Photos from Christopherson Wood Floors
[Charles] This morning's post on Apartment Therapy got me thinking about our wood floors at home. A few years ago when we first bought our home, we were in love with the wood under the floors. We first uncovered our beautiful antique wood floors that were hiding under years of carpet, glue down tile, and lots of black nasty glue and found amazing heart pine wood.
Almost every book and Home Depot guy out there explains how to sand and polyurethane your floors. The thing is, I really don't like that nasty stuff and wrapping my floors in shrink wrap that scratches and stinks up the house with VOCs just didn't seem like the way to go. Amazingly enough, one guy that did recommend oil and waxed floors as an alternative was Ty Pennington from Extreme Makeover Home Edition (back then he was the carpenter on one of TLC's makeover shows). Anyway, I did some more digging and decided oil and wax was for us. If you want to do it, first off you have to sand your floors just like every other floor job.
The good news is that if you treat them right, you'll never have to use that sander again. We opted for Tung Oil although I've heard of plenty of alternatives with some truly eco-friendly options out there for more cash... You basically have to wipe down the whole floor with mineral spirits to get rid of any left over dust then you pour the oil on a soft cloth and wipe it on the wood. You need good coverage but you don't want it to build up to any real thickness. After a couple of coats of oil, you can wax the floor with floor wax and steel wool. Polish the wax and you'll have a completely different look to your floors. An oil and wax finish looks more matte and more antique to me. The other nice thing is that it can be scratched, but a little sanding or often just a little re-application of oil and wax can cover it right up. With polyurethane, when it gets scratched, it is hard to cover the damage without taking the whole finish off and starting over.
Now I read about how to clean up the wax finish from Apartment Therapy today and they were showing how to fix and clean up scratches and ground in dirt on cork floors. I didn't even know you could use the same stuff for cork, but why not? It's gorgeous and I'm still in love with our oil and wax floor after all these years...
Cork floor cleanup Photo from Apartment Therapy