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Do Hardwood Floors Need to be Waxed?

Do Hardwood Floors Need to be Waxed?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I am researching new types of flooring. I love the idea of installing real hardwood floor in my house but I’m worried about the upkeep. Do hardwood floors need to be waxed regularly? Is it a hard job that needs to be done by a professional or could I do it myself?
– Jeff L.

Dear Jeff,

Great question! Even though it seems like a straightforward maintenance concern, it’s not.

How is your floor surfaced? 

The first question you’ll need to ask yourself before worrying about whether or not you’ll need to wax or re-wax your hardwood is how your floor is surfaced. Polyurethane and other types of surface finishes should never be waxed.

To restore shine to these surfaces, you’ll need to have them re-coated. It’s hard to say how often you’ll need this done because it’s based on how much foot traffic your floors see. Check the floor’s manufacturer warranty care and maintenance guide for more information on how your floor is surfaced.

Are you buying waxed or penetrating-stain floors? 

If so, waxing will be something for you to consider in your to-do maintenance.

To simply clean stained or waxed floors, you need to dust or vacuum regularly. Sometimes a good buffing will also help keep the shine. When that fails, it might be time to re-wax your floors.

To wax your floors, apply the wax evenly over the hardwood. Make sure you follow your manufacturer’s instructions about which wax to use. Choosing a wax that is not recommended by the manufacturer could possibly lead to your warranty being voided. Once dry, buff your floors to the level of shine you want.

You’ll probably only need to do this once a year. If there is a lot of foot traffic, twice a year might be necessary.

A Word of Warning 

It is possible to wax your floors too often. Always try buffing your floors before buying and applying wax. If not, you could see wax build up where there is little to no foot traffic, such as under rugs or furniture. If your high-traffic areas need waxing, you can spot wax your floors to avoid this kind of excessive build up, but only when necessary.

Worst case scenario is you will have to strip off all of the old wax and reapply a fresh coat. This can be time consuming and costly depending on how bad the build up is.

Other Maintenance Tips 

Regular maintenance of any type of flooring is smart. For waxed hardwood floors, we suggest using a dry mop, broom or vacuum regularly.

If you have a stain or discoloration in one area, use a liquid cleaner specifically designed for wood flooring. Always follow your manufacturer’s instructions about which cleaners are appropriate to use. We recommend a liquid cleaner combined with a little bit of wax. Apply it using a cloth and rub gently to remove dirt or old wax. Then, wipe the floor clean, let it dry, and buff it.

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