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Penetrating Seals

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This finish has been widely used on residential floors. As its name implies, the sealer penetrates or soaks into the wood pores and hardens to seal the floor against dirt and certain stains. The penetrating sealer may also contain a stain to impart additional color to the flooring. These finishes may be used in all areas but kitchens and daily eating areas where frequent water contact is likely. This finish does protect from surface moisture but will stain, dull, and/or whiten if the moisture remains on it for more than a short period of time.

At the surface it delivers a low gloss satin finish that wears as the wood wears. The satin luster helps camouflage surface abuse. However, since the finish wears with the wood, eventually traffic lanes may show a lightened or dulled area. When an area does begin to show wear, it can be refinished or renewed. The renewed areas can be made to blend into the existing finish without lap marks or other obvious signs of repair.

The beauty and wear resistance of wood floors finished with a penetrating seal may be further enhanced by wax. A wax coating forms a barrier against the most frequent kind of abrasion, can be easily renewed, and imparts a soft shine to the floor.

Use wax with these two cautions: (1) the wax (liquid buffing or paste) MUST BE DESIGNED FOR USE ON HARDWOOD FLOORS and (2) don’t use a liquid that has a water base. Check the label. Some manufacturers recommend their water-base products for wood, however, our association believes only a solvent-base product should be used. Generally, solvent-based waxes will have the odor of mineral spirits.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for applying the wax and buff it well. This is done preferably with a 16-inch buffing machine available from rental companies. You may also buff small areas with a household buffer or by hand with clean cloths or pads.

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