I recently purchased a home, and it appears that the hardwood floors had a very thin and/or cheap top coat of finish applied to make them shiny with minimal effort.

If I slide ANYTHING (even say a kitchen chair with plastic slider feet) across it a thin layer of material comes off and the floor looks less shiny in that area.

I guess this is a two part question:

1 - Is this a known practice? Is there a way to check for it before buying a house?

2 - Is there a workaround for this besides refinishing the entire floor?

  • 3
    Is it perhaps wax? If so, wax stripper should take it off. – DA01 Sep 12 '11 at 17:14
  • @DA01- how can I tell? – JNK Sep 12 '11 at 17:16
  • 1
    See the answer at the bottom of this page for "If I buy a home with hardwood floors, how can I tell if they have a wax or urethane finish?" residentialfloors.com/faqs.html – auujay Sep 12 '11 at 17:47
  • So it comes up easily with a fingernail BUT it's clear like the urethane. Any ideas? – JNK Sep 12 '11 at 18:12
  • 1
    Maybe cheap/old urethane finish? Or maybe the last person put a urethane finish over a waxed floor so it did not bond well? – auujay Sep 12 '11 at 19:25

There could be a few different reasons for your situation. I would lean towards the theory that only one coat of finish, urethane or maybe varnish was applied to a poorly prepared surface. I'm afraid there is not quick fix to your problem. I would be looking at stripping and sanding the entire floor, clean away every spec of dust and refinish with at least 3 coats of high grade urethane. The surface MUST be lightly buff sanded and cleaned between each coat to give you a professional looking finish. It is a lot of work, but the results will be worth it.

  • Thanks for the answer, even if it's not what I want to hear :) I came to the conclusion last night that they probably just put a quick coat of thin urethane on without prepping, which makes sense. It's on the todo list now! – JNK Sep 13 '11 at 12:07

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