Guide on How To Strip & Wax Floors and its Benefits

Publish Date

July 24, 2022

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Why You Need to Know How to Strip & Wax Floors

When people think of floor stripping, most believe it is tedious and time-consuming. However, it is not as hard as you may think. With the proper knowledge and tools, you can save time and money by doing it independently. Strip & wax floors have been used for centuries as a reliable way to protect and maintain hard floor surfaces.
This article will teach you how to strip and wax floors using the traffic light method. In addition, this method will help you know when to stop stripping or waxing, so you don’t overdo it.
Stripping and waxing floors require much work, time, and patience. However, it is necessary to maintain the beauty of your flooring.
First, the practice includes removing any large pieces of dirt or debris from the floor. The next step is to use a floor stripper to remove the old finish from the floor. Finally, you will use a floor sealer to protect your newly stripped floor from staining and wear and tear that might occur in daily life.
It’s essential to know how you will strip your floors because different types of floors require various methods for stripping and waxing them.
Use a stripping agent on your chosen method. After 15-20 minutes, scrub stubborn areas with an abrasive pad or steel wool until all residue is gone. Finally, rinse everything.
A floor is the most neglected part of a home. It’s always on our feet, and we spend the most time on it, so why do we often neglect it?
Stripping and waxing floors are not just about making them look good but also about maintaining them. Understanding how to accomplish this is crucial since it will increase your home’s comfort and enable you to generate long-term financial savings.

How to Strip a Wood Floor with the Traffic Light Method

The traffic light method is a popular way of stripping a wood floor.
First, you must remove all the furniture from the room and cover surfaces you don’t want to paint on with sheets or plastic. If you like, you may cover your workspace with plastic, although it is not required.
Next, paint three stripes of paint on the floor in one direction, starting at one corner of the room and moving toward another. These three stripes should be painted at different heights to be easily distinguishable; red for the base coat, yellow for the mid-coat, and green for the top coat.
The traffic light method determines where to start and stop stripping a floor based on color. It may be used for any kind of wood flooring. Yet, older floors sometimes have more color variation than contemporary ones.
Strip the floor by following these steps. First, determine what color your flooring initially is. If it’s red, then you should strip from that point.

Stripping and waxing a floor
The traffic light method is a way to strip a wood floor with minimal effort and time.
Utilizing the appropriate equipment for the work is crucial. For instance, a hammer and chisel must be used in place of a scraper when stripping a floor of nails or tacks.
You will need essential tools for this job, like a scraper, putty knife, or paint scraper and sandpaper. The first process is to use a stripping knife to remove the old finish from the floor.
The next step is to smooth off any sharp edges and color the wood. The third step is to seal your new floor with polyurethane or wax.
This method can be used on all wood floors, including oak, pine, mahogany, and more. It’s also perfect for people looking for an easy DIY method to strip their own floors at home.
It’s important to know that the traffic light technique can be applied to all finishes, including polyurethane, shellac, varnish, or lacquer.

How to Prepare Your Floors for Waxing & Stripping

Stripping is the process of removing old paint, varnish, or other coatings from a floor surface. Waxing and stripping are two essential processes in preparing a floor for painting. Applying a protective covering to the floor is the procedure of waxing.
Stripping preparation includes removing all furniture and rugs from the room before you start stripping and waxing your floors. Once you have waxed or stripped your flooring, you should remove any items that could be too heavy to carry.
Waxing the floor is not the same as stripping it. While stripping eliminates all traces of old wax, grime, and other impurities that have accumulated on the surface, waxing protects the floor from deterioration.

Preparing a floor for stripping and waxing is a tiresome process. However, it can be done by following these simple steps.
1) Soak: Fill a bucket with water and pour dishwashing liquid or soap into it. Dip a rag or sponge in this solution and scrub the floor until it becomes soapy-clean. This will remove any dirt accumulated on the surface of your floors in between cleanings.
2) Remove: Use a scraper to remove stubborn spots like gumballs or pieces of crayon.
3) Rinse: Dump the dirty water from the bucket and rinse with clean water.
4) Dry off: Use a dry towel to blot up as much moisture as possible before drying your floors.
5) Polish: Apply a light coat of oil with a cloth or paper towel, then use another wet cloth or paper towel to wipe off the excess oil.
6) Dry your floors: Repeat steps 3-5 until the floor is dry.
Preparing your floors for waxing and stripping is a necessary process. However, before you start waxing or stripping, you should know a few things.

Waxing floors is a great way to improve the look of your floor, but it takes some preparation work to ensure that your floor is ready for treatment.
Before you wax your floors, you need to strip them first. Chemical or mechanical stripping are the two methods available for doing this. Chemical stripping involves using a chemical solution that will dissolve the finish from your floor and then scrubbing it off with a stiff brush. Mechanical stripping uses a machine that attaches to the end of an electric drill and grinds off the finish on your floor.
Chemical stripping can be more effective than mechanical stripping because it removes more layers of finish. Still, it is also more time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, knowing what kind of finish you have on your floor is essential before deciding which method.

Stripping and waxing a floor using an electrical drill

Different Ways to Strip and Wax Floors

The first method is by using an orbital sander with an abrasive pad. This will remove any old paint and buff the floor in one process. The second method involves melting the wax from the floor with a heat gun. The third method is by using a steam cleaner to strip off old paint as well as clean it at the same time.

There are many different ways to strip and wax floors. The traditional way of stripping and waxing floors is using a bucket or mop. These methods work well for smaller areas, but if you want to clean a larger area, you may need to use other methods. For instance, you may hire a machine from your neighborhood hardware shop or utilize a power washer.

One way is to use a scraper and some elbow grease to remove the old paint off your floor. Another way is to use an electric sander and apply a coat of strippers before you sand again.

Some prefer this method because it’s easier than getting the paint off with just a scraper.

There are two ways to strip old paint off a floor: 

  1. chemical stripping
  2. Heat stripping. 

Chemical stripping will require you to use a chemical stripper on the floor and apply a sealant when the paint is completely gone. 

Heat stripping will require you to use an electric heat gun on the floor until it’s completely stripped of its color.

How Often Should You Wax Your Floor?

A definitive answer to when you should strip and wax your floor cannot be given. However, the frequency of this process is mainly determined by the level of wear on your floor. Stripping and waxing your floor is a necessary task to maintain its beauty.
The degree of wear on your floor mostly dictates how frequently you should strip and wax it. If your floor has a lot of wear, you should strip and wax it more often.
Stripping and waxing a floor is not something that needs to be done every week. Instead, it’s best to do it every three months, depending on how often the floor gets used.
If you have a new floor that has been installed for just two years, then it is recommended that you strip and wax it once every six months. This will help keep dirt from accumulating and also protect the finish of your flooring.
Suppose you have a worn-out or older floor. In that scenario, since dirt has already gathered on the surface of your floor, it is advised that you strip and wax it once every three months.
A well-maintained floor will require less frequent waxing.
Waxing too often can damage the floor, so it’s best to only do this when necessary.
If there are any stains or scratches on your wood floor, you will want to strip and wax more frequently than if there are no stains or scratches.

How To Get Rid of Residue From Tile Floors for Waxing & Stripping

One of the best ways to remove residue from tile floors is using a product like instant mildew remover. This product can be used for both waxing and stripping. It is also an effective and natural way of eliminating ceramic/porcelain stains from tile floors.
The first method is by using a ceramic floor stripper and a scraper. You must apply the stripper to the residue and let it sit for about 15 minutes before scraping it off with a stiff-bristled brush. This is how you would remove wax buildup from tile floors.
The second way to remove residue from tile floors is using baking soda and water paste. Which will also work on other surfaces like marble or granite countertops, glass shower doors or bathtubs, and stainless steel sinks.
The most common residue that people will find on their tile floors is water-based residue. This is usually because the floor has been mopped with a water-based cleaner.
To get rid of this type of residue, it’s important to first identify what kind of residue it is. The best thing you can do to remove the stains if they came from a water-based cleaner is to scrape them with an acidic solution. Acidic solutions like vinegar or lemon juice are diluted with water. If your product includes both acid and bleach, you should combine it with some water and scrub the spots until they disappear.
Residue can be a big problem for anyone who tries to keep their tile floors clean. The residue left behind after cleaning is often difficult to remove and leaves the floor looking dull.
Waxing and stripping are the two methods for removing residue from tile flooring. First, you can use a chemical stripper or a natural solution like vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice.
Chemical strippers will be more effective on heavy-duty stains. Still, they also have the potential to damage your floor if not used correctly. Natural solutions are better for people with sensitive skin or allergies because they are less harsh on your skin and don’t have the same potential for damaging the flooring.

A professional waxing a corridor


Maintaining clean, shining flooring is crucial. Waxing your floors often can guarantee that they always look their best.
The floor is the most overlooked part of your home. It’s usually covered with dirt, dust, and grime. Yet, despite this, it is the most crucial component of your house since it serves as the framework for everything else.
It’s critical to maintain spotless flooring. If you don’t maintain them regularly, they will lose their luster and start to look dull. Regularly waxing your floors can help them stay beautiful for a long time and protect them from damage.
Apart from the benefits of floor waxing, waxing floors can help to reduce allergies and asthma and protect your furniture from scratches and scuffs. It prevents rust and corrosion on metal surfaces. It keeps your home cool in summer by reducing the amount of sunlight that shines through the windows.


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