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Fast Way to Renew Hardwood Floors - On the Cheap

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When we first bought our 50s bungalow we were excited about fixing it up for us.  We had just downsized from our other home and the kids had flown the coop so we wanted a smaller home to fix up to our tastes and limited budget.

The house was well built and so the bones were good.  We had some work done right away for safety and insurance such as a new electrical panel and some updated wiring.  We wanted to make the space nice, and loved the older hardwood floors.  But when we got a price for refinishing them, and found out they would need to replace the floors as it had been sanded before many years ago, we were not too happy.  You can spend a lot of money having the floors done and in this house the entire main floor was oak hardwood from 1955.

We loved all the nicks and worn areas of this older oak narrow strip style hardwood flooring and wanted to keep it, as it added character, but it was pretty dull looking and dirty.

renew hardwood floors
we had not even decorated or painted yet, we wanted the floors done before moving in.

We researched a few products and found a minwax system that we were willing to try.  The owner who was selling the house to us, allowed us in a couple of days early so we could tackle the floors of the entire main floor before all our furniture came in.  This was very nice of him, as we would have done it room by room otherwise moving things around.  This way we were able to do all the floors at the same time.

But I have to tell you, this product is well worth the effort.  As you can see in the picture we decided to do the floors even before decorating.  I figured we could always use a drop sheet for painting afterwards, but to do the floors would be much harder afterwards with all our furniture in place.  So we did the floors first before we tackled painting or light fixtures.

So, that is why you see nice shiny floor and not so nice walls or fixtures!  But there are basically 3 steps to this system.

restore hardwood floors

Steps to Restore Your Hardwood FloorStep 1 - Vacuum well before you start. This is really important. We used a shop vac so that we got every bit of dirt of grain and grit. You don't want to be rubbing grit into the floor. The instructions tell you to

Step 1 – Vacuum well before you start.  This is really important.  We used a shop vac so that we got every bit of dirt of grain and grit.  You don’t want to be rubbing grit into the floor.  The instructions tell you to sweep, but we found the vacuum worked much better at getting all the dirt and loose grit off the floor.  This in my opinion is the longest step but one of the most important, so don’t skimp on the vacuuming time.  The other steps are actually quicker. 

renew hardwood floor
Minwax 62127 32-Ounce Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Amazon Price: $6.99 $4.79 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 5, 2015)

Step 2 – Use the Minwax Hardwood Floor Cleaner – Use as directed.  We did a few rooms at the same time.  We had enough in a bottle for the living/dining, hall and 3 small bedrooms.  Depending on how dirty your floors are you may need to do it twice and therefore need more product.

Use a good sythentic mop to apply this floor cleaner.  You need a separate mop for cleaning and the top coat.  So we got all the cleaning done first.  We were impressed with how it took off all the dirt at doorways that we thought were totally ingrained.  It is an impressive cleaner and took off much of the old varnish surface.  It literally brightened the floors more than we thought it would.  This is a great product.

minwax hardwood floor cleaner
Minwax 60950 32-Ounce High Gloss Reviver Hardwood Floor Restorer
Amazon Price: $39.99 $15.96 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 5, 2015)

Step- 3 – Use the Minwax Hardwood Floor Reviver – We used the high gloss as you can see in the picture.  But you can get a less glossy one.  Once that was put on the floor it was like we had new floors.

We were quite happy with all the dents and knocks and rustic look of over 60 years of use, and so didn’t want the expense of replacing these floors and didn’t want to try sanding them either.  When we first saw this house we thought the darker stains in the wood would never come out but that cleaner is very good.  We found most of the dirt was at the edges of the room and the doorways, and around the corners, so pay close attention to these areas.

renew hardwood floors

Follow the directions completely and use a clean synthetic mop head for applying the reviver.  You will be happy with the result.  Don’t use your sponge mop as it will leave bubbles in the surface you want to get a good quality synthetic mop on a stick.

We had the attitude that it would be good “for now” until we get around to replacing them one day, but after 3 years the floors still look good.  We use area rugs in high traffic parts and let the rest of the hardwood floor shine through. 

A bit of vinegar and warm water rung out well on a damp mop keep it clean and shiny.  We were totally impressed with the product.  We got our nice floors clean and shiny and the house felt like ours.  The previous owner came by to visit and was shocked to see how nice the floors had come up.  He had been quoted a lot of money to have them redone. 

We were not going for new, we liked the older narrow strip oak hardwood and the many intricate designs they did back then where the rooms met.  We didn’t want to lose that.  By using the Minwax reviver system we were able to keep this floor looking great for under 100 dollars and an afternoon!

You can do this yourself.  The product says you can walk on it within a day, but we left it a few days as we were moving in heavy furniture and lots of feet of people helping with the move, and it stood up to all of that.  Totally impressed!

You can purchase this product online or find at home improvement stores.  Just make sure and read the directions first so you can have all your supplies handy and don’t forget the vacuum cleaner.



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