Tutorial: take your wood floors from drab to fab

For those who don't already know, my house is on the market (anyone know of someone looking for a great home in the Philly burbs? shoot me an email!).  I don't want to talk about the process on the blog because it is All Consuming and I am doing my very best to not dwell on it at all times (which, I am sure you can imagine, is very difficult for a Type A personality like me).  In any event, the house is for sale and staged for showings and hopefully a sale, which is why I am turning my efforts to friends' and family's homes for the time being.

With that introduction out of the way, our realtor suggested that we consider refinishing our hardwood floors, saying, "if there is one project you take on, this should be it."  We have hardwoods in our living room and dining room (there is also hardwood flooring upstairs in all the bedrooms, but there is Berber carpeting over that).  I looked into refinishing and ruled it out: it is expensive and would require us to vacate the house for a couple of days and/or not use those rooms, which is impossible, since we literally do all of our living in those two rooms.  But I took my agent's advice to heart and took a hard look at my floors: they were pretty shabby.  Here they are before the process.

I decided to polish them up.  After a discussion with my friend Melissa and some Internet research, I purchased some supplies: Murphy's Oil Soap to clean and Holloway House Quick Shine Floor Finish to polish.  I also picked up a cheap sponge mop and some steel wool, all of which I picked up at my local Walgreen's.  Total cost: $20.  

First, I did a test patch of the process in an unnoticeable corner, figuring if for some reason the soap + polish combo was a disaster, at least I wouldn't ruin my floors.  Lucky for me, it worked great.  So I got to work. 

I started in the dining room and cleared out the small furniture, the table and chairs and the rug.  First, I swept the floor clean. Next, I addressed the two stubborn spots: one was just a dark spot on the floor from years of wear and tear and the other was a stain from when my son was an infant and he spit up on the floor (gross, I know and pretty amazing that a 2 month old's spit-up can create such havoc).  Here I am pointing out the two stains.

This was the most laborious part of the process and the most scary.  I used some steel wool to gently scrub off some of those stains.  I was so worried about this, but the tutorials on the Internet said this was the way to go.  It worked!  The key is to go slowly and to use a finer grade steel wool so you don't damage the floor.

Once the problem areas were taken care of, I mopped the floor with the Murphy's pursuant to the instructions on the bottle. Then, with the floor clean and dry, I squirted the Holloway House Quick Shine on the floor and used my new sponge mop to spread it around.  I let it dry for about 20 minutes and repeated the process twice [and then I repeated the process in the living room the exact same way] Note: I only repeated the polishing part of the process -- I cleaned with Murphy's just once and then used the Holloway House three times.  Here are my shiny new floors!  

In fact, I liked them so much, I decided to keep the rug out of the room for the duration of our listing. The floors are a huge selling point and why not show them off?

Don't they look amazing?  And you can hardly see the former problem areas, which blend nicely with the rest of the floor now.  I am a huge, huge fan of the Murphy's Oil + Holloway House combo and will be using it weekly from now on.  Wanna talk flooring today? What's the condition of the floors in your house?  

See you swoon,

[note: neither Murphy's Oil Soap, nor Holloway House nor Walgreen's paid or comped us for this post today]


  1. WOW! The hardwood in my foyer is pretty shabby. I usually just clean with hardwood floor cleaner and a microfiber mop, which makes it shiny for all of 2 minutes. I will definitely be trying this sometime in the near future. Question: do you have to buy a new sponge mop every time, or can you reuse one that's dedicated to the hardwood?

  2. Hi Heather! I bought this sponge mop solely for the hardwoods and will keep it as the dedicated polish mop. I'll keep reusing it on the hardwoods (and solely for the hardwoods) until it wears out.

  3. It looks great!! And I love the dr without the rug!!

  4. ok stupid question time did you use murphy's in between the Holloway's coats? you said you repeated the process twice was that clean + shine or just the application of the Haolloway's?

    I like it - going to put it on my list of things to try

  5. Hi Patti! I should have been more clear. I only used the murphy's once to clean. THen I did a coat of Holloway's, let it dry, another coat of Holloway's, repeat. Thanks for asking. I'll edit the original post. :)

  6. I really like the way these floors came out. I recently went through the ordeal of refinishing about 800 square feet of hardwood myself with my husband - http://www.christonium.com/HomeProject/refinishing-wood-floor-process-removing-carpet-sanding-finishing - and boy was that a big job! It was like endless sanding and sawdust absolutely everywhere!

    Now we hadn't moved in yet and wanted to take care of this properly, but I love the idea that you could fix up old floors like you did. Soo much easier, quicker, cheaper and your floors look great! Very useful tip!

  7. Apart from all, one type of movie you can expect to watch and that is- pregnancy movie. hardwood floors

  8. The drawback of pre-completing is that since that floor doesn't get sanded after it's introduced, there are slight knocks and plunges where the sub-floor isn't consummately level, and where the deck strips may change marginally in thickness.
    engineered wood flooring Glasgow

  9. These are minimal in excess of a mount for an electric penetrate that will enable you to turn a little bit of wood.read more