One of the many problems that you encounter with old flooring is that it's difficult to clean. No matter how much you clean, it still looks dirty. Well, that's natural because old flooring has accumulated debris and dirt.
However, you can salvage your century-old flooring by taking the right steps. After you follow the tips below, expect to have better-looking floors which are easier to clean:
1. Shine The Flooring With Natural Cleaners
Before anything else, you should clean and shine your flooring. Try to shine your flooring even before you scrape your floor. You can use chemicals from the stores or homemade floor cleaners.
With homemade cleaners, you can save money and make your cleaning irritant-free. Whatever your flooring is, these mopping solution and tips can help you a lot:
- First, you must vacuum your floor so that no solid particles are left before mopping or scrubbing. You can buy the best budget vacuum cleaner available online to make the floor cleaning easy.
- Then, prepare your homemade cleaning solution. You'll need 5 to 10 drops of essential oil, 1/8 tsp of liquid dish soap, 1/4 cup of 70% isopropyl alcohol, two cups of warm water, and 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar.
- Mix all the ingredients and put them in a bucket or a spray bottle.
- After applying the solution on your floor, allow it to dry or wipe it with a mop. Don't rinse it.
This is an easy way to shine your floor with your homemade floor cleaner. When you shine your old flooring, it's easier to repair it.
2. Refinish Prefinished Flooring
When your flooring is prefinished hardwood, you can opt for refinishing it after cleaning and making it shine.
You need to sand screen your flooring. However, it's best to try it on a portion of your floor before doing it on the rest. A 6x6-in area is enough as a testing area on your wooden floor. Sand the testing area, wipe the residue away, and coat it with polyurethane.
Leave it for twenty-four hours. Try to scratch the floor by pressing down a coin firmly. But don't press it too hard.
If the polyurethane flakes off, then the new finish has not adhered properly because of the old finish. This means that you need to sand down the floor until it's bare wood to allow the new finish to stick.
On the other hand, if the polyurethane doesn’t scrape off, you won't have any issues recoating your floor.
You can opt for oil-modified urethanes. or oil-based polyurethanes, or water-borne urethanes. The oil-modified urethanes take much longer to dry up while the water-based urethanes dry up fast. A water-based urethane product is an option if you want to spread the finish more quickly. An oil-based urethane product is for slow-spreading and smoothing.
After the refinishing, your old flooring becomes easier to clean.
3. Wax It Again
When waxing your old flooring, you must choose the right wax. Don't apply paste wax on urethane-finished floors, vinyl, or no-wax floors. Use a traditional wax in a can for concrete, unfinished cork, true linoleum, and unvarnished hardwood floors.
If you use solid paste wax, moisten an old cotton cloth to prevent it from absorbing too much wax. Then, apply the wax on the surface. Lastly, buff the waxed surface to make it shine and remove its cloudy appearance.
For temporary wax, you can opt for a liquid wax or oil. Use this wax on unfinished cork, linoleum, or unvarnished hardwood. Liquid wax is more natural to apply than the paste wax, but it's not applicable on urethane-finished floors, vinyl, or no-wax floors. When you apply this, the solvent evaporates as the wax dries and it leaves the polish. Lastly, buff the floor to make it shine. You can use a terry cloth towel, electric polisher, or a clean towel for this purpose.
You can even use water-based silicone polishes on all types of floorings, including urethane-finished surfaces. However, you can't use water-based silicone polishes for linoleum, cork, or unsealed wood. This polish is long-lasting, and you can apply it in several thin coats. In this polish, you need to pour some on the surface of your floor and on your damp mop head. To avoid bubbles, apply it evenly. Like the previous wax application, buff it after it dries.
However, you should coat another polish on high-traffic areas, then repeat the process. Moreover, you should take care of the polish so that it can protect your flooring.
4. Apply Protective Sealant
If you've got stone flooring like soapstone, slate, travertine, or marble, then you may need to apply a protective sealant. Although these materials are exceptionally durable, some of them are porous. They quickly get stains and pits. Of course, you need to mop, clean, and let your floor dry for up to 12 hours before applying a sealant.
Keeping your floor dry and clean before applying sealants means removing all debris and contaminants that may negatively react with the sealant. If there are cracks and other grouts you need to repair, you should repair them before applying sealant.When applying the sealant, you need to do it generously. Then, dry it for up to 20 minutes and use a damp sponge to rub off any excess. Thereafter, let the floor dry before allowing foot traffic.
By applying a protective sealant, you are protecting the marble and other stone floors while making them easier to clean. If you’ve used a sealant, wiping off or mopping the floor should be your routine.
You must repair your flooring before you clean it. You should shine and clean your floor and you can use a home-made cleaning solution for this purpose. That way, all debris and unnecessary specks of dirt won't stick to your sealant, wax, or coating used for repair/maintenance. You can refinish your flooring with urethane to make your floor smoother. If your old floor is still in good condition, you can wax it. This is especially true for hardwood floors. That way, you can protect your hardwood floor from further damage and aging. For stone floorings, you can apply a protective sealant so that the surface doesn’t get damaged easily. Always choose the right sealant based on the type of stone flooring. By following such tips, you’ll make your floor look brand new while making it easier to clean.