How Hardwood Floors are Maintained: Beware of False Prophets

The phone calls follow a typical pattern.  The caller says their floors were refinished within the last 10 – 20 years.  They were having scratches or dulling and they tried to deal with the situation on their own.  They found products at hardware stores, building supply centers or worse, on the Internet that said everything they wanted to hear.  They wanted the quick fix.  The appearance does improve, briefly.  Then the reality starts setting in.  As the appearance of the floor deteriorates, the homeowner realizes they have backed themselves into a corner and now need professional advice.

Let’s be very clear about this – many products homeowners are dumping on the floors in these situations are not true wood floor finishes.

Why Quick Fixes Don’t Work

quick fix image

Quick fixes don’t work

They are maintenance products, acrylic waxes or a diluted version of some finish.  It may sound trivial but the difference is huge.

These maintenance products are not as durable or moisture resistant and few homeowners know this until it’s too late.  Scratches appear quickly and that is often followed by discoloration from casual contact with moisture.  If some of these products come in contact with the wood itself, you get very serious damage and discoloration.

That’s not the biggest problem.  Now you have to figure how to get this junk off your wood floors. That little tidbit is usually missing from the sales hype.  These maintenance products cannot be removed easily or inexpensively.  A total refinishing is often the only option.  So, what started off as a well-intentioned effort has backfired and your options are few and expensive.  In my opinion, most of these products are worthless and tacky looking.

How Wood Floors are Maintained: Cleaning and Recoating

What is the answer?  When you notice wear or scratching in the finish, talk to an experienced wood floor contractor.  Chances of getting honest and relevant feedback is better than believing the marketing hype that got you into this mess.  If you act in a timely manner, the best option is a Clean and Recoat.  This is a simple and inexpensive refurbishing that adds protection and extends the life of your floors.  Follow that with a preventive maintenance program, common sense and you will get much better service.

So stay away from the quick fix and rely on that age-old advice; if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.