Restoring Wood Floors

Restoring wood floors can be tricky. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, make sure you do research before trying to do something yourself. If the task is just too much, its best to hire a professional with experience in the industry. If you are going to try restoring wood floors in your home without a professional, there are some amazing tips below that will make your task easier.

Is Restoring Wood Floors Even Necessary?

It is possible that your floors may only need a good clean depending on past maintenance and what type of seal is on your floor. First you should try sweeping with a microfiber dust mop or the like. Make sure that you get all the edges and corners. If any food or dirt is left behind, it will make the floor look dingy when you mop. You can also use a hard floor vacuum intended for use on hard wood flooring. Make sure that you do not use a vacuum with brushes that will scratch the floor.

After the floor is swept or vacuumed well, it time to mop. Depending on your floor sealant, you can mop with a cleaner like Murphy’s Oil Soap or Bona. Make sure that you measure the chemical as stated in the instructions on the back of the bottle. Also be sure that you use a well wrung out mop. Never soak a wood floor with water. Always use a clean mop. Using a dirty or smelly mop will not give you the results that you are looking for.

When Restoring Wood Floors Is Mandatory

Q: My oak floors are covered in scratches. Do I have to sand down to bare wood to get rid of them?
—Susan Bankhead, Meridian, Idaho

A: Steve Dubuque of Hunt Hardwood Floors replies: Not necessarily. If the scratches don’t go all the way through to the wood, you can scuff-sand your floors with a buffer and apply a fresh coat or two of finish. The process is easier and less expensive than sanding down to bare wood and takes less time. In a few hours your floors will look as good as new.

The job requires using a buffer, which you can rent at a home center, and a vacuum to suck up dust. If you’ve never used a buffer before, practice in the middle of the room until you get a feel for how to maneuver it.

Once the finish is roughed up, I put on a water-based polyurethane, which can be recoated in 3 hours. Oil-based polys are cheaper, but each coat takes about 8 hours to dry. With either finish, I recommend a fresh coat every two years or whenever the floor looks worn. Stick to that routine and your floors will never wear out.


Restoring wood floors can be frustrating, but oh so worth it in the end if you know what you are doing. If you are tired of your floor looking dull, first call a cleaning professional. They may know how to clean it better than you do. If that doesn’t work, call a professional that is skilled at restoring wood floors.