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How To Make Hardwood Floors Look New Without Refinishing


Sanding is the best way to restore the former glory to your faded hardwood floors. However, due to the cost and time that this process can take, it isn’t always an option. So, can you make your hardwood floors look new without refinishing them?

Here’s how you can make hardwood floors look new without refinishing:

  1. Assess your floors’ condition and the cost of refinishing.
  2. Pick quality hardwood restoration and rejuvenation products.
  3. Clean the hardwood floor thoroughly.
  4. Rock the bottle to mix the product within (don’t shake).
  5. Apply the chemical abrasive in an S pattern.
  6. Spread the product using a clean mop.
  7. Allow at least 24 hours of drying time.

This article will explain the details of the application process that has been briefly described above. Before proceeding, keep in mind that this text is dedicated to polyurethane-finished wood floors.

Assess Your Floors’ Condition and the Cost of Refinishing

Before beginning your flooring project, you first need to assess whether or not your floors can safely be restored using a chemical abrasive method. You should also consider the costs of professional refinishing compared to DIY methods, to ensure you’re making the right choice based on your budget and skill level.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the costs associated with refinishing hardwood floors:

Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Professional hardwood floor refinishing is becoming less and less common in homes around the US. The main reason behind this is the cost of labor. According to statistics, refinishing a hardwood floor can run you up to $8 per square foot (source).

Refinishing a hardwood floor can be an expensive project even when you decide to do it on your own. The cost of renting a sander, as well as all of the tools and materials needed for the job, can quickly add up.

Let’s compare the prices of various floor refinishing methods:

MethodPrice per Square FootPrice per Square Meter
Professional Floor Refinishing$8$28
Refinishing the Floor on Your Own$4$14
Using a Floor Rejuvenation Product$0.1$0.35

For this reason, numerous households decide to go for the cheapest option: Refreshing their hardwood floors using a light chemical abrasive product.

However, chemical abrasives can’t be used on all floor types, which is why you’ll need to take a closer look at your floors’ finish and condition.

When To Use Hardwood Floor Rejuvenators and Refreshers

Here’s a brief list of the instances when the use of hardwood floor rejuvenators and refreshers are recommended:

  • On polyurethane finishes only
  • On hardwood floors with normal wear and superficial scratches

The first point on the list is extremely important; none of the commercially-available, hardwood floor rejuvenation and refreshment solutions will be able to stick to non-polyurethane finishes.

When it comes to the second point, hardwood floor rejuvenators cannot replace a proper floor finish. This means that they’re only able to conceal shallow scratches and minor scuffs.

Weiman Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Polish Restorer Combo - 2 Pack - High-Traffic Hardwood Floor, Natural Shine, Removes Scratches, Leaves Protective LayerOpens in a new tab.

When Not To Use Hardwood Floor Rejuvenators and Refreshers

There are also some instances in which the hardwood refreshment method will only be a waste of money and time. These include:

  • On deep scratches, as it can make them even more pronounced
  • On hardwood floors with completely worn or flaked finishes

I’d recommend against using any hardwood floor rejuvenation product when the floor you’re applying it to has deep scratches. Applying a coat of any hardwood floor rejuvenator might accentuate the scratches and make them even more obvious. In this instance, a full sanding is the only valid solution.

Additionally, floors with worn or flaked topcoats might receive more damage from these chemicals. When applied to bare wood, floor rejuvenation and refreshment chemicals can cause discoloration.

  1. Pick Quality Hardwood Restoration and Refreshment Products

Once you’ve decided to avoid sanding to restore your hardwood floors, and you know that chemical abrasives are suitable for your floors’ condition, you can then move on to choosing a suitable product for your project. 

However, it’s important to note that this method will refresh and rejuvenate your floors, rather than completely restore them. This is why floors that have significant damages likely won’t benefit as much from rejuvenating treatments.

While there are multiple varieties of hardwood restoration products available on the market, there’s just a handful of those who are widely recognized as the best.

In order to make your hardwood floor refresh as easy as possible, I decided to highlight some of the best products available.

Here are my top picks for the best hardwood rejuvenating products, all of which can be found on Amazon.com:

Rejuvenate Hardwood Professional Wood Floor Restorer and Polish, 32 oz & Microfiber Bonnet Applicators Fits Standard 9” Sponge Mop Head - Washable and Reusable Microfiber Mop Bonnets – Pack of 1Opens in a new tab.

Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer and Polish

This is a product that’s recommended for rejuvenating hardwood floors that are older than five years. It’s easy to apply and can cover up any minor scratches or scuffs from furniture or foot traffic. It also gives your floors a fresh and refined appearance, which helps them look like new again.

Click Here for latest pricing (link to Amazon)

Rejuvenate Shine Refresher Hardwood Polish Restorer 

This product works better for hardwood floors that are slightly newer, up to around 5 years old. What’s great about this product is that it can also be used to restore shine to laminate, linoleum, tile, and vinyl surfaces.

Both of these products can safely be used on most hardwood flooring surfaces, including stairs, hallways, and baseboards. However, neither of these products can remove deep scratches, nor can they repair damages to the wood, such as cracks, dents, or splinters.

Rejuvenate Shine Refresher Hardwood Polish Restorer Removes Scratches from Wood Floors Restores Shine and Protects Laminate Linoleum Tile Vinyl and moreOpens in a new tab.

If you’re looking to remove severe imperfections in the wood, you’ll have to resort to sanding instead.

At the same time, if you simply want an effective solution that repairs tiny surface scratches and restores shine to glossy floors, then these products are ideal for you.

Click here for the latest pricing (link to Amazon).

Clean the Hardwood Floor Thoroughly

Before proceeding to the actual product application process, the hardwood floor you’re planning to refresh needs to be cleaned thoroughly with a reliable cleaning product. 

Even though numerous products could be suitable, there are certain criteria that all of them should fulfill:

  • They should be effective in a single application.
  • They should leave no residue.
  • They should be environmentally friendly.
  • They should not contain wax or vinegar, as these can damage the floor’s finish.

Unfortunately, most cheap options available online don’t fulfill any of the checkpoints listed above. However, Bona is a reputable company with more than a century of experience in creating flooring solutions. In addition to providing cleaning supplies, this manufacturer is also responsible for creating some of the most used wooden floor finishes, sanding machines, and adhesives (source).

For this reason, I would recommend going for a professional option, such as Bona Hardwood Cleaner (link to Amazon). This product satisfies all of the three major criteria listed above.

This hardwood cleaner is not only a good option when trying to reverse the damage done to your floor, it’s also great for regular maintenance and keeping the floors sparkly from the get-go. 

When cleaning your floors in preparation for a rejuvenating treatment, the cleaning process should be a bit more thorough than usual. Here’s what it should look like step-by-step:

  1. Vacuum the floor carefully.
  2. Apply the cleaning product to the hardwood floor.
  3. Wipe the floor using a microfiber cleaning pad or mop, including all of the corners and edges.
  4. Allow the floor at least two hours to dry completely before proceeding.

(Source)

If you want to make the cleaning and application process even easier, you can also consider investing in an all-in-one kit. A full hardwood rejuvenation kit usually includes the following items:

  • Floor cleaning solution
  • Floor restoration product
  • A microfiber pad or a mop

I’ve used these kits in the past and they make the process quick and simple. I can recommend the Rejuvenate Floor Renewer Kit (link to Amazon), which comes as a full set that’s also super affordable. The set has a floor cleaner, a floor rejuvenating product, and all required applicators. In addition, a bottle of cabinet and furniture restorer is included.

So, now that you have your hardwood rejuvenation and cleaning product, and you’ve cleaned the floors completely, you can then proceed to the next step.

Rock the Bottle To Mix the Product Within (Don’t Shake)

After cleaning the floor and allowing it enough time to dry, it’s time to prepare the hardwood restoration chemical for use. But what does this mean?

Almost all hardwood floor restoration chemicals that you can get online require some form of mixing before use.

However, shaking the product is never recommended. What you need to do is hold the bottle with both hands and rock it from side to side. Ensure that you’ve rocked the bottle three to four times to each side, or follow the instructions on the label.

The final thing you’ll want to do before applying the product is to imagine the space you’ll be working on divided into sections. Each section should be a quadrant that is 5 feet by 5 feet (1.5 meters by 1.5 meters) in size.

You should tape off or cover any areas where you don’t want the product to touch, including carpet and furniture.

Apply the Chemical Abrasive in an S Pattern

Once you’ve lightly rocked the hardwood restoration product and virtually divided the application area, it’s time to apply the chemical to the floor.

Starting from the furthest quadrant from your exit point, apply the chemical abrasive in an S pattern. Don’t be surprised if the product comes out looking a little too liquidy. You also shouldn’t be afraid to apply the product liberally, especially if your floor has several minor surface scratches.

After applying the chemical in one of the quadrants, it’s time to proceed to the next step.

Spread the Product Using a Clean Mop

All this next step requires you to do is spread the applied product using a clean microfiber pad or mop. You should keep the following things in mind during this part of the hardwood rejuvenation process:

  • Always use a clean microfiber pad or a mop. Don’t reuse the same cloth you cleaned the floors with unless you’ve washed and dried it beforehand.
  • Always spread the product following the direction of the wood grain. This helps keep the wood’s color looking even and natural.

As soon as the first section is finished, you can apply the product in an S pattern into the next 5×5 section and spread it just like the previous one. Proceed to do this for the entire area you want to be rejuvenated.

All hardwood restoration or rejuvenation chemicals require at least an hour of drying time after application. 

The results should be noticeable once the product has dried. If you’re still not happy with how the hardwood floor looks, you can apply another coat of the flooring rejuvenation liquid two hours after the application of the first coat is finished.

Adding multiple coats provides a fuller and glossier final look. Coating for the second time is something I’d highly recommend if your first coat comes out looking uneven or streaky.

Allow at Least 24 Hours of Drying Time

Regardless if you decide to apply one or two coats of the hardwood rejuvenation product, the floor will need to be left alone for at least a full day. This means redirecting foot traffic and refraining from pushing your furniture back onto the floors.

During this time, the new topcoat will begin to penetrate all of the scratches, fill them, and settle on the surface of the wooden floor.

And with minimum effort and monetary investment, you can now enjoy your refreshed hardwood floors.

Final Thoughts

When refinishing a hardwood floor using the traditional sanding technique isn’t an option, the best way to bring back the shine to your floors is to apply a coat or two of a floor restoring product.

Even though these products aren’t able to get rid of the deep scratches, they are more than capable of disguising minor damages, such as light scuffs. In addition, your hardwood floor’s high gloss finish will be restored. 

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Marsha

I'm obsessed with cleaning (maybe to an unhealthy degree) and want to share all of my best tips and hacks with you.

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