We have hardwood floors and I'm unsure how they were finished. I tested by rubbing acetone on them and nothing came up. According to internet sources that may be an oil based polyurethane. But the floors are old and in spots the finish has run bare leaving exposed wood. There is no advertised product to refresh this kind of flooring polish. The water based urethane actually look nice but seem to wash up on this next mop session. Do I simply brush a thin coat of oil based over the bare spots or apply a coat to the whole floor, or entirely sand and refinish?

  • Usually trying to do small/medium areas will result in the whole floor looking patchy. Doing the whole sanding/refinishing of the whole floor/room tends to look the best.
    – crip659
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 0:26
  • It depends upon how much you want the floor to look like..."perfect or good enough". Sanding down the entire floor is a lot of messy work. If it were me, I'd move the furniture/appliances out, lightly sand the entire floor to give the new finish some "teeth" to adhere to, maybe coat the bare areas first, then go over the entire floor. Probably an oil based polyurethane would be best if a patch job. It all depends upon how "perfect" you want the final result to be. If you take the effort to sand it down to bare wood, you have a myriad number of choices. Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


"I'm unsure how they were finished." If you're unsure then we can't be sure either. You can experiment by applying oil based over the bare spots but not over the whole floor. The results will more than likely be unsatisfactory but if it works for you, great. Your best bet is to sand the floor in it's entirety down to bare wood and then refinish to your liking. Depending on your living conditions, this can be done all at once or room by room. I've seen it done both ways.

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