Aftercare For A Waxed Floor
Wax is my preferred option for use with antique or patinated wooden floors. Waxing will give an unrivalled depth and beauty to the floor. A major advantage of a Wax finish is that it can be maintained and restored relatively easily and does not require specialist tradesmen to carry out this work. Both daily and periodic maintenance can be carried out by the property owner or cleaner.
A waxed floor will never require sanding and sealing. Over time the floors beauty will be enhanced by scratches, scuffs, dents etc. Some would say that a waxed floor requires more maintenance than either Polyurethane or Oil. This is true to some extent, initially at least. However, in the long run wax is favourably. Wax is a “little and often” approach to maintenance.
To compare, wooden floors sealed with either Polyurethane or Oil require very infrequent maintenance / refurbishment. However, although an Oil or Polyurethane floor seal require less regular maintenance or restoration, when it becomes necessary the restoration is a lot more involved. It will mean inconvenience and significant cost, as this work is skilled and beyond the average home owners skill or experience.
A Waxed floor in a residential situation might require application and buffing (with a rotary buffing machine) two or even three times in it’s first year. This will be more frequent in a commercial setting. There is no definitive prediction on frequency, as this depends on the particulars of each project. This can be discussed in detail with the owners / person responsible, in order to give best predictions.
Over time the wax will harden and applications of wax will be required less often, then buffing alone will be more common than waxing and buffing. Should the floor become dull and lose it’s lustre you can apply another coat of wax and buff. The floor will look better than when it was initially installed.
As an every day regime, the home-owner or cleaner simply need sweep with a soft brush or vacuum. Never wet mop a waxed floor! If care is exercised a moist cloth and a PH neutral cleaning solution can be used to clean a waxed floor. This doesn’t mean a wet mop. A moist cloth can be used, but a wet mop is a bad idea.
If a waxed floor is cleaned with a moist cloth the floor needs to be dried and buffed off immediately (As you clean) with a dry towel.
By this I mean, buff dry with a towel as you go rather than cleaning the entire area with moist, cloth and then drying off. The cleaner needs to ensure that no spillages are left and to take care that the bottom of the bucket containing the warm water and cleaning solution is not placed directly onto the waxed floor (This is because it will inevitably be wet and could lead to rings / stains on the floor).
What also needs to be borne in mind is that cleaning in this way will remove the layers of wax over time. So if regular wax application is not taking place also, the wax could eventually be entirely removed. There is a cleaning agent within Mylands wax, so that when waxing and buffing a floor, it receives a really good clean at the same time.
Some practical tips for a waxed floor are as follows:
- Water / spillages if wiped off the surface of a waxed floor relatively soon after taking place will not cause an issue, but don’t allow water/spillages to sit on the surface for a prolonged period or the floor will mark.
- Don’t use general house hold cleaners which are aggressive and will strip the wax
- Don’t allow the floor to go indefinitely without application of wax.
- Place a good door mat at exterior entrances to ensure water is removed from shoes as you enter the property.
- Domestic type spray polish can be used to clean a localised spillage…..wine, jam etc… Ensure it is beeswax based rather than silicone. Be careful not to use this method on stairs as it can make them slippery.
To wax and buff you apply the wax with a rotary buffing machine. Place a small amount of wax on the floor then buff evenly (A golf ball sized dollop will cover about a square yard). Allow about 30 minutes to dry then buff until a lustrous shine is apparent (It’s not complicated!). Do not to over-wax the floor. If the floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax build-up under furniture and other low-traffic areas by waxing less often in these areas. Any water, wine,spillages etc. should be cleaned immediately.
If the wax finish is discoloured by spillages which have not been cleaned up immediately or has dirt build-up, work area with wax using fine steel wool to remove grime and old wax. Wipe the floor clean, let it dry for about 30 minutes, and then buff.