I just moved into a new house. I have never had wooden floors until now. Today, we moved a box and saw a strange waxy looking white gunk on the floor after moving a box. Unknowingly, I scraped it off with my fingernails. Now, I am pretty sure I scraped off the top layer of my wood floors finish.

I read about wood floor finishes. Some say I should try to match the floor's finish, but I don't know what it is. Others have said polyurathane can just be brushed on.

The wood and stain appear to be fine, but this waxy stuff on top I destroyed. Its about a 36sq in area that I destroyed.

Damaged Floor

Damaged Floor Good Floor
Good Floor

What can I do to fix this? Do I need a professional?

1 Answer 1


This is an educated guess only because I can't really see or feel what you are describing. This may be old floor wax that has had something damp left sitting on it. Often in older homes folks would use old fashion floor waxes that will discolor or turn white with age, water, friction or heat. You may first try using a little mineral spirits or a mild cleaning agent with a polishing compound, such as Bar Keepers Friend with a soft cloth on a small spot to see if it will remove the white residue. If in fact this floor has been treated with a wax product, the entire floor would have to be stripped of wax, perhaps buff sanded and restained, then protected with a few coats of Urethane. Don't attempt to apply urethane until you have determined what is causing the white waxy residue. Putting any coating such as urethane over a waxed floor will bubble, peel, and create a mess to clean up. another test you could do would be to gently scrape a very small section of the white stain with a putty knife. If the material comes off easily it may be wax. it may be old varnish, but that would not feel waxy, but not out of the question. Let us know what you find, and we can go from there. Good Luck

  • Thank you for the response. The house was built in 2005. The white residue damage was shaped exactly like a box corner in an area where we had our moving boxes, so I think it was some kind of wet/chemical damage. We have not found a wet/damp box. The white residue is all gone as I scraped it off with my fingers. All that is left is in the photograph. Commented May 7, 2011 at 12:28
  • Updated the photo to better quality. Commented May 7, 2011 at 12:45
  • As the wood appears to be completely exposed and also not damaged, I'm going to try your advice to diy.stackexchange.com/questions/1866/… and see how it works out. Commented May 8, 2011 at 14:01

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