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Wildcat

Hardwood floor looking tired

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I need suggestions for my hardwood floor. It's tired and needs a bit of help.

I've looked at a few cleaner/polish things and it seems like it might make a difference as to light/dark finish, so let me start by saying my floor is a honey oak color and is real wood, not laminate. It is 15 years old and we have pets (so light scratches). I don't know if it's coated with polyurethane but when it was installed, the lady said it was NOT poly but "something better" and I have long since forgotten what it was. It does not have that super glossy shine, but a nice, low-key finish that does reflect light with a minimal shine, if that makes sense.

My biggest problem is that I recently took up some area rugs (the 8'x10' kind) and there is a very obvious color variation where they were. I had those waffle type non-slip pads under them and I've since discovered that they are damaging to wood, even though I specifically bought ones that said "will not damage wood floors".

The products I've found that might help are Scott's Liquid Gold Floor Polish and Quick Shine Floor Finish. It looks like the Scott's is what I might try first but I thought I would come here to see what opinions you all have on either of these. Specifically, how the shine/finish has held up over months of walking, and washing/mopping. I keep reading about a foggy build up, etc, for some people.

I read a few reviews that mentioned trouble with using Bona afterward. I do use Bona to clean but can change that if it's an issue with either of these.

I hope someone has a few thoughts to toss my way on what I can do! The floors look great despite being 15 years old, except for the 'stains' where those rugs were. Ugh. They aren't horrible, but very noticeable and since we are wanting to sell the house next spring, that would be a big turn off to walk in the front door and see matching left-and-right rug stain marks.

So, help? Anyone?

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We have twenty year old warm honey oak wood flooring. We've lived here for a year. We thought it looked dull but didn't want to refinish it, so we tried Scott's Liquid Gold Floor Restore. We put it on about a year ago before our furniture was moved in, and I really liked it. It made the floors pretty and shiny. I was impressed that it worked better than I expected. A year later, and they still look better than before, although much of it has worn off. We need to redo it.

A couple of things -- You dampen the mop head, then squirt the product on the floor and spread it with the mop. It's a little tricky to tell whether you are getting an even coating, and when it's not even, you can see where you missed, once it dries. Or if you swirl the mop around, you can see some swirling in the finish. So it takes careful application. We also found that it doesn't take as much as the bottle says. We bought what we thought was enough for our square footage and have a bunch left over. We bought a couple of mop handles and some mop heads that we just used for that purpose (the mop heads are not like sponges but are more like thin microfiber -- they look like a Swiffer head but have a more textured surface).

It needed about eight hours to dry (whatever it says on the bottle), so we had to plan ahead of time about where to start and end, so that we could mop ourselves up to the staircase and then go upstairs for the night. We had to warn our kids not to come down in the middle of the night, and we locked up the cat.

It worked better than I thought it would. I would not expect it to cover over the faded areas that were under a rug, but it should make the floors look better over all.

Edited by Storygirl
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If it's "something better", is it swedish? 

 

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The color variation is due to exposure to light.  Almost impossible to avoid.    The light areas will darken,  but might never be the same color as the rest of the floor short of refinishing it. 

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Wood darkens when you expose it to UV light.  The only thing that will even out the color variation is sanding and refinishing. You can stain it so it's all dark, but sanding will remove the darkened spots and even it out.

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When you are ready to sell, can you put the rugs back down? Then you can write that the wood is faded on the disclosure sheet.

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Quick Shine is my favorite product to make my floors look great.  Clean your floors really, really well. Pick up as much you can off the floor. I like to apply two to three coats so it lasts. The last time I applied it, I used a microfiber towel wrapped around a sponge mop. My floors looked amazing. My realator asked if we had them refinished and even the photographer asked how I got them so shiny.  (I used Bona as well, not as shiny)

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16 hours ago, Storygirl said:

We have twenty year old warm honey oak wood flooring. We've lived here for a year. We thought it looked dull but didn't want to refinish it, so we tried Scott's Liquid Gold Floor Restore. We put it on about a year ago before our furniture was moved in, and I really liked it. It made the floors pretty and shiny. I was impressed that it worked better than I expected. A year later, and they still look better than before, although much of it has worn off. We need to redo it.

A couple of things -- You dampen the mop head, then squirt the product on the floor and spread it with the mop. It's a little tricky to tell whether you are getting an even coating, and when it's not even, you can see where you missed, once it dries. Or if you swirl the mop around, you can see some swirling in the finish. So it takes careful application. We also found that it doesn't take as much as the bottle says. We bought what we thought was enough for our square footage and have a bunch left over. We bought a couple of mop handles and some mop heads that we just used for that purpose (the mop heads are not like sponges but are more like thin microfiber -- they look like a Swiffer head but have a more textured surface).

It needed about eight hours to dry (whatever it says on the bottle), so we had to plan ahead of time about where to start and end, so that we could mop ourselves up to the staircase and then go upstairs for the night. We had to warn our kids not to come down in the middle of the night, and we locked up the cat.

It worked better than I thought it would. I would not expect it to cover over the faded areas that were under a rug, but it should make the floors look better over all.

Thanks for the how-to and what to watch for.  I'm thinking I might try it once all of the furniture is out of the worst room (we're selling most of it in a few months) and give it a shot. At this point, it might have to be refinished anyway, so what can it hurt to try?

15 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

If it's "something better", is it swedish? 

 

The product? I have no idea. The only thing I remember is there was a blue label on the can and that it most likely came from a flooring store because it was a family-owned store and she was the owner's daughter. Not helpful and I've been annoyed for years that I forgot within minutes of the lady telling me what it was. I'm not familiar enough with finishes to be able to tell poly from whatever. Ugh. I wonder if a flooring person would be able to tell just by looking at it? Hmm....

15 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

The color variation is due to exposure to light.  Almost impossible to avoid.    The light areas will darken,  but might never be the same color as the rest of the floor short of refinishing it. 

See, that's why I'm so confused. The floor that has been exposed is the same color it always was and still matched the rest of the downstairs, where the dark part is where the rug was, so the uncovered floor is the same color it always has been, but where the rug was is darker. I'm thinking it's a chemical reaction to that darned non-skid padding.

12 hours ago, WendyAndMilo said:

Yeah nothing store-bought is going to fix the color variation.

Definitely not what I hoped to hear, and definitely not unexpected to hear. Thanks for the brutal honesty. 🤣

11 hours ago, Katy said:

Wood darkens when you expose it to UV light.  The only thing that will even out the color variation is sanding and refinishing. You can stain it so it's all dark, but sanding will remove the darkened spots and even it out.

Yeah, that's what I feared. I really, really don't want to refinish. Blurgh!

9 hours ago, Storygirl said:

When you are ready to sell, can you put the rugs back down? Then you can write that the wood is faded on the disclosure sheet.

We'll be completely out so it would look odd, I think to have rooms with rugs in it. On the other hand, I will keep them, though, in case the realtor wants to stage, so that's actually a good thought.

9 hours ago, lmrich said:

Quick Shine is my favorite product to make my floors look great.  Clean your floors really, really well. Pick up as much you can off the floor. I like to apply two to three coats so it lasts. The last time I applied it, I used a microfiber towel wrapped around a sponge mop. My floors looked amazing. My realator asked if we had them refinished and even the photographer asked how I got them so shiny.  (I used Bona as well, not as shiny)

Do you think it might help lessen the appearance of the fading/darkening? The darned thing looks completely normal when freshly mopped and still wet. It's only after it's dry that you can see the discoloration.

 

Thanks, ladies, for trying to help me with this!!

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The quick shine makes it look wet still. We had fading from area rugs on our hardwoods - it did not hide that. But most people will throw an area rug down in the same spot. Quick Shine is pretty cheap (less than $10 a bottle) so it is worth a try. 

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I'm sure you have made your moving plans based on what will work best for you. But you might want to think about the pros and cons of leaving your home completely empty when you are ready to list it. We have found that our realtors have wanted the house to be staged with furniture in place. One realtor told us that an empty house tends to reap a lower offering price, because buyers assume the owners are desperate to sell, since they have already moved.

So perhaps you can leave a few areas of the home staged. You said you plan to sell furniture. Perhaps wait and sell it after you have sold the house, and use that furniture to stage the rooms. That way you can leave the rugs down, as well.

You realtor will have opinions about this.

Another option is to price the house with a credit for the new owners to refinish the floors. Or you could refinish them.

When we sold my dad's house last fall, we didn't realize the floor had changed color under the rug until the house had been sold and we were moving his furniture out. So the buyers wouldn't have known, either, when they made their offer. You would need to disclose, if you cover the floors, since you know. But the point is that we didn't know, and the buyers just had to take it as it was (they didn't complain).

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3 hours ago, Wildcat said:

Do you think it might help lessen the appearance of the fading/darkening? The darned thing looks completely normal when freshly mopped and still wet. It's only after it's dry that you can see the discoloration.

 

 

I don't know what the darkening on your finish is.  And I don't know anything about any of the products mentioned. 

If the "darkening" from under the rugs isn't visible when the floor is wet, I don't think it will be visible when it is coated with the right product.  The test for any stain, or to see if you're done sanding on a hardwood floor is to wipe it with paint thinner.  How it looks wet with paint thinner is how it will look with the polyurethane dry.  I'd sand lightly with a fine sandpaper with a random orbit sander, either on hands and knees with a 5-6", or rent the one that has three 7" pads that you stand up if it's a huge area.  Then clean the whole room meticulously so no dust falls on the surface, and put two coats of oil polyurethane over it. 

If you're just doing to sell, a simpler product makes a lot more sense on second thought, test a small section maybe?  Being invisible wet means you have a real good chance of something fixing it nicely. 

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3 hours ago, Wildcat said:

 

The product? I have no idea. The only thing I remember is there was a blue label on the can and that it most likely came from a flooring store because it was a family-owned store and she was the owner's daughter.   

 

definitely NOT a Swedish finish.

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On 5/13/2019 at 7:58 AM, lmrich said:

The quick shine makes it look wet still. We had fading from area rugs on our hardwoods - it did not hide that. But most people will throw an area rug down in the same spot. Quick Shine is pretty cheap (less than $10 a bottle) so it is worth a try. 

Hmm. It sounds like I might have to do the entire downstairs if I try that, as it's an open floorplan. Granted, this one area is in a 'room' the floor continues, so I'd have to be super careful not to overlap in the 'doorway'. Ugh. I think I'm smelling an expensive job coming my way. Blech.

On 5/13/2019 at 10:31 AM, Storygirl said:

I'm sure you have made your moving plans based on what will work best for you. But you might want to think about the pros and cons of leaving your home completely empty when you are ready to list it. We have found that our realtors have wanted the house to be staged with furniture in place. One realtor told us that an empty house tends to reap a lower offering price, because buyers assume the owners are desperate to sell, since they have already moved.

So perhaps you can leave a few areas of the home staged. You said you plan to sell furniture. Perhaps wait and sell it after you have sold the house, and use that furniture to stage the rooms. That way you can leave the rugs down, as well.

You realtor will have opinions about this.

Another option is to price the house with a credit for the new owners to refinish the floors. Or you could refinish them.

When we sold my dad's house last fall, we didn't realize the floor had changed color under the rug until the house had been sold and we were moving his furniture out. So the buyers wouldn't have known, either, when they made their offer. You would need to disclose, if you cover the floors, since you know. But the point is that we didn't know, and the buyers just had to take it as it was (they didn't complain).

I've heard that, too, about an empty house = desperation to sell, but we need to be out before we list for my sanity.  Most of my furniture wouldn't exactly encourage a home sale since it has all been lived on for years. The age of my furniture is obvious (hello 1990s dining room!), even though it's all in really good shape. If staging is highly encouraged by our realtor, we'll just have to hire someone who has the pieces in current styles.

I'm thinking a flooring allowance is where we might end up. Honestly, if I were to buy this house again, I would want hardwood in the two bedrooms that are on the same level (they are carpeted now) and an allowance would allow that to be done and for the new owners to choose their color and make sure it all matches. It just really bothers my OCD that I might have to leave something "not perfect" when we list the house. That, and I'm so sad that something that was supposed to be fine for my floors essentially ruined them. 

On 5/13/2019 at 11:05 AM, barnwife said:

 

 

I don't know what the darkening on your finish is.  And I don't know anything about any of the products mentioned. 

If the "darkening" from under the rugs isn't visible when the floor is wet, I don't think it will be visible when it is coated with the right product.  The test for any stain, or to see if you're done sanding on a hardwood floor is to wipe it with paint thinner.  How it looks wet with paint thinner is how it will look with the polyurethane dry.  I'd sand lightly with a fine sandpaper with a random orbit sander, either on hands and knees with a 5-6", or rent the one that has three 7" pads that you stand up if it's a huge area.  Then clean the whole room meticulously so no dust falls on the surface, and put two coats of oil polyurethane over it. 

If you're just doing to sell, a simpler product makes a lot more sense on second thought, test a small section maybe?  Being invisible wet means you have a real good chance of something fixing it nicely. 

Thanks so much. I think I'll let the floor breathe and allow the summer sun have a go at it and see if that helps at all. Otherwise, I might try the Quick Shine stuff on it if I think I can do it so that I don't have to do the entire downstairs.  Or I'll just cry "uncle" and call someone to have the whole thing refinished. That's definitely not my first choice.

While I'm an ardent DIYer, I'm just not wanting to take on the floor in the manner you described. It's a lot of floor in an open floorplan so I think it's an all-or-nothing deal if resurfacing/refinishing is needed.....   I did, however, make note of your comments and might use them in our next place, if the need arises. That will be a much smaller place. 😉

On 5/13/2019 at 11:12 AM, gardenmom5 said:

definitely NOT a Swedish finish.

And that, right there shows how little I know about this. I thought you meant was it a Swedish name on label of the can of the shiny coating. 😂 

Ladies, again, thank you so much for your help and ideas. I have plenty of time to decide what to do and will see if letting the floors air out and the bright sun help at all. I really appreciate all of your responses.

 

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there are worse things than an empty house - a very cluttered  and dirty house... (toured some of those with dd.  eww.)

just make sure it's clean. (incl. nooks and crannies in kitchens and bathrooms.)

dd bought an "empty house".  it had (cheap) new neutral carpeting throughout (no hardwoods.  pity. and they left the peel-n-stick tile in the bathrooms and kitchen. blech.) and a neutral coat of paint throughout. granted we're in a hot market (and it was super tight when she bought her house) - but the house was *very* popular.  the only reason dd got it, was because it was being sold by a relo company, and all they cared about was they got three offers in two days.  (in the middle of the week.)  dd got her earnest money down on Friday.  it wasn't pulled from the mls - so people were still touring it. at least half a dozen people wanted to put in an offer.

depending upon where you are, people will see your hardwoods and jump up and down for joy - even if they need to be refinished.  I recall one house with hideous orange carpet in the pictures.  when we toured it, they had ripped up the carpet.  that right there increased the market value at least $10K.   if the buyer wants, they can refinish and stain (or not) before they move in.  (and have the color they want.)

one thing carpet over hardwoods tells a buyer - the floors are likely in better than average condition - even if they need to be refinished.

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7 hours ago, Wildcat said:

 

I've heard that, too, about an empty house = desperation to sell, but we need to be out before we list for my sanity.

 

FWIW -- We moved before we listed our last house three years ago. We had a signed contract for full asking price on it in less than two weeks. We also moved before listing a previous house, and sold it in six weeks (which was a great time for that real estate market). So our experience is directly contrary to what is often the common wisdom on this board. Although this board is the only place I've ever heard "don't move first" expressed as common wisdom. Our realtors never had any problem with it whatsoever, other than making sure we were financially prepared to handle two homes for at least several months (which we were). 

Edited by Pawz4me

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