Prefinished hardwood floors are a great choice for homeowners who want to enjoy the natural beauty and durability of wood without the hassle of sanding, staining and sealing. They come with a factory-applied finish that protects them from scratches, stains and wear. They also come in a variety of colors, textures and species so that you can find the perfect match for your style and decor. In this article, you will learn how to clean prefinished hardwood floors and keep them always new and shiny.
What is Prefinished Hardwood?
Prefinished hardwood is a type of hardwood flooring that comes with a stain and a sealant already applied in a factory before installation. It can be made from any hardwood species, such as oak, maple, hickory or walnut.
Prefinished hardwood often has a super-hard aluminum oxide coating that makes it durable and scratch-resistant. Prefinished hardwood has some benefits over unfinished hardwood, such as easier and faster installation, consistent and uniform finish, less odor and fumes, and more variety of colors, textures and styles.
However, this ultra-resistant material also has some drawbacks, such as higher cost, beveled edges, harder refinishing, and less customization.
What are the pros and cons of prefinished hardwood floors?
- Prefinished hardwood floors have some advantages and disadvantages compared to unfinished hardwood floors.
Some of the pros are:
- They are easier and faster to install, as they don’t require sanding, staining and sealing on site.
- They have a consistent and uniform finish that is resistant to scratches, stains and moisture.
- They have less odor and fumes during installation, as they are cured in a factory with controlled conditions.
- They have a wider range of colors, textures and styles to choose from
Some of the cons are:
- They are more expensive than unfinished hardwood floors, as they have a higher upfront cost.
- They have beveled edges that can create gaps and grooves that can trap dirt and dust.
- They are harder to refinish than unfinished hardwood floors, as they require more sanding and skill to remove the old finish.
- They are less customizable than unfinished hardwood floors, as they can’t be stained or sealed to your preference.
How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors And Make Them Shine Like New?
But just because prefinished hardwood floors are easier to install and maintain than unfinished ones, it doesn’t mean you can neglect them. Prefinished hardwood floors still need regular cleaning and care to keep them looking their best. Here are some tips and tricks on how to clean prefinished hardwood floors and keep them shining like new.
What You Need to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors
Before you start cleaning your prefinished hardwood floors, you need to gather some essential tools and products. Here’s what you need:
- A vacuum cleaner with a soft-bristle attachment or a microfiber dust mop
- A spray bottle filled with water or a hardwood floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer
- A microfiber cloth or a mop with a microfiber pad
- A soft cloth or a towel
How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors
You can follow these steps to clean your prefinished hardwood floors:
- Vacuum or dust mop your floors regularly to remove dust, dirt, pet hair and other debris that can scratch or dull the finish. Avoid using a broom or a vacuum with a beater bar, as they can damage the surface of your floors.
- Spray a small area of your floor with water or hardwood floor cleaner. Don’t use too much liquid, as it can cause warping or discoloration. Avoid using vinegar, ammonia, bleach or other harsh chemicals, as they can strip or damage the finish.
- Wipe the sprayed area with a microfiber cloth or mop in the direction of the wood grain. Rinse and wring out the cloth or mop frequently to avoid spreading dirt or leaving streaks.
- Dry the cleaned area with a soft cloth or a towel. Don’t leave any moisture on your floors, as it can cause mold or mildew growth.
- Repeat steps 2 to 4 until you have cleaned the entire floor.
How to Maintain Prefinished Hardwood Floors
Besides regular cleaning, there are some other things you can do to maintain your prefinished hardwood floors and extend their lifespan. Here are some tips:
- Use mats or rugs at the entrances of your home to prevent dirt and grit from being tracked onto your floors.
- Use felt pads under the legs of your furniture to prevent scratches or dents.
- Avoid dragging heavy objects across your floors, as they can cause gouges or scuffs.
- Avoid wearing high heels, cleats or other shoes that can damage your floors.
- Keep your pets’ nails trimmed to prevent scratches.
- Use humidifiers or dehumidifiers to maintain a stable humidity level in your home, as extreme changes in moisture can cause your floors to expand or contract.
- Avoid exposing your floors to direct sunlight, as it can cause fading or discoloration. Use curtains, blinds or shades to protect your floors from UV rays.
- Refrain from using wax, polish or oil on your prefinished hardwood floors, as they can interfere with the finish or make your floors slippery.
Refinishing Prefinished Hardwood Floors
If you have prefinished hardwood floors that are worn, scratched or faded, you may wonder if you can refinish them to restore their original beauty. The answer depends on whether your floors are solid or engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished, while most engineered hardwood floors cannot.
Refinishing prefinished hardwood floors is similar to refinishing unfinished ones, but it requires more care and skill. Prefinished floors have a factory-applied coating that is harder and thicker than a site-finished one, so it takes more time and effort to remove it. Prefinished floors also have beveled edges that can trap dirt and make sanding uneven.
To refinish prefinished hardwood floors, you will need a power sander, a hand sander, a detail sander, sandpaper of different grits, a vacuum, a stain or sealer, a brush and a cloth. You will also need to protect yourself and your home from dust and fumes by wearing safety gear and covering vents, windows and doors with plastic.
The steps for refinishing prefinished hardwood floors:
- Vacuum or dust mop the floor to remove any loose dirt or debris.
- Sand the floor with a power sander and coarse sandpaper (40-grit) to remove the old finish. Move the sander along the grain of the wood and overlap each pass slightly. Avoid staying in one spot for too long or applying too much pressure, as this can damage the wood.
- Sand the edges of the floor with a hand sander and the corners with a detail sander. Use the same grit as before and follow the same direction as the power sander.
- Vacuum the floor thoroughly to remove all the dust. Wipe it with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
- Repeat steps 2 to 4 with finer sandpaper (60-grit, 80-grit and 100-grit) until the floor is smooth and even.
- Apply your chosen stain or sealer with a brush or a cloth, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Work in small sections and wipe off any excess product with a clean cloth. Let the stain or sealer dry completely before applying another coat if needed.
- Buff the floor with a fine-grit sandpaper (120-grit or higher) to smooth out any imperfections and create a uniform sheen.
- Vacuum and wipe the floor again to remove any dust or debris.
- Enjoy your newly refinished prefinished hardwood floors!
Refinishing prefinished hardwood floors can be a challenging but rewarding DIY project that can save you money and enhance the look of your home. For more information on how to refinish prefinished hardwood floors, visit The Flooring Girl, Lowe’s or This Old House.
The Best Cleaning Products For Prefinished Hardwood Floors
Prefinished hardwood floors are a beautiful and durable option for your home, but they can be tricky to clean without damaging them. The best cleaning products for prefinished hardwood floors are those that are mild and non-abrasive. They should also be designed specifically for hardwood floors, as harsh chemicals or cleaners can damage the finish.
Some of the best cleaning products you can use:
- Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner is a mild, non-abrasive cleaner that is specifically designed for hardwood floors. It is effective at removing dirt, dust, and grime without damaging the finish.
- Murphy Oil Soap is a natural cleaner that is safe to use on all types of wood, including prefinished hardwood floors. It is effective at removing dirt and grime without leaving a residue.
- Thrive Natural Floor Cleaner is another natural cleaner that is safe to use on prefinished hardwood floors. It is made with plant-based ingredients and is free of harsh chemicals.
- Method Hardwood Floor Cleaner is a commercial-grade cleaner that is effective at removing dirt, dust, and grime from prefinished hardwood floors. It is also safe for use around children and pets.
- Woodie’s Floor Cleaner is a concentrated cleaner that is designed to be diluted with water. It is effective at removing dirt, dust, and grime from prefinished hardwood floors without damaging the finish.
When choosing a cleaning product for them, I strongly recommend reading the label carefully and following the directions. You should also test the cleaner in an inconspicuous area of the floor before using it on the entire surface.
Tips for cleaning prefinished hardwood floors:
- Sweep or vacuum your floors regularly to remove dirt and dust.
- Mop your floors once a week with a mild cleaner and a damp mop.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.
- If you spill something on your floor, clean it up immediately.
- Polish your floors regularly to protect the finish.
In addition to the cleaning products mentioned above, you may also want to invest in a few other items to help you keep your prefinished hardwood floors clean and looking their best. These items include:
- A microfiber mop: Microfiber mops are gentle on hardwood floors and do not leave behind any streaks or residue.
- A soft-bristled broom: A soft-bristled broom is helpful for sweeping up dirt and dust from corners and crevices.
- A floor buffer: A floor buffer can be used to polish your floors and remove any minor scratches or blemishes.
- A floor wax: Floor wax can be applied to your floors to protect them from dirt, dust, and scratches.
Making the prefinished hardwood floors scratch resistant
Prefinished hardwood floors are designed to be scratch-resistant, but they are not scratch-proof. Over time, they may develop scratches from normal wear and tear, especially in high-traffic areas or if you have pets or furniture that can damage the surface.
To make your prefinished hardwood floors more scratch-resistant, you can take some preventive measures, such as:
There are several ways to protect and prevent scratches from appearing on your prefinished hardwood floors:
- Use area rugs in high-traffic areas like entryways and hallways to reduce wear and tear caused by foot traffic.
- Make sure to use non-stick pads underneath the rugs to minimize movement and scratches.
Use floor mats near doors and other entry points to catch dirt and debris before they have a chance to damage the wood.
- Regularly vacuum and wipe down these mats to remove any loose particles.
- Place felt pads on the bottoms of furniture legs to cushion them against the hardwood surface. This helps to distribute weight more evenly and prevents deep indentations and gouges from forming over time.
- Avoid using heavy furniture without proper support, as this can cause indentations and scratches. Consider adding floor joists beneath particularly heavy pieces or opt for lighter-weight alternatives if possible.
- Regular maintenance such as dust mopping, sweeping, and light scrubbing can go a long way towards preserving your hardwood floors’ appearance.
- Make sure to follow manufacturer recommendations regarding cleaning products and techniques to avoid damaging the finish.
- Use mats or rugs at the entrances of your home to trap dirt and grit that can scratch your floors.
- Use felt pads under the legs of your furniture to prevent dents and scuffs.
- Avoid dragging heavy objects across your floors or wearing shoes that can damage them, such as high heels or cleats.
- Trim your pets’ nails regularly to avoid scratches.
- Sweep or vacuum your floors frequently to remove dust and debris that can dull the finish.
If your prefinished hardwood floors do get scratched, you may be able to repair them depending on the severity and depth of the scratch. For minor scratches, you can use a touch-up kit or a stain marker that matches the color of your floor. For deeper scratches, you may need to sand and refinish the affected area or replace the damaged plank.
Prefinished hardwood floors are a popular and practical choice for many homeowners who want to enjoy the beauty and durability of wood without the hassle of sanding, staining and sealing. However, prefinished hardwood floors are not immune to wear and tear, and they may need refinishing overtime to restore their original luster and color.
Refinishing prefinished hardwood floors is a doable DIY project if you have solid hardwood floors and the right tools and products. You will need to sand the floor with different grits of sandpaper, apply a stain or sealer of your choice, and buff the floor to create a smooth and shiny finish. You will also need to protect yourself and your home from dust and fumes by wearing safety gear and covering vents, windows and doors with plastic.
Refinishing prefinished hardwood floors can be a challenging but rewarding DIY project that can save you money and enhance the look of your home. If you follow the steps in this article, you can achieve a professional-looking result that will last for years. However, if you have engineered hardwood floors or if you are not confident in your abilities, it may be better to hire a professional.
Can I refinish prefinished hardwood floors myself?
Yes, you can refinish prefinished hardwood floors yourself if you have solid hardwood floors, the right tools and products, and some patience and skill. However, if you have engineered hardwood floors or if you are not confident in your abilities, it may be better to hire a professional.
How long does it take to refinish prefinished hardwood floors?
The time it takes to refinish prefinished hardwood floors depends on the size and condition of your floors, the number of coats of stain or sealer you apply, and the drying time of the products. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few days to a week or more.
How often do I need to refinish prefinished hardwood floors?
The frequency of refinishing prefinished hardwood floors depends on how well you maintain them, how much traffic they get, and your personal preference. Generally, prefinished hardwood floors can last for 10 to 20 years or more before they need refinishing. To extend their lifespan, you should clean them regularly, protect them from scratches and moisture, and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools on them.
How much does it cost to refinish prefinished hardwood floors?
The cost to refinish prefinished hardwood floors depends on several factors, such as the size and condition of your floors, the type and quality of the stain or sealer, and the labor rates in your area. On average, you can expect to pay between $3 and $8 per square foot for refinishing prefinished hardwood floors. If you do it yourself, you can save on labor costs, but you will need to rent or buy the tools and products, which can cost between $200 and $600.
How long do prefinished hardwood floors last?
Prefinished hardwood floors can last for decades with proper care and maintenance. The lifespan of prefinished hardwood floors depends on the quality and thickness of the wood, the durability and wear layer of the finish, and the amount of traffic and wear they receive. Generally, prefinished hardwood floors can last for 10 to 20 years or more before they need refinishing and up to 50 years or more before they need replacing.
What is hardwood flooring?
Hardwood flooring is a type of flooring that is made from solid wood planks or strips that are cut from trees. Hardwood flooring can add warmth, beauty and value to any home, as it comes in a variety of species, colors, grains and patterns.
Hardwood flooring can also be sanded and refinished multiple times to restore its original appearance or change its style. Flooring Hardwood is a trusted brand of hardwood flooring that offers high-quality products and services for your flooring needs.
Flooring hardwood has a wide selection of hardwood species, such as oak, maple, hickory, walnut and more. Flooring hardwood also provides professional installation, refinishing and repair of hardwood flooring. Hardwood for the floor is a term that refers to the use of hardwood as a flooring material.
Hardwood for floors is a popular choice for many homeowners who want to enjoy the natural beauty and durability of wood in their homes. hardwood for floor can also enhance the comfort, style and value of your home.