Q&As: Oil Finish Maintenance

What does long-term maintenance look like for flooring with hardwax oil finish?

Nolan Luke, technical manufacturer rep specializing in hardwax oil floors for Regal Hardwoods Inc., answers:

Using hardwax oil on wood has been a European tradition since the 19th century. Improved by 21st century technology, hardwax oil floors can protect a wood floor for hundreds of years. What happens to your customers' floors, however, is determined by their maintenance habits.

Always follow the recommendations from the manufacturer of your specific finish, but in general, I recommend refreshing the hardwax oil finish in accordance with the daily wear on the floor. If there is low risk of having spills or dirt tracked on the floor, I would add a thin coat of refresher oil after the first cleaning and twice a year after that. If heavy wear is predicted, then I would add a coat four times a year. Besides refreshing the hardwax oil coating a few times a year, based on traffic and wear, the long-term maintenance should not vary much from the routine cleaning and dust-mopping.

For routine cleaning, I recommend mopping the floors with a rejuvenating soap—consumers must use cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer, not those you would use on most wood floors. Alcohol-based products will dissolve hardwax oil finish. Also, homeowners should close drapes and blinds where excessive sunlight hits the floor, as that can cause the finish to become sticky.

In the event of stubborn stains, customers should lightly dampen a soft cloth with a manufacturer-recommended hardwood floor cleaner, allow the cleaner to sit on top for about 30 seconds, then lightly agitate and remove the stain. They should apply it directly to the trouble spot and repeat as necessary. If the stain persists, I recommend they contact a wood floor expert or the store where they purchased the flooring. In the event of a deep gouge or scrape, the color of the affected floor board(s) can be repaired by a professional expert without a need to replace the board in question.

Article credited and reposted from Hardwood Floors Mag