My house has pine floors in the kitchen and upstairs, and its finish has almost entirely rubbed off, and is now showing bare wood. I'm interested in applying a wax (or maybe oil?) finish on it (mostly so that scratches can be buffed out).

How do I prepare the floor and what sorts of products do I use? Is it common to lacquer, shellac, or oil (Tung? Linseed?) the floors before waxing them? Does it make a difference if I use a paste wax versus a liquid wax?

I know that polyurethane would be the toughest and most water resistant finish, but I'm worried about it getting lots of scratches that cannot be easily removed. What would the most durable finish be for the kitchen that I could spot-repair (with, for example, wax)?

So, my current plan is to apply a few coats coats of tung oil, and then wax the floor. I'm not sure if applying shellac in between is a good idea (or not).

  • what is the existing finish?
    – mike
    Aug 4, 2013 at 3:25
  • Polyurethane, but it's almost entirely gone. I amplanning to use a sander to remove it from the few areas that it remains.
    – Pigrew
    Aug 4, 2013 at 14:20

1 Answer 1


A trip to the hire shop is in order. One floor sander and an edge sander. A selection of medium and fine grit belts-the hire shop will probably credit you for unused materials. Get all the windows open and wipe the floor over with isopropyl alcohol to remove as much old wax as possible, this will save a lot of clogging of the sanding medium. First sand across the grain, do all the edges with medium then fine grit, finally fine grit along the grain. Dampen the whole floor with water, leave for a leisurely lunch, return, fine sand the edges, then along the grain with the floor sander. Clean up really well, ensure you vacuum clean all the joints and cracks. Apply a coat of sanding sealer and leave overnight. In the morning use a hand sanding pad and very fine grit and remove all the 'nibs'...you will have some! Apply a second fine coat of sanding sealer. Leave overnight or better still a couple of days. Apply the first floor wax layer with a 'scotchbrite' pad or similar (this will de-nib the floor as well) in a very thin coat-not forcing wax into the joins. Buff,leave a couple of days, repeat at least three times. Note that for the kitchen a better finish will be to apply four or five coats of tung oil over a couple of weeks which will not show water spots as readily as wax, as always, when applying oil or wax a little many times gives the best finish.

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