Oiled Floor Refreshing
If you have just purchased a solid or semi solid wood floor that was sealed with a “natural sealer”, you should be paying close attention to the regular maintenance and recoating required. Many people are not aware of what natural sealer means and how it should be maintained. The purpose of this article is to make people aware and to educate wood floor owners about the benefits and disadvantages of such sealers. Most wooden floors are sealed unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Raw wood floors are basically pieces of wood without any sealer on it sold unsealed because some people love to put their personal touch on it. But when the salesman tells you “natural finish”, understand that to mean “oil sealer”. So why is it so important to know what type of sealer is on your floors? Because if you want the floors, which you have paid a lot of money for, to last for many years you need to know how to properly maintain it so knowing what type of sealer is on the floors is essential.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | What Is An Oil Sealer?
A few years back when the lacquers and varnishes were manufactured from oil based products, the only option you would have had to maintain your floors natural looking was by sealing it with a floor oil. A floor oil is a natural oil (usually olive oil) mixed up with some kind of enhancement to make it more durable and faster drying. There are two types of floor oil, normal floor oil and hardwax oil.
Floor Oil – floor oil is a clear or coloured natural sealer used to impregnate the wood floors to protect it against humidity and staining. The oil will penetrate the floor in full and it will dry inside it. The floor oil will create a fine barrier between the raw wood and the traffic itself. Most floor oils are matt 100% but you can also buy floor oils in semi gloss and gloss. A quality floor oil should not alter the look of the original floor and it should not glaze the surface.
Hardwax Oil – Hardwax oil is a natural floor oil that imitates the look of the lacquer. While the floor is fully protected with a natural sealer, the final result will look more like a lacquer finish. This kind of finish will fully satisfy some users while others will hate it. Your floor will be glazed with a coat of hardwax oil that will provide the same level of protection like the floor oil. The only difference is the glazing over the top of the floor.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | What Type Of Floors Can Be Refreshed?
If your wooden floors were sealed with a floor oil or a hardwax floor oil, then it can be refreshed with 1-2 coats of maintenance oil. Your floor has to be made from real wood. Laminate floors cannot be re-coated with maintenance oil even if it imitates the look of oiled floors. Amtico floors also look like real wood floors so please make sure that your floors are actually real wood. You can refresh all indoor and outdoor woods that were sealed with floor oil.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | So What Is Oiled Floor Refreshing?
As we have mentioned above, your semi solid or solid wood floor sealed / impregnated with a natural floor oil. This oil will provide great protection against moderate traffic but over time the sealer will wear off in patches. Daily floor washing, sun light, pets, kids, rugs, etc, all of that will help dissolve the protective coat of oil. The floor is not damaged yet but the protective coat of oil has to be replaced with another one. Instead of using a normal floor oil that can take up to 24 hours to dry, a maintenance oil can be used to recoat or refresh the floor. Basically, you will top up the missing oil. Nice and easy.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | Maintenance Oil
There are thousands of floor oils available on the open market. Most manufacturers recommend maintenance oils from their own brand but that is not necessary. After over 20 years of refreshing oiled floors, we can reassure you that pretty much all oiled floor refreshers are compatible with all floor oils. If you can and if you know what type of floor oil was used to seal and protect your floors, there is no harm in using the same brand, but if you are not sure what was used, then you can use a refreshing oil from any other brand. The issue is the way the oil is applied. While some oiled floor refreshers can be applied with very basic tools, for other oiled floor refreshers a floor buffer is a must. Also, some cheaper oiled floor refreshers can take much longer to dry than others. Carver Carsol has proven to be the best floor oil we have ever used.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | How Often Should I Refresh My Floors?
The recommended period of time between refreshings is somewhere around 6 months to 12 months. But this recommendation is informative only. The actual period of time can vary from floor to floor. Two identical floors fitted in two identical properties can wear off totally differently. The level of direct sunlight, the type of cleaning products used, the traffic itself, the number of kids & pets and so on. Many people are using the example that my neighbour’s house has the same floor and after 2 years it looks much better than mine. Well, that can be the case but that can only mean that your neighbours have maintained their floor better or have way less traffic than yours. To be safe and to extend the life expectancy of your oiled floor as much as possible we recommend one refreshing job every 6 months for the whole floor and particular area refreshing as needed (kitchen floors and hall floors are likely to wear off faster than the rest of the floor). If you are not 100% confident in your DIY skills, then call Floor Cleaning Dublin and have your floors treated and properly restored.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | Preparation
Assuming that the floor is not watermarked and there is still some oil left on it, then you can really restore the surface. The most essential part is deep cleaning the surface with oiled floor cleaners capable of degreasing the surface and extracting the dirt from the grain of the wood. You do not want to use strong degreasers that are not designed for oiled floors to avoid removing whatever oils are left on the floor. The mop has to be used semi wet while the floor is being scrubbed. The refreshing oil can only be applied to a surface that is grease free and dry. If the floor was left unsealed for very long periods of time, there is a big chance that there will be watermark stains present. Those stains cannot be removed any longer. To fully remove it, the floor has to be sanded and re-oiled.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | Oiling
After the surface is fully cleaned and is fully dry, you can prepare for oiling. Floor Cleaning Dublin prefers to apply refresher for oiled floors with low speed floor buffers but it can be done manually as well. The floor has to be impregnated with a new coat of oil and all the excess that cannot penetrate has to be removed in full. Different people apply the oil in different ways but the end result is the recoating of the floor. A fully refreshed floor will be ready for daily traffic within a few hours. Our company is likely to use a number of different floor pads and different floor buffers by speed. When the surface is done and fully refreshed it will look as new.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | Cleaning It
Refreshing the old and worn finish is just the first step in the process of maintaining your oiled floor. From now on please get rid of all the bleach based floor cleaners, universal floor cleaners, steamers, high ph floor cleaners and alkaline floor cleaners. Check out Bona Oiled Floor Spray Mop or Carver Deterol. Most of the professional oiled floor cleaners or waxed floor maintainers will remove all kinds of daily residue and will slightly refresh the floor. Maintaining an oiled floor with proper products and refreshing it regularly will ensure long life expectancy and a beautiful patch free finish.
Oiled Floor Refreshing | So Why Book Floor Cleaning Dublin?
There are very few companies in Ireland that understand the process of oiled floor refreshing. A number of smaller companies are applying thick oils without buffing it, some are using water based compatible refreshers and others are using totally unsuitable sealers. We have been refreshing oiled floors since 2008. Over the past 25 years, we have mastered the best techniques and discovered the best products that get the best results. If we can’t do it, no one can. We understand the differences between floors, types of oils & the type of sealer required. We can advise our customers about the best products and the most cost effective solutions. Even better, Floor Cleaning Dublin provides free no obligation estimates for oiled floor cleaning, oiled floor refreshing and oiled floor maintenance. If you want your beloved oiled floor to look like new again you should book Floor Cleaning Dublin now!
Can You Refresh Oiled Floors Without Professional Tools? Yes you can but it depends what level of perfection you are looking for. If we are talking of a small residential room, then yes, go for it. But when refreshing large floor areas where a fine step by step process is required, we do not recommend DIY refreshing. There are a number of issues that can appear and the surface can be permanently damaged or stained if steps are skipped and the drying time is not respected.
How Do I Make My Floors Look New Again? Well the question is how damaged is your oiled floor right now? If a well protected and regularly refreshed wood floor is due a refreshing, then the results will be as new. If refreshing a badly damaged oiled floor that was ignored for very long periods of time, the results cannot be guaranteed. Of course, the floor will look better and it will be fully protected but the “as new” finish is not possible any longer. Owning an oiled floor will only work if you are willing to respect the maintenance. Proper oiled floor cleaners, proper care & regular refreshing. As the old oil wears off, a new coat has to be applied. By doing so, an oiled floor will look and last as new for many years. The issues appear when the floor is left unsealed and the humidity manages to get into it.
Can I Use Vinegar Or Baking Soda To Clean My Oiled Floors? No way. Why would you do that? Many people seem to think that vinegar and baking soda are magic products that will sort out any issues. All you need to do is to buy a proper oiled floor cleaner and wash your floors regularly with a semi wet mop head. Once every 6 months (traffic dependent) refresh your oiled floors with one thin coat of refresher. That’s it. Nothing else.
After Refreshing My Oiled Floors are Sticky! Yes, it happens a lot. It can happen for a number of reasons:
The original floor is not cleaned properly and the floor is covered by a thick layer of dirt that will not permit the refresher to penetrate. Not being able to penetrate, it means that the new coat of refresher will not dry so it will semi dry and become sticky. So make sure to deep clean the floor before refreshing it.
Using too much oil is also not recommended. The floor has to be slightly refreshed, not re-oiled. Usually 1L of refresher will cover around 50-60 sq meters of floor when applied correctly. The issue is when too much oil is used on a small surface. If the surface was already fully impregnated and the wood cannot absorb any more oil, then the excess has nowhere to go. That excess oil will eventually dry patchy and sticky.
Not applying it right is also an issue. Many people will use a varnishing roller or some kind of flat mop to apply the refresher. A flat mop might work but it also depends on the type of refresher used. Ex: Carver Carsol is a thin refresher that will penetrate the surface fast and it dries fast. But Bona Hardwax Oil Refresher is a thick gel that requires buffing. If the gel is not buffed in, it does not dry and it will wreck your floors.
What Should You Not Do To An Oiled Wooden Floor? Whatever way you put it, a floor oil or a hardwax oil is not as durable as a solvent or water based floor lacquer. To make sure that the floor lasts for as long as possible please read the following recommendations:
Do not steam an oiled floor. Too much water is never recommended when washing any wood floor but imagine the damage done by high pressure steam being injected right inside the fiber of the wood. The heat will melt the oil while the water will cause black water damage. Steamers are for tiled floors not for wood so stay away from it.
Do not use a lot of water on oiled floors. Yes, the oil will waterproof and stain proof the floor but up to a level. When a soaked mop goes onto the floor most of the water will leak between the gaps of the floor right under it. While the floor is sealed over the top, the base of the floor is not sealed. All that water will exfoliate the floor and it will create movement and imperfections on the floor. Use a semi wet mop head to clean your floors or check out Bona Oiled Floor Spray Mop (this spray mop uses no water at all).
Do not drag heavy items on oiled floors. While the sealer will provide great protection against daily traffic, it cannot take the weight of a large sofa being pulled around on it. Be gentle, install leg protection on all your sofas, chairs, furniture, etc.
Do not use rugs or mats on oiled floors. In their attempt to protect the finish many people use mats or large rugs. The rug will protect the floor but the issue will appear when the rug is removed and the area under the rug is still as new while the area around the rug has worn away due to traffic. An oiled floor looks spectacular. Why cover it with rugs? Have the floor refreshed regularly and the floor will look great for many years.
Do not use alkaline, high ph or bleach based floor cleaners. Bleach disinfects but it also brightens up surfaces. It will brighten up your oil as well. Many people question why their oiled floor looks cloudy and patchy. In 99% of the cases bleach based chemicals have been used. Even if the product has very low levels of bleach, over a prolonged period of time it will bleach the finish. Alkaline and acidic floor cleaners will also soften up the floor finish and will reduce its durability.
Floor Cleaning Dublin is open for business 6 days per week. We will assess your floor and we will provide you with a free no obligation estimate. Deal with the masters of oiled floor refreshing and oiled floor maintenance in Ireland.