We have just removed carpets that have been installed over a cherry
wood floors since the house was built in 1964. After various reading
testing, etc I believe the finish is Shellac and I do not think that
they have ever been waxed. In a test spot a q-tip with alcohol picks
up the finish color and water beads and does not create white spots
after 10-15 minutes. Also the floors have a nice reddish tint, which
I understand would be consistent with shellac, which is available in
Other than being sort of dull and showing in a few places carpet pad
patterns (if you get the right light/angle) the floors are in good
shape, very pretty, and we would like keep them this way. According
to the lady and original owner that we bought the house from they had
the floors carpeted when the house was new.
But I find info on shining/maintaining these types of floors to be
somewhat sparse and confusing. Also I get conflicting information on
whether you should use any type of water based cleaning on these
floors. As I understand it you would wax the floors and then buff to
the desired shine but I am still not sure how you do regular cleaning.
There were other floors that were not carpeted that I refinished
because they had worn and had gray dingy areas. I did these with
oil-based poly, which looked nice but did not have the nice reddish
tint that they had originally.
If anyone has experience, thoughts or knows of books or web info on
what the best course of action for maintaining and shining these
floors would be I would greatly appreciate hearing about it. (Or what
kind of maintenance nightmare I am in for.) What is the proper way
to keep them clean and if they are waxed what would be the best wax to
use. Also for the waxing, it sounds like you would use a paste wax
and then floor polisher to buff them, is this correct.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts or info.
One important fact about shellac is that additional coats will
redissolve and bond completely with existing coats. This does not
happen with poly...which is one reason that a floor traditionally
needs to be completely stripped (usually with a sander) before
In other words, shellac is easily repairable. If you want to clean
up some areas, you might test putting on a fresh topcoat in a small
area (after very thorough cleaning, of course) to see how it comes out.
Can't help with the cleaning...I've never heard of shellac used
on floors...but maybe it was common before my time?
I just popped in here to see what every one was up to, and found a
answer to a problem I got..
House built in '64.. I just pulled up the carpet, and was wondering what
in the world I should do with the wood floors.....Thanks for all the
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