Renewing wood floors, fighting the floor buffer

Michael demonstrates the floor buffer and describes why he thinks it’s fun.

I get a surprising number of search hits on this site from people researching how to take care of wood floors.

That’s because awhile back, I wrote about hiring a floor cleaning expert to remove glue, buff and apply a protective resin finish to the wood floors in my living room that had been covered over with carpet.

This was after having three or four different contractors tell me there was no other option than to spend thousands of dollars (and tons of trouble) sanding them down to bare wood.

The cleaned and buffed floors looked great, and after making careful notes about what the floor cleaning guy did, I attempted a DIY version of this on a small bedroom, soon to be our home office.

My mom is an ever-willing DIY project partner, so she and I pulled up the carpet, removed the tack strip and carefully scraped the glue off. I couldn’t find the exact floor cleaner the guy used, so I substituted a concentrated wood floor cleaner I found at Elliot’s Hardware that said it was suitable for poly finishes and that seemed fine. That’s also where I found the Bruce Light ‘n Natural liquid wax that I’m pretty sure my contractor used. Not sure why he called it resin.

We rented an electric floor “polisher” at Home Depot. This is no doubt the most trying part of doing a floor project yourself. The guy at the tool rental counter said it was difficult to maneuver, but I brushed that off. Not wise. We also bought the white buffing pad.

Once we got it set up inside, and calling the tool rental guy to ask how to turn it on, I attempted a couple passes. I could never figure out how to keep the thing from veering left.

I recruited my husband Michael to see if he could manhandle the monster. After a few minutes he figured out that it was all about balance. Pushing up or down even a hair would make the thing move. Even then, this was no easy task.

End result looks great, and while I wouldn’t avoid doing this again, I intend to research where I can find a more easily managed floor machine.

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