Tips to revitalize floors instead of replacing them

July 28, 2015

With home-owning comes cleaning and repairing floors. If your home is new or newly renovated, perhaps there was choosing and/or installing floors. Despite careful choosing and proper care, floors do still dull — here are a few ways to brighten up your floors.

Tips to revitalize floors instead of replacing them

Bring brightness back to marble

  • To clean marble, just add a couple of squirts of mild dishwashing liquid soap to a bucket, and fill with warm water.
  • Frequent washing over time will actually brighten a marble floor as the floor absorbs oils from the soap. Don't use wax on marble.

Know your finish before rejuvenating wood floors

  • Floors installed or last refinished before the mid-1960s are most likely coated with varnish or shellac.
  • These finishes were often waxed and require different care than a modern polyurethane finish, which should never be waxed.
  • You can tell one finish from the other by scratching the surface with a coin in an inconspicuous place. If the finish flakes, it is probably shellac or varnish.
  • If the finish doesn't flake, it is probably polyurethane. To check for wax, put a couple of drops of water on the floor.
  • Wait 10 minutes. If white spots appear under the water, the floor has been waxed.If the floor is varnished or shellacked, give it new lustre with a solvent-based liquid wax.
  • The solvent will dissolve and remove most of the old wax, along with the dirt embedded with it. You'll be left with a thin protective coat of new wax.
  • Polyurethane is tough stuff and doesn't need additional protection. But you can restore the shine by rubbing with a cloth containing a little furniture oil.
  • Read the label to make sure that the furniture oil doesn't contain any wax. Be sure to use just a little — too much will attract dirt and can turn your floor into a skating rink.

Paint old linoleum

  • Pulling up old linoleum that's glued down is a real drag. Maybe you don't have to. If the linoleum is old and dingy but not worn through, you can give it a new life with paint.
  • Keep in mind, we are talking about real old-fashioned linoleum here — paint won't stick to vinyl-sheet flooring.
  • First put on a dust mask, and lightly abrade the surface using 80-grit sandpaper in a rotary sander.
  • Then paint the floor with enamel floor paint. (Don't do this if there is any possibility that the linoleum contains asbestos.
  • Abraded asbestos will become an airborne health hazard.) You can use a brush or a roller depending on the texture you want.
  • Finish up with a couple of coats of polyurethane, and your "new" floor will last for years.
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