How to Care for Slippery Hardwood Floors

Written by emily beach
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How to Care for Slippery Hardwood Floors
Hardwood flooring (Wiki Commons)

Hardwoods are a popular flooring option for many homeowners, and they work well with a variety of decors. Unfortunately, wood floors can be fairly slippery, and can cause falls or injury to occupants in the home. Slippery wood floors are often caused by wax build-up or high-gloss finishes. By using proper supplies and techniques, you can improve the safety of your floor while maintaining its natural beauty.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Mop
  • Anti-skid product
  • Paint roller
  • Furniture protectors
  • Belt or hand sander
  • Varnish or wood floor sealer

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  1. 1

    Clean your floor with a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water. Apply this solution using a soft mop, and avoid "flooding" the wood with water. Let the floor dry naturally, or wipe it with a clean, damp mop if there is a lingering vinegar odour. Vinegar will not leave a slippery build-up like many floor cleaners and can help to remove old build-up left by other products. Depending on how much waxy build-up is on the floors, you may need to repeat this process, or increase the vinegar in the vinegar/water solution.

  2. 2

    Treat the floor with an antiskid product such as Skid Safe. While there are a variety of products on the market that prevent slipping, many contain gritty topcoats or aggregates that are unattractive on wood floors. Skid Safe is a liquid topcoat only, and has no gritty texture or noticeable aggregates. This product is painted on using a roller or brush, and has minimal impact on the floor's appearance.

  3. 3

    Place non-skid protectors under furniture legs. Furniture that moves too easily on a slippery floor is not only a problem for the floor in terms of damage, but it can also cause injury to residents and guests.

  4. 4

    Sand and refinish your floors, if you have significant wax build-up. You can hire a refinishing company to do this task, or perform the work yourself. Remove current finishes using a belt or hand sander, then finish with a light coat of varnish or wood floor sealer. Choose matt finishes rather than high-gloss varieties to prevent slipping.

Tips and warnings

  • Add throw rugs to frequent paths of travel, such as entrance ways and at the base of stairs. Use non-slip rugs or under-pads to keep these rugs in place.
  • Before applying a non-skid product to your floor, do an inconspicuous test patch to be sure the look and effect works for your needs.
  • Avoid treating floors with wax or glossy varnishes and sealers. These products reduce the friction of the floor, making it slippery. They also tend to build up over time, which can make the problem worse.
  • If you choose to sand and refinish your floor yourself, be sure you follow all instructions for the sander and finishes to avoid damaging your floors.

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