug, they do not bother me in the least.

So, here I will try to post before and after shots. Again, don't expect dramatic results, this is just to show how a good waxing and buffing will spruce up what there is to work with.

Dining room before: (Oak floor)


Entryway before: (more oak)

After: (sorry about the bright sun spot!)

Upstairs hallway before: (maple)

Hallway after:

I didn't get a before of this and am kicking myself now. This was by far the most dramatic change; the upstairs hall was very dull and scratched looking. Here is an after shot:

You can imagine what fun the kids are having sliding up and down this hallway (no slivers so far, thank goodness!)

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Your floors look very fine, indeed!

What kind of wax did you use? I have only tried Butcher's Bowling Alley Wax (a paste). How did you buff them?

Just so you know, though, your floors may not have been "just" waxed. It's likely they were either shellacked or varnished, and then waxed. You can tell which by seeing which solvent dissolves whatever is left ofthe finish. Shellac is soluble in alcohol (de-natured or grain kind). Varnish is not. BTW, these days "varnish" is almost always poly (whether water-based or not.) But before that varnish existed using other carriers and solvents.)


    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Thanks for the compliments. I used Bruce lite 'n natural liquid paste wax, then buffed with a rented Clark brand buffer. It was a heavy beast, but it did a great job. I will most likely invest in a small buffer of my own before my next job.

I tested the floors with both mineral spirits and dn/alcohol. The upstairs flooring was definitely shellaced, then waxed. Some day when I have lots of time and energy I would be willing to strip, re-shellac and then re-wax. I just did a few coats of shellac on my stair treads and I am thrilled with the outcome!
As for downstairs I am still undecided. It never did look like the denatured alcohol did anything, and the mineral spirits just brought up some of the old yellow wax. If there was shellac it is 100% gone. And they do not look to have been varnished. The floors in the Living room and parlor have been covered/protected with large area rugs for most likely their whole lives, by the look of them. And even there I don't see any evidence of shellac or varnish. Just deep golden floors. I only wish I could get all of the worn and exposed areas to look that good ~ but patina is fine with me too ;)

Thanks again for the feedback!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 2:55PM
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Thanks for sharing the photos. (love your baseboards by the way)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 4:48PM
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Great job!! And I love that you didn't poly the floors!!!

I'm going to leave mine as is also..after a good cleaning and waxing of course. If the wood scuffs or the dog's nails scratch it, so be it.....it will just add to the "story" of the house :) I do have a few rough areas that I'd like to sand lightly, just to eliminate the possibility of getting splinters (it is a bedroom area after all), but hopefully it won't take off much of the patina if I am really careful.

I know already that my mom and friends (who don't quite get the "old house" thing)...are going to wonder when I am going to sand, stain and poly my floors... some people just don't get it..that's why I love this forum so much! :)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 11:15PM
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Mrsrichards - they look fabulous! Like they seem they would look long, long ago. (Which is a compliment in houses this old).
Good point, about the reaction different app's have to various finishes, also - I'm going to make a note of that for my "flooring" file! Thanks Liriodendron. :-)
I was "mesmerized" by the flooring, schoolhouse had me going back to look at the baseboards, which I hadn't even glanced at before... They look like what mine would be - if nobody had painted them & removed all the bottom (bull-nose??) pieces!
Absolutely beautiful, and how sore your muscles must be! Totally worth it. :-)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:55AM
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Aww, thanks guys. Of the many blessing with this house one of the best is the fact that 98% of the woodwork has been left alone. There is some (crown?) molding at the ceilings in all of the upstairs that has been painted. And the kitchen floor was originally hardwoods, long ago coverd in possibly 2 layers of subfloor and vinyl. The floors have never had carpet glued or tacked down. I only wish we could have prevented the moisture damage/stains on the dining room floor.

@jiggreen - my mother in law (God love her!) probably thinks I am nuts for not wanting perfect looking floors. I also think no one believes that "just a good waxing" will protect them well enough. This has brought them through the last 105 years ~ we have lived here for 12 years and this is the first time I have done *anything* (besides swiffering!) with them. Seems like they were pretty well protected so far... And I don't think a poly finish would have prevented the black stains. And this is something that can be maintained another 100 years ~ without heavy sanding and re-finishing!

Ok, the soap box is caving in and I'm preaching to the choir. Thanks for listening ;) And I look forward to pictures of your refreshed floor! It is already breathing a sigh of relief.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 11:23AM
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