Let’s start with the finish. It is important to determine whether the finish has worn off or if it is simply dirty. Look for signs of dullness, chips, scrapes and gouges when examining your floors. To determine if the finish has worn off, pour a small amount of water on the floor; we recommend no more than one to two tablespoons. If the water quickly soaks into the floor and leaves a dark stain, this is a clear indication the finish is worn. If the water takes a few minutes to soak into the wood and the wood darkens slightly, the finish is only partially worn. Finally, if the water beads on top of the floor, the finish is fine and your floor is sealed. Repeat this test in high, medium, and low traffic areas.
Now, we can move on to evaluating the condition of the wood. The wood may be damaged if the finish is completely worn. Note any stains, cuts, gouges, burns, holes, cracks or warped boards which may be evident. If the wood is truly damaged, you may need to repair or replace the wood prior to performing other maintenance such as more extensive cleaning or applying a maintenance coat.
Once you have determined the condition of your finish, it is important to discern the type of finish that is evident on the surface of your hardwoods. If your finish is in good condition, the care and maintenance methods are basically all the same; if your finish is in poor condition, however, the methodology varies; especially as it pertains to the removal of stains or finish restoration.
Next time we will discuss how to determine your hardwoods’ surface finish type and the recommended methods to maintain your finish.