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How to waterproof a wood floor

Updated February 21, 2017

Waterproofing a wood floor is necessary if you want the floor to retain its integrity and looks for years to come. Before modern polyurethanes were manufactured, people used materials such as oils and waxes in addition to stains to provide waterproof finishes. However, modern polyurethanes and synthetic resins are stronger, more durable and generally easier to use. A wood floor can enhance the value of a home as long as it is maintained; waterproofing is a vital step in this process.

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  1. Determine which type of finish/waterproofing you are going to use. Some typical choices include oil-modified urethane, water-based urethane and penetrating sealers. The most common choice is oil-modified urethane as it combines durability with easy of use.

  2. Choose a day with appropriate weather. It should be 21C or warmer without a strong wind. Make sure it's not raining because humidity will also ruin the finish.

  3. Clean the entire room. Then, clean it again. Any lingering dust on the floor, walls or windows will find its way onto your soon-to-be drying floor, causing an uneven and rough finish. This process will need to be repeated before additional coats of waterproofing are applied.

  4. Open some windows in the room where you will be waterproofing your wood floor. Proper ventilation will help the floor dry properly and will protect you from the fumes, which can cause headaches or even nausea in extreme cases.

  5. Apply the first coat of waterproofing/finish to your wood floor. Brush on evenly and thoroughly with a high-quality paint brush. Be sure to start at the end of the room furthest from the exit. Allow to dry and then repeat the process. Most wood floors require two to three coats.

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Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Vacuum
  • Polyurethane
  • Paint Brush

About the Author

Steve Bradley is an educator and writer with more than 12 years of experience in both fields. He maintains a career as an English teacher, also owning and operating a resume-writing business. Bradley has experience in retail, fashion, marketing, management and fitness. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and classics.

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