Care and maintenance tips for hardwood floors

Hardwood flooring is an expensive investment and proper care and maintenance is required, not only to keep them looking good, but also ensure they last a lifetime. Whether your hardwood floors are oak, Oregon pine or teak, all require finishing in some way or another.


Tips for finishing hardwood floor previously varnished

Varnish is the most common finish for a hardwood floor, and while varnish protects hardwood floors, it doesn't last forever. Sooner or later the finish becomes scuffed and scratched, and even worn away, and you will need to sand back to the original finish before recoating. For lasting results use a product that offers longer protection, such as Prominent 2-pack polyurethane floor coating

1. Use a hand sander to lightly sand the entire floor with 100/120-grit sandpaper. The most cost effective way to do this is with an Orbital Sander that allows you to use regular sanding paper, as opposed to velcro pads. The Bosch PSS 200 AC is ideal for this type of sanding.

2. Wipe away any dust or residue with rags and Mineral Turpentine.

3. Recoat with either one or two coats of Prominent 2-Pack Polyurethane Floor Coating or Prominent Wood Pro Polyurethane Varnish.

In all cases it is imperative that a small section of the floor be coated to test and ascertain compatibility of product and determine whether penetrating oil or wax polish have been applied prior to recoating. If penetrating oil or wax polish have been applied over the floor, it is necessary to rub down with fine steel wool and mineral turpentine.

Polyurethane and varnish are among the most popular treatments for hardwood floors. These finish protect hardwood floors, making them more durable and water resistant and extending the lifespan of a floor. When correctly applied these finishes provide a protective barrier. Prominent Paints offer the following wood finishes:


Prominent Paints twin-pack acrylic polyurethane coating with a clear, suede finish. Depending on the porosity of the wood, two to three coats are necessary. Allow a recoating time of 16 to 24 hours - but not longer than 24hours.

The mixing of the base and the catalyst is important. Before adding the catalyst to the base coat, both must be well stirred for 3 minutes.

Empty the base coat and catalyst into clean container and mix for a further 3 minutes.

It is very important to make sure that the containers are brushed clean when emptied into the final container. Once mixed, the pot life of this product is 2 hours.

Prominent Pro Gold polyurethane thinners is the only cleaning and thinning solvent that can be used.


Follow preparation points above. This product is a single pack application requiring two to four coats depending on porosity of the wood. The first coat can be thinned down with 10% Prominent Pro Gold Turpentine

How to determine the finish on wood floors

If you are unsure as to the finish applied to wood floors, use fine steel wool and mineral turpentine on an out-of-the-way spot. Steel wool and mineral turpentine will dissolve waxy polished or oils, but will not remove varnish finishes.

Many older homes have original hardwood floors that were sealed with wax. Using a wax coating after staining provides a barrier against wear and tear and gives the floor a beautiful satin sheen. However, this finish requires regular maintenance and wax application.

Tips to protect hardwood floors

  • Try not to wear heeled shoes in the home. This will reduce the possibility of scuffs and scratching. Alternatively, put down natural fibre rugs in areas where there is high traffic.
  •  Vacuum wood floors at least once a week with a vacuum attachment for wood floors (soft brushes). Regular cleaning helps remove dust particles that can scratch and dull the polished surface. If using a sweeping brush, use one with soft, synthetic bristles.
  • Do not use chemical cleaning products on hardwood floors. Clean with mild soap (dishwashing soap) and water. A mop with a soft, microfiber pad is preferable to a cotton mop. The pad should be slightly moist to prevent dulling or discolouring the finish.
  •  If floors get wet, use kitchen napkins to soak up the moisture immediately.
  • Avoid overwaxing unfinished wood floors to restore luster. If a waxed floor has become dull, try buffing the surface instead with a polishing machine. However, do not apply wax to a polyurethane finish.
  • Where the protective finish has worn away, do not apply water-based or liquid cleansers. These will penetrate, stain or warp the wood. Rather use a soft-bristled brush or vacuum.