Cleaning Old Wood Floors Without Refinishing Will Bring It Back to Life!

Cleaning Old Wood Floors Without Refinishing? Make Working with a Contractor a Successful Experience


What catches your eye the first time you walk into someone’s home for the first time?


Unless you are in the interior design field, it’s a difficult question to answer, because your eyes will be drawn to what stands out – exceptional fixtures or features in the foyer and adjacent rooms, or to the aspects that interrupt your visual feel to the space – often, that’s the floor.


Because of daily wear, it can be the most challenging feature to maintain. At the same time, there is little more startling than gleaming hardwood in a family’s most treasured rooms of the home. Cleaning old wood floors without refinishing is an effective way to restore that like-new sheen to your home’s flooring.



Buff and Coat or Refinish?


A trusted contractor will take the time to examine your floor and thoroughly discuss options however the appropriate restoration process is determined by the depth of scratching, scuffing and scraping, and if there are specific, heavily worn traffic areas on the flooring. If the hardwood’s condition makes it a borderline candidate for a buff and coat cleaning process, you may wish to consider the utility of the room or rooms. A buff and coat project should take no more than a day, while a full refinish requires a multi-step, multi-day process plus dry time.


Recoating – a Step Up from Buff and Coat


If your hardwood is an appropriate candidate for refinish-free restoration, recoating provides and an extra measure of durability and longevity beyond the traditional buffing and coating process. Over time, contaminants such as acrylic polishes, waxes, oil soaps, and spray from furniture cleaners can accumulate, affecting the adhesion quality. A thorough
recoating process includes the scrubbing away of these top layer impurities before applying the finishing top coats. Recoating ensures a more durable shine and reduces the frequency of fully refinishing your hardwood over its lifespan.


A beautiful home interior reflects the care and attention to detail of its owners. It conveys to visitors so much about the people that live there: who they are as a family, how they work, play and provide. But the real benefit is how we feel about ourselves, and the quality of the experience in a well maintained home. It’s not easy to do in the busy lives we lead, but it’s fulfilling when the contractor leaves and we can rest our eyes on what was once old looking wood, brought back to life.     



Choosing a Contractor to Restore Old Wood Floors


If you have finished your research, and are ready to hire a contractor to clean your old wood floors without refinishing, these are a few tips worth considering. They have been compiled by scouring raving reviews, and poor ones, on,, and from years of hiring contractors.


There are almost 600 contractors in the Toronto area, as an example, that offer restorative workmanship services for hardwood flooring and stairs. Choosing the right contractor depends on your priorities within cost, quality of workmanship, experience, communication skills, and project management.


Rarely will a contractor rate at the top end of all traits, but there are a few if you have the time to qualify. A fairly recent trend is the hiring of service firms that manage or oversee the project management and communication functions, and have previously qualified your local market. Most contractors score low in these two areas. Response time to your inquiries, quality of communication, and thorough well-detailed estimates will indicate how they perform their service.


Restoring your hardwood flooring should be a positive, enjoyable, collaborative experience with your contractor. If cost is not your highest priority, and a highly trusted referral is not available, most service firms will be able to match you with the right craftsperson at a fair price.


Working with Your Hardwood Restoration Professional

Now that you have found a professional to perform restoration work on your old hardwood, how do you ensure the project experience and end result meet your expectations if you have not used a service firm to qualify and guarantee the contractor’s work?

Detailed documentation is the most important factor before they enter your home, to begin with. Generalized descriptions of the service leave you open to the potential for incomplete work, extra charges, or a misunderstanding of what was to be delivered and the timeline.

Fixtures and furniture in adjacent rooms, as well as in direct work areas, should be removed or well covered to protect from dust. Your contractor should carefully tape off multiple rooms so that dust from sanding is minimal   

Your contractor should disclose products to be used in the hardwood restoration process, and provide you with any health warnings or preventative care instructions.

The best way to ensure the restoration process is just as fulfilling as the result is two-way ongoing communication with the contractor. If it is acceptable to you, encourage the contractor to use his communication method of choice during the process. Openly encouraging communication helps them to feel comfortable contacting you during the work to clarify any situation not previously discussed. 



Buff and Coat Floors – Maintenance

Congratulations! Now that your old wood floor has been restored to new, it is time to enjoy that beautiful floor space.

Since you want it to last years and years before the next refinishing, you may want to consider a maintenance plan that includes all members of the family and future guests to your home. Pets, spills, humidity, stains and debris can contribute to aging and wear.


Following a few simple care and prevention guidelines will maintain the lustre and shine of that beautiful old hardwood:

-If the flooring is close to an entrance way, consider a runner carpet to capture debris carried in from children and pets.

- Spills will occur. If everyone in the home is aware of staining damage and its consequence to the floor, they should clean up any messes before the floor gets damaged. 

 - Use a damp soft cloth to remove sticking debris like food, gum or candle wax once it has hardened. 

-Moderate humidity in the winter months to reduce shrinking of the hardwood.

 - Avoid oily cleaning products or hardwood floor cleaners that may leave residue.


Now it is time to enjoy your new hardwood!