Can Vinyl Flooring Be Used Outdoors?

Vinyl is one of the most waterproof flooring materials. Because the top layer is nonporous, it doesn’t absorb much water and stands up to the wettest environments. Therefore, you might wonder, “Can vinyl flooring be used outdoors?”

Why Install Flooring Outdoors?

When you think of outdoor flooring, you might picture pavers, flagstones, concrete or brick—some of the materials that typically make up a patio. But some people want to make their outdoor environment feel more like an extension of their home. In that case, you might want to consider some different flooring options to breach that transition.

You might consider vinyl flooring as an attractive and functional option for your outdoor spaces. It provides a comfortable surface underfoot, warms the space visually and protects the surfaces beneath it from rain and moisture. Vinyl stays cool in warm temperature and is softer to walk on than stone or ceramic tile. It also can’t give you splinters, like wood flooring can.

But you probably wouldn’t want to install vinyl flooring outdoors over an uncovered patio. If vinyl is exposed to direct sunlight, rain and all of the other factors that the weather brings, it may not last very long. Therefore, you might be able to install vinyl flooring outdoors if the area is protected from the elements. 

Some locations that might be perfect for outdoor vinyl flooring include:

  • Sunrooms
  • Screened-in porches
  • Covered porches, patios and decks
  • Sheds

Understanding Vinyl Flooring

There are several types of manmade flooring, including laminate, engineered hardwood and vinyl. Each of these is made with layers of different materials that are fused together to produce a plank, tile or sheet of flooring. Whereas laminate and engineered hardwood include wood products, which are porous and absorb moisture, vinyl is made almost entirely of water-resistant materials.

The rigid core of vinyl flooring is typically made of one of the following materials:

  • Wood plastic core or wood composite core – This is made of a combination of PVC, a type of vinyl, and wood dust. It provides strength and some water resistance.
  • Stone plastic composite – A blend of PVC, stone, limestone or cement particles and plasticizers, this type of core is strong, stable and water resistant.

The top layer of vinyl flooring is the wear layer. This is a clear coating that is applied to the surface of the material to protect it from spills, scratches and other types of wear. Read the manufacturer’s description to learn more about the layers on a vinyl floor that you intend to install outdoors. You’ll need a product that’s highly resistant to moisture as well as sunlight. Some types of vinyl have thicker, more protective wear layers than others.

Understanding Your Outdoor Area

There are three main challenges to installing vinyl flooring outdoors:

  • Sunlight
  • Heat
  • Water
  • Temperature changes

Before investing the time and money to lay vinyl outdoors, you should evaluate the condition of the space. Take some time to watch what happens in different weather conditions. Does water pour onto a certain spot? Are there puddles after a rainstorm? 

Vinyl flooring isn’t designed to withstand high levels of moisture. A plume of water coming from the gutter can quickly work its way into the seams of the material, affecting its bond with the subflooring and creating mold and mildew problems. Standing water can generate mold growth on the surface, which quickly becomes slippery and unattractive. Snow buildup also promotes moisture damage.

Sunlight can also destroy the vinyl. UV rays fade the finish and make the vinyl brittle over time. Therefore, unless your outdoor area is shaded, vinyl flooring may not be the best option. 

Heat from grills and outdoor fireplaces also affects vinyl flooring. It can scorch the finish, creating blisters and discoloration. You may not want to install vinyl flooring in areas where you’ll be burning wood or charcoal. 

Vinyl flooring is best used in temperature-controlled spaces. Therefore, you would have better results installing it in a sunroom that has heat and air conditioning than around your outdoor hot tub. Vinyl expands when it’s exposed to heat and contracts when it’s cold. 

Extreme, frequent shifts in temperature can make the vinyl crack and gap at the seams. Temperature changes can also reduce the adhesive bond that secures the vinyl to the substrate.

If you decide to use vinyl flooring outdoors, you can easily replace planks and tiles as they become damaged. But you may have trouble matching the finish. Outdoor vinyl is likely to change in color and texture as a result of its exposure to the elements. A new piece might stand out like a sore thumb. 

Can You Install Vinyl Flooring Over a Deck?

If you want to make your deck look more formal, you may have considered alternatives to traditional decking material. Many people wonder if they can install luxury vinyl planks (LVP) or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) over a deck. 

This is not recommended unless the deck is protected by walls and a roof. In fact, many manufacturers indicate that you should not install LVP or LVT outdoors. Doing so may void the warranty. 

However, there is a wide variety of vinyl deck products that are intended for this type of use. These are designed to withstand exposure to sun, heat, rain and snow. Vinyl deck boards look like wood but are nonporous and won’t rot in wet climates. 

Vinyl decking membranes are waterproof sheets that cover existing decking materials. They provide a waterproof surface and are printed in a variety of colors and designs for an attractive look.

Downsides to Using Vinyl Flooring Outdoors

It’s tough to find a completely waterproof outdoor flooring solution that’s not too hard or slippery. Every type of flooring, including wood decking, has pros and cons for use outside. But vinyl may have more disadvantages than benefits. 

  • Moisture damage to your home – Vinyl collects water. If it’s not installed properly, it could direct rainflow to the foundation of your home, creating serious structural issues. If it’s installed over a deck with an exposed underside, it can trap moisture underneath and rot the joists.
  • Damage from high traffic – The surface of vinyl is much softer than stone, tile or even wood. It’s not compatible with patio furniture. Dragging heavy chairs with sharp metal feet across outdoor vinyl flooring will create scratches and dents. Lawn care equipment can create ruts and discoloration.
  • Adhesion problems – It’s difficult to securely bond an outdoor vinyl floor to the underlayment. The elements impair the action of the adhesive, and the vinyl can easily tear away. This creates falling hazards for anyone who wants to enjoy your outdoor space.
  • Trouble finding a contractor – You may not be able to find a professional to install indoor vinyl in an outdoor area. However, this is a relatively affordable and easy job to do yourself. If you’re willing to risk the drawbacks of using vinyl flooring outdoors, feel free to experiment. 

Alternatives to Outdoor Vinyl Flooring

There are better options than vinyl for outdoor spaces. Hardwood is a classic choice, but it’s not the most water-resistant material. If safety is important, you might want to install plastic pavers around hot tubs and pool areas. These control moisture and have a non-slip surface. Poured concrete can produce surprisingly attractive designs. Stone and tile are likely the most weather-proof outdoor flooring materials that will stand up to the weather as well as heavy use.

Using Satin vs Semi Gloss Polyurethane Finish on Floors

In the movie “Annie,” Miss Hannigan demands floors “that shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.” But do you really want your floors to have such a dazzling surface? Polyurethane is a popular finish for hardwood floors because it seals them and adds waterproofing. The clear finish also brings out the rich nuances in the wood’s tone. 

But all polyurethane isn’t created equal. In addition to choosing between oil and water-based polyurethane, you’ll need to choose the level of gloss. Two of the most popular are satin and semi-gloss. Learn more about these two sheen options to select the product that makes your floors shine exactly the way you want them to.

Satin vs Semi Gloss Polyurethane Finish on Floors

Most polyurethane for hardwood flooring comes in the following sheen levels:

  • Matte
  • Satin
  • Semi gloss
  • High gloss

Matte and high gloss are not the most popular because they are on the extreme ends of the spectrum. People usually choose matte finishes when they want a completely natural or rustic look. They want to seal the hardwood without changing its appearance. High gloss is often used to make a unique statement. 

Satin and semi gloss finishes fall in the middle, offering more balance. Therefore, they’re also the most common polyurethane finishes.

Satin Polyurethane Finish

Satin is not completely matte. It adds a muted sheen to the hardwood beneath without producing any glare. Think about the way that satin fabric reflects light—it offers a glowing, diffuse luster. Polyurethane with a satin finish has a similar effect. A satin finish has about 40% luster.

It contains a significant amount of flattening paste, which absorbs light and minimizes reflections. However, satin polyurethane doesn’t have as much flattening paste as a matte product. Therefore, it doesn’t look dull.

Semi Gloss Polyurethane Finish

Semi gloss has even less flattening paste than satin polyurethane. Therefore, it offers more of a brilliant sheen. It doesn’t have the liquid look of a high gloss, but it definitely glistens in certain light. 

A high gloss polyurethane has about 70% luster. Semi gloss sits at about 55% luster. It’s not as slick or shiny as a bowling alley lane, which has a high gloss finish. 

What’s the Biggest Difference Between Satin vs Semi Gloss Polyurethane Finish on Floors?

Besides the level of gloss, the biggest difference between satin and semi gloss polyurethane is their ability to hide imperfections and dirt on the floor. Because semi gloss reflects light so well, it creates bright spots that contrast with dark shadows. On a bright day, you may see every speck of soil that your dog tracks into your house. Plus, scratches and inherent imperfections in the wood may look more noticeable.

Satin finishes have a lower level of contrast when it comes to light reflections and shadows. Therefore, satin polyurethane blurs the particles and scratches that mar the surface. You won’t notice them so much, especially in bright light.

Is a Satin Finish Easier to Clean?

Both satin and semi gloss polyurethane dry to a smooth, seamless finish. Therefore, they’re both resilient and easy to clean. 

But you might need to clean a semi gloss floor more often than satin. If you hate seeing dust and dirt, you might hate the way that semi gloss finishes highlight every particle that settles on the floor. Moreover, scuffs, footprints and other damage will be noticeable because they’ll disrupt the continuous reflective surface. 

Still, the best way to maintain floors finished with satin or semi gloss polyurethane is to keep them free of debris. Sweeping with a broom, dry mop or microfiber towel every day or so prevents abrasive particles from scratching and scraping the surface. Even if you don’t see this happening, the wear and tear can erode the finish, diminishing its ability to protect the hardwood.

Is Satin or Semi Gloss Polyurethane More Durable?

Some people believe that semi gloss is harder and more durable than satin polyurethane. It resists scratches and dents better. However, both are extremely protective when they’re applied correctly. 

To ensure that you get the best, most resilient results when applying polyurethane finish to your floors, take these guidelines into account:

  • Choose a high-quality product.
  • Make sure that the polyurethane is cleared for use on your type of flooring.
  • Prepare the wood properly; the finish will only end up as smooth as the wood beneath it.
  • Sand each coat of polyurethane before applying another one.
  • Completely remove sanding dust to prevent the polyurethane finish from becoming cloudy.
  • Avoid shaking the can of polyurethane to prevent bubbles in the finish.
  • Control dust and flying insects in the space until the polyurethane has completely dried.
  • Apply several thin coats instead of a few thick ones.
  • Check your work by shining a light across the surface. Fix blemishes and discoloration while the finish is still wet.
  • Don’t apply water-based finish over oil-based finish.

Oil-Based vs Water-Based Polyurethane

When it comes to durability, the ingredients in the polyurethane may matter more than the sheen. This product comes in oil and water-based formulas. 

Oil-based polyurethane requires fewer coats than water-based finish. Whereas you may only need to apply two or three coats of oil-based polyurethane, the same project might require at least four coats of water-based polyurethane.

Therefore, if you want to simplify the job and add extra protection to your floors, you might want to go with an oil-based product. But oil-based polyurethane is stinkier and dries slower than water-based polyurethane. 

Many DIY renovators use water-based polyurethane for its ease of cleanup, minimal odor and fast drying time. This is often preferable for a busy household. But oil-based polyurethane contains more solids and dries to a harder finish.

Oil-based polyurethane also brings out the warm glow of the natural wood better than water-based products. That may be preferable, but you also might want to avoid using it on cool-toned woods, such as birch. It’s also important to note that water-based polyurethane looks milky in the can but dries clear. 

Whether you choose oil or water-based polyurethane, you can still opt for the sheen preference that you desire. Make sure that you care for your floor according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to prevent white film on your hardwood floors and maintain the sheen for as long as possible.

Satin vs Semi Gloss Polyurethane Finish at a Glance

If you’re still not sure which finish to apply to your hardwood floors, read through the lists below that highlight the characteristics of satin vs semi gloss polyurethane finish. 


  • Better for casual settings
  • Requires less maintenance
  • Less slippery than semi gloss
  • Hides imperfections but is more vulnerable to scratches
  • No footprints when you walk across it

Semi Gloss:

  • Ideal for formal environments
  • Highlights imperfections and therefore requires more cleaning
  • Has a slippery surface, especially when wet
  • Highlights imperfections but is more resistant to surface damage
  • Shows visible footprints from shoes and bare feet

In sum, satin and semi gloss polyurethane are appealing finishes for hardwood. They provide adequate protection and have low maintenance requirements. Most people choose semi gloss for a bold or formal aesthetic in low-traffic areas. Satin is probably the better choice for a busy room with kid and pet traffic. But this doesn’t mean that satin can’t be formal. A satin finish provides a neutral backdrop for any decor.

Should You Choose a Floating Floor vs Glue Down Flooring?

If you’re looking into engineered wood, luxury vinyl plank or laminate flooring, you have the option of floating floors vs glue down flooring. Both are relatively easy to install yourself and don’t require extensive equipment. Understanding the differences as well as the pros and cons of each can help you choose the right type of floor for your space.

What is a Floating Floor vs Glue Down Flooring?

If you want them to last a long time, your floors must be installed securely and properly. But that doesn’t mean that your floors need to be attached to the subfloor. Some types of flooring come in rigid planks that snap together to create a solid surface. 

Floating Floors

Floating floors use a tongue-in-groove mechanism to lock the planks together like puzzle pieces. This creates a tight bond that holds the floor together without the need to attach it to the subflooring. 

The entire surface of the floor is trimmed carefully to fit within about ¼-inch from the perimeter of the room. When you cover the gap with shoe molding, it creates room for expansion and contraction while keeping the entire floor in place.

Types of Floating Floors

There are three main types of floating floors:

  • Engineered hardwood – This material is made by layering different types of wood veneer together, bonding them and cutting this “sandwich” into planks. The top layer is made of hardwood, but the other layers may contain plywood and other types of pressed wood. It looks just like hardwood and may even be stronger, but it can’t be sanded down as completely as hardwood flooring.
  • Laminate – Laminate is made of layers of pressed wood and high-density boards. But instead of wood, the top layer is generated with a high-resolution image on melamine that can mimic just about any flooring product. The rigid flooring is also sealed with a wear layer to protect its structure and appearance. You can’t sand down and refinish laminate floors.
  • Luxury vinyl – You can purchase luxury vinyl floating floors as planks or tiles. These contain several layers of vinyl, fiberglass and other plastics. Like laminate, luxury vinyl also has a layer with a printed image that can look like wood, ceramic or stone. 
  • Engineered vinyl – Engineered vinyl planks are a hybrid of laminate and luxury vinyl. The core is a wood or stone polymer composite, and the decorative layer is made of vinyl. The wear layer is a plastic coating that’s more durable than the wear layer on luxury vinyl planks.

Glue Down Floors

Glue down floors come in sheets, tiles or planks that adhere directly to the subfloor. Some require you to use a separate adhesive, which should be designed for use with your specific flooring material. Other glue down floors have adhesive on the underside of each section, allowing you to install them like giant, durable stickers.

Types of Glue Down Floors

There are primarily two options for glue down floor materials:

  • Engineered hardwood – Although this material is available as a floating floor, it also comes with the option to glue or nail it to the substrate.
  • Vinyl – While you can install some luxury vinyl planks using adhesive, you can also glue down sheets or tiles of vinyl. This material is softer and more flexible than luxury vinyl planks and comes in hard-set or pressure-set options. Hard-set requires you to apply a separate adhesive and wait for the glue to dry after installation. Pressure-set has a peel-and-stick backing that bonds as you put weight on it.

Pros and Cons of Floating Floors

Floating floors come in several different materials and give you plenty of design options. There are several advantages to choosing a floating floor. However, there are a few disadvantages.


  • Easy installation helps you save money
  • Replace damaged planks without tearing up the whole floor
  • Expands and contracts in response to temperature and humidity without warping
  • Ideal for installing over existing flooring
  • Work well with floor heating systems


  • Planks are not interchangeable with other types and manufacturers; the click-and-lock mechanisms are proprietary
  • May sound or feel hollow as you walk on it; this can be resolved by installing a thin layer of foam beneath the flooring
  • Quick to show signs of wear in high-traffic areas
  • May need to be replaced more frequently than glue down floors

Pros and Cons of Glue Down Floors

There are quite a few reasons why you might choose glue down floors over floating floors. These are the benefits and drawbacks of glue down flooring.


  • Doesn’t require a vapor barrier
  • Quiet to walk across
  • Doesn’t feel hollow or spongy underneath
  • More stable in heavy traffic areas
  • Better than floating floors for large rooms


  • May shift or gap as the house settles, expands and contracts
  • Takes longer to install than floating floors
  • Harder to repair small areas without affecting the rest of the floor
  • Strong adhesive odor during installation
  • Adhesive can ooze out the seams, leaving a film on the surface

Can You Glue Down a Floating Floor?

Floating floors are not intended to be glued down. In fact, certain adhesives can damage floating floors. Because floating floors are designed to allow for expansion and contraction, gluing them down can make them crack, warp and buckle. 

However, some materials are available as floating or glue down flooring. For example, you can find vinyl tiles that are designed to be glued to the substrate. Those don’t have the click-and-lock mechanism, though.

In rare cases, you may need to glue down click-and-lock floating floors. This may be a last-ditch solution when:

  • You have a squeaky spot in your floating floor that isn’t remedied by adding padding underneath
  • Your floating plank floor is in an area that gets wet and you want to seal the seams between the boards
  • You feel too much movement beneath the boards as you walk; this often happens on staircases

Check with the manufacturer or a flooring expert before gluing down a floating floor, though. Adding adhesive or going against installation recommendations may void the warranty.

Can You Get a Hardwood Floating Floor?

Hardwood is a bit different than engineered flooring. It doesn’t come as a floating floor option. However, you still need to decide whether to glue or nail it down. The decision often comes down to the type and condition of your subflooring. 

If your subfloor is made of concrete or chipboard, you can’t nail the hardwood to it. In that case, you’ll need to use thick flooring adhesive that allows your floor to expand and contract with temperature and moisture variations. Use a notched trowel to apply the adhesive with the proper texture to grip the boards. As you lay the planks down, press them into the adhesive. You don’t need to glue the boards together.

You can glue a hardwood floor to a wooden subfloor or you can use the secret nailing method. This approach won’t work with concrete or chipboard subflooring.

Lay the hardwood perpendicular to the existing subflooring. As you place each board, use a nail gun to insert the fasteners at a 45-degree angle on the side of the plank. Flooring nails are headless, so they’re invisible. They also have teeth on both sides so that they don’t allow the planks to lift over time. 

Which Type of Flooring is Best?

In general, the decision between a floating floor vs glue down flooring comes down to your budget, installation expertise and preferences. Within each category, the material that you choose can affect the results. Look for high-quality materials and install them properly for a floor that can withstand every step you take.

How Much Does Travertine Tile Cost Per Square Foot?

If you’re looking into different types of tile flooring, you have likely come across travertine. This natural tile is one of the oldest building materials for its durability and versatility. Today, travertine comes in many styles and classifications. If you’re wondering how much does travertine tile cost per square foot, the price ranges from about $2 to $30, depending on several factors.


Travertine is a high-quality flooring material. However, the quality ranges greatly within the category. If you’re looking for tile with an even color and appearance, you’ll get the best results with premium travertine. Commercial grade travertine tile has more imperfections and isn’t usually sorted and sold with uniformity in mind.

Premium Travertine

Because premium tiles are the most popular, most flooring companies only have this type available. The best quality tiles have a uniform design with no blemishes or discoloration. This is the smoothest type of travertine. Only tiny pits or holes are permitted to qualify for this category. Still, indentations are filled and finished manually to give the appearance of perfectly smooth stone.

Premium travertine tiles cost $5 to $30 per square foot.

Standard Travertine

Standard travertine tiles look very similar to premium travertine. They have a uniform thickness and minimal imperfections. While these tiles shouldn’t have black or gray blotches, they may have some swirls or variations in the design. Standard travertine tiles are also allowed to have deeper and larger holes. Still, these divots are filled to provide a smooth surface. 

Standard travertine tiles cost $5 to $15 per square foot.

Commercial Travertine

There are fewer restrictions on commercial travertine than other quality levels. Therefore, these tiles can have a great deal of variation in the color and design. Commercial travertine is not always cut perfectly, delivering variations in thickness and edge structure.

These tiles may also have large holes, which can make the stone look like a sponge. Although the pores may be machine-filled, delivering a smooth appearance, the filler detracts from the overall quality and durability of the natural stone.

Commercial travertine tiles cost about $2 to $4 per square foot.

Travertine Tile Cut Type

Travertine is cut into blocks when it is mined from the earth. Those chunks are cut into slabs to create different types of travertine tile flooring and other products. The way that the travertine tile is cut affects its appearance, longevity and price. The same stone can be cut in different ways to deliver distinct looks.

Cross-cut travertine is becoming more popular than vein-cut travertine. Therefore, you can usually find it in a wide range of prices. Because vein-cut travertine is not as common, it may be more expensive. 

Vein-Cut Travertine

Vein-cut travertine is cut along the natural planes where the veins are created. This produces a rich visual effect, with subtle lines running parallel to one another. These lines are slightly darker than the background, but the level of contrast varies. However, the slight undulations in the veining evoke the appearance of wood grain. 

This cut offers the most uniformity between tiles. Vein-cut tiles complement one another and give your floor a continuous look without distracting breaks in the pattern.

Cross-Cut Travertine

Cross-cut travertine is sliced across the veins. It results in a flowery, organic pattern that varies from tile to tile. Cross-cut travertine looks more like marble than wood. The subtle patterns meld together in a cloud-like motif. Some veins may appear, but they don’t dominate the design.

Because every piece is different, this flooring doesn’t have the symmetrical appearance that vein-cut travertine does. However, it does create a more seamless look than vein-cut travertine when you lay the tiles next to each other.


The color can tell you a lot about the quality of travertine tile. Most natural travertine has warm, golden tones and almost no blue, black or gray spots. The most in-demand colors are cream, tan and amber. You can find these colors in just about every price range.

However, there are some unusual colors, such as blue, which is a light ivory color with a cool, bluish-gray tint. This color is reminiscent of marble. But there are a few advantages to choosing blue travertine over marble flooring. Although both are natural materials, travertine is more durable. Moreover, travertine usually costs less than marble. You can often save up to 50% per square foot by choosing travertine over marble flooring. Still, unique colors, such as blue travertine, tend to have a higher price tag than more common shades.

Black travertine is a striking color for this type of flooring. Also known as silver ash travertine, this shade combines hues like deep silver and charcoal with contrasting threads of white and gray. It infuses every space with a luxurious atmosphere at a similar price as other high-quality travertine tiles. 

Types of Finishes for Travertine Tile

The type of finish refers to the way that the surface of the travertine is polished or sealed. This can influence the final price. Therefore, you should ask about different finishes within your desired color range.

Travertine has an inherently weathered appearance. The most natural-looking stones are often used as pavers outdoors. For indoor use, many homeowners and decorators choose a more refined surface.  

  • Polished travertine – To obtain this modern finish, manufacturers fill the holes and buff the surface. This is the glossiest finish, but it’s also quite slippery. It’s not recommended around bathtubs or swimming pools.
  • Honed travertine – This common finish is much more matte than polished travertine. Because the pits are filled, it has a smooth surface. But it’s not as glossy and can be used as flooring in any room.
  • Brushed travertine – To achieve this finish, the stone is mechanically brushed with stiff bristles to create a textured surface that’s not quite as rugged as tumbled travertine.
  • Tumbled travertine – The most rustic finish, tumbled travertine is extremely textured. It’s not usually used for indoor flooring, but it’s a unique option for a shower or fireplace surround.

Polished travertine costs the most per square foot, whereas tumbled travertine has the lowest price.

How Much Does Travertine Tile Installation Cost?

The cost of travertine tile installation is about $30 to $70 per hour. Because most travertine tiles are not sealed, you will have to decide whether to add a sealant to prevent stains. This is not always recommended. However, if you choose to seal the tiles after they’re installed, expect the price of the project to be higher.

Some other factors that can increase the overall cost of the job include:

  • Repairing or adding new subflooring – $2 to $7 per square foot
  • Adding grout or mortar – $1 per square foot
  • Renting a wet saw – $75 per day
  • Sealing the surface yourself – $35 per quart

How to Choose the Best Travertine Tile for the Price

The cost of a home improvement project can quickly max out your budget. Therefore, it makes sense to save money where you can. No matter how much travertine costs per square foot, you can ensure that you’re purchasing a high-quality product by following these guidelines:

  • Make sure the tiles are cut square.
  • Look for travertine that has been filled with an epoxy or resin-based product; cement filler is not as durable.
  • Avoid tiles with cracked, rough or discolored edges.
  • Typically, fewer black or gray marks indicate better quality tile.
  • Select tiles that are similar in color and pattern.

Protecting Your Investment

After you have installed travertine flooring, you should take steps to protect your investment. Sealing the floor will reduce its permeability and make it resistant to water damage and stains. Using cleaning products that are intended for your type of flooring and testing them before application will also ensure that your floors look great for years. Regular mopping will prevent the accumulation of grime and dirt, reducing wear and tear on the finish.

How to Repair Carpet Damage by Pets

Pets are one of flooring’s worst enemies, and carpet is one of the most susceptible types of flooring to pet damage. Carpet’s absorbent nature makes it vulnerable to toilet-training accidents. Sharp claws can also damage the carpet’s fibers. 

Removing Pet Stains from Carpet

If your pet has a toilet accident on the carpet, it can cause numerous problems. With wet stains, moisture sinks into the fibers. If you can’t get it dry, it may become absorbed into the pad beneath the carpet. 

Although the moisture from one accident shouldn’t cause too many issues, the ammonia from the urine can create complications. As the moisture evaporates, it leaves behind this noxious chemical, which can emit lingering odors. The smell tells your pet that the spot is an ideal location for future elimination. Therefore, it’s important to clean and dry the area thoroughly.

When pets continue to soil the same area, the moisture will likely seep through the carpet and carpet pad, leaching into the subfloor. Once it penetrates this layer, it is very difficult to remedy. 

Even if you dry the spot adequately, you might have trouble eliminating the odor. Urine salts that remain in and underneath the carpet absorb moisture from the air. As that moisture evaporates, ammonia gas emanates from it, causing a noxious scent. 

Therefore, it’s vital to clean the area thoroughly, dry it out properly and eliminate stains and rings.

Dealing With Wet Stains

It’s essential to attend to a urine stain as soon as possible. As urine interacts with the oxygen in the air, it can stain the carpet fibers. This color change may become permanent if it is not cleaned immediately.

Take the following steps to handle pet stains quickly:

  • Soak up the excess liquid by blotting the carpet with a clean, absorbent cloth. 
  • Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts hot water in a spray bottle. 
  • Spray the soiled area with the solution.
  • Blot with a damp rag.
  • Use a dry cloth to remove all traces of moisture from the carpet.

If the urine hasn’t saturated the base of the carpet, don’t introduce too much water when cleaning. You don’t want to push the urine salts into the fibers. Instead, blot as you go. Consider aiming a fan at the spot to dry it completely once you have removed all of the urine. 

Managing Odor

Odors can set in when urine compounds become trapped beneath the carpet. If you have lingering odor or moisture problems from your pet’s accidents, you may need to replace the carpet pad. 

This is a more complex solution that requires the following steps:

  • Pull up the affected area of carpet.
  • Cut out the soiled pad.
  • Place an absorbent cloth under the affected area of carpet.
  • Lay the carpet back down.
  • Slowly pour boiling water through the damaged spot on the carpet without saturating it too much.
  • Blot the excess moisture from above.
  • Lift the carpet again and clean the underside.
  • Treat the carpet and underlayment with an enzyme cleaner. 
  • After the carpet and flooring dry, replace the carpet pad
  • Re-stretch the carpet.

In extreme cases, the urine may saturate the underlayment. If it is completely dry, you may wish to apply an odor barrier to prevent any lingering scents from making their way into your space. You should replace the underlayment if it shows signs of rot or mold growth.

Eliminating Stains

Some pet accidents are messier than others, creating unsightly stains. When cleaning up after your pet, remove solid messes without pushing them into the fibers. After you have removed as much waste as possible, use the following methods to eliminate stains:

  • Sprinkle baking soda on the stained area.
  • Spray the spot with a solution of 50:50 vinegar and water. 
  • It will become foamy; allow the solution to sit for 15 minutes.
  • Blot the area with a damp cloth until you have removed all traces of baking soda.
  • Dry the carpet with an absorbent towel.

Fixing Snagged Fibers

Cats are notorious for using carpets as scratching pads. Dogs with long nails can snag the fibers as they run and play. It’s frustrating when you notice that a patch of carpet looks rough. If the problem is serious, you’ll notice long, floss-like strands emanating from the pile.

Here are some methods for fixing a snagged carpet:

  • If one or two loops stand taller than the rest of the carpet but are still intact, try pushing them down at the base using a narrow tool, like a screwdriver. Use a small dab of hot glue to keep them in place.
  • If a loop has become torn and is sticking straight out of the pile, trim it flush with the rest of the carpet using sharp scissors.
  • If the damage is extensive and long, plastic-like threads are dangling out of the carpet, you may need to patch the rug. Trim the strands or the time being, and follow the instructions in the next section for patching the area.

Sometimes, the snag occurs at the seam. You should be able to correct it by following these guidelines for hiding carpet seams.

When a pet has created more damage than a simple snag, you may need to patch a section of carpet. Installers often leave behind scraps for this purpose. 

  • Using a sharp utility knife, cut away the damaged part of the carpet.
  • Place the section that you removed on a piece of paper or newsprint. Alternatively, you can place it on the missing section of carpet.
  • Trace the edges of the area that needs to be repaired.
  • Cut out the template. Place it on the new carpet, and trace around the edges.
  • Cut the new carpet to the correct shape.
  • Clean the area beneath the carpet, if necessary.
  • Apply double-sided carpet tape to the underlayment, and adhere the new carpet segment to it.

Dos and Don’ts for How to Repair Carpet Damage by Pets

As you tackle the job of repairing pet-related carpet damage, follow the guidelines below for the best results.


  • Vacuum after cleaning and drying the carpet to remove lingering soil or cleaning product
  • Vacuum before cleaning dried pet stains to remove solid waste
  • Rub the carpet gently, using linear movements, for stubborn stains
  • Use enzyme cleaners to combat the compounds in pet fluids that cause odors
  • Consider installing carpet tiles, which can be replaced easily if they become soiled
  • Provide scratching posts for cats so that they don’t claw the carpet
  • Place something heavy over the towel that you use to blot the carpet dry


  • Use a steam cleaner — Heat sets the stain and locks in odors
  • Scrub the carpet with too much pressure to avoid damaging the nap
  • Soak the carpet with water unless you’re lifting it and can dry the area underneath
  • Use commercial spot removal products that are not intended for pets. These may lock in the stain, making it permanent.
  • Use a carpet cleaner until you have blotted away as much of the mess as possible

Sometimes, old pet stains can reappear even though you have cleaned them. This usually happens because some of the liquid or mess became trapped in the lower fibers or pad of the carpet. In these cases, it’s best to replace the carpet or repair that section. If you have pets, you might think about replacing your carpet with an easy-to-clean, water-resistant flooring, such as laminate or tile.

How to Hide Carpet Seams

Carpet flooring looks great when it’s installed correctly. The good news is that carpet comes in wide widths that often span the room. Therefore, you won’t usually end up with too many seams. But even one visible seam can be unsightly. Carpet seams become even more of a problem if you’re patching an area. Learn how to hide carpet seams so that your carpet looks great for as long as possible.

Should Carpet Seams Be Visible?

When you patch a carpet or extend a carpet from room to room, you’re bound to have seams. The seam is the area where two pieces of carpet butt up to each other. In general, these seams should not be evident to the naked eye.

Some disadvantages of visible carpet seams include the following:

  • Distract from the focal point of the room
  • Attract dirt and dust
  • Risk of fraying
  • May lead to bare stripes or spots 
  • Discoloration at the seam edges
  • Creates seam shadows in direct light

High-pile carpets are better at hiding seams than smoother, low-pile carpets. But installation also plays a major role. If you want to minimize the appearance of carpet seams or repair existing problems with visible seams, keep reading.

Why Are Your Carpet Seams Visible?

The methods for how to hide carpet seams depend on the reasons that the seams are visible. Are your carpet seams visible due to one of the following problems?

Carpet Backing Delamination

Carpets have two layers of backing material:

  • Primary back – A grid-shaped layer through which the fibers of the yarn are tufted
  • Secondary back – The layer you see on the underside of your carpet

The secondary back is typically made from jute or polypropylene. It often has grid-like pattern that provides stability for the carpet. This layer is laminated to the primary back, creating a solid piece of carpet with tufting that goes all the way to the edge. 

Sometimes, the secondary backing starts to delaminate at the edges of the carpet roll. This doesn’t create a noticeable effect on the front of the rug. However, carpet that comes from the manufacturer this way should not be used as is. 

If the secondary back is loose, it will eventually create visible seams. Your carpet may also become threadbare along those lines. 

How to Fix It: In serious cases, contact the manufacturer for a replacement. Delamination at the edges often has to do with quality issues. If the problem is not severe, you may be able to bond the layers together using seam adhesive.

Unraveling Seams

If the seams are unraveling, you’ll often notice long strands of plastic-like material extending from the rug. You may even start to see tufts of fibers lying on the surface of the carpet. 

Fraying seams are usually caused by faulty installation. Either the carpet wasn’t cut correctly, or it wasn’t installed using a sealing iron. Over time, if the seam wasn’t installed  correctly, wear and tear can make the edges of the carpet begin to fray.

How to Fix It: To prevent carpet seams from unraveling, cut the carpet between the rows of tufted fibers instead of through the tufts before installation. Pressing a sealing iron against the edges of the carpet will melt the material enough to prevent any tufts from escaping. Go over the edges twice and press firmly to safeguard against this problem. 

If the seams in your carpet are already unraveling, trim them down before the problem gets worse. Use sharp scissors to snip the frayed edges to the same height as the carpet pile. Don’t pull on these strands as you cut them.

For severe fraying, try using carpet adhesive or a small amount of hot glue on the seam. Start by separating the carpet fibers and keeping them away from the seam with masking tape. Then, apply a small amount of adhesive deep into the seam. Use your fingers to twist sections of existing carpet upright, hiding the threadbare spot.

Peaking Seams

Peaking seams occur when pressure on either side of the seam makes the cut edge protrude upward. This creates visible lines wherever it happens. It’s usually caused by stretching a carpet too tightly or using a carpet iron that’s too hot.

How to Fix It: You can avoid seam peaking by gluing down the carpet or pre-stretching it. Attach the carpet seam tape to connect two pieces of rug together while it is in the pre-stretch stage. Wait for the adhesive to cool before releasing it from the stretch. Then, when you stretch it again for installation, it shouldn’t create a significant peak at the seam. Stretching the length of the seam tape harder than the surrounding carpet will also create a dip in the fabric, minimizing seam peaking.

If your carpet is already peaking at the seams, you can try to fix it using carpet seam tape. Pull up a section of carpet at the problematic seam. Lay the seam tape beneath it, using a carpet iron to secure the fibers to the tape and bond everything together. 

Splitting Seams

Splitting seams occur when two sections of carpet pull away from each other, revealing the pad or flooring underneath. This is usually caused by foot traffic or dragging heavy furniture over the carpet. 

How to Fix It: If your carpet is in good shape, you can often fix splitting seams using carpet or seam adhesive and a carpet iron. Use a seam roller or heavy weight to secure the carpet to the adhesive so that it bonds properly.

Tips for How to Hide Carpet Seams

You’re more likely to notice carpet seams than your guests. But if you want to improve the appearance of your carpet and keep it in good condition for a long time, you’ll want to use the following tips for how to hide carpet seams:

  • Choose dark-colored carpet, which hides seams better than lighter shades.
  • Line up patterns so that there is no visible distinction between sections of carpet.
  • Apply a heavy weight when gluing down carpet seams; leave it there until the adhesive dries completely.
  • Use a piece of plywood or another hard surface under the carpet when connecting two sections with seam tape. This creates a flatter base where the seams come together.
  • Don’t install seams beneath windows or in areas where strong light will cast shadows on it.
  • Make sure that your carpe iron is not too hot; extreme temperatures can cause discoloration and puckering.
  • Protect your carpets against urine accidents. The ammonia in urine causes the secondary back to delaminate from the top layer; if this happens at the seams, it can cause them to become misshapen. 
  • Consider installing a type of carpet that hides seams better, such as shag or berber.
  • Avoid moving furniture with casters along or across the seams of your carpet.
  • Don’t saturate your carpet with water or cleaning products when removing stains.
  • Use a syringe to inject carpet adhesive into tight spots beneath the fibers.
  • When joining seams, bend the carpet upwards so that the backing comes together before the top of the pile.
  • Have someone help you hold back the carpet sections while applying new tape beneath the seam.
  • Stretch the carpet parallel to the seams.
  • Glue carpet tiles directly to the floor for best results.

When you take care of your carpet seams, you’ll reduce the risk of falls and get the most life out of your carpet. Fix problematic seams as soon as possible. Failing to do so can make the problem worse.

How to Make a Tile Floor Shine

One of the most notable benefits of tile flooring is its pristine appearance. When they’re well-maintained, tile floors can create a glossy expanse that reflects light and delivers a clean, refreshing aesthetic. Shiny tiles make a room look bigger, reflect light to brighten dark spaces and clean up with a quick wipe. In this article, we explain how to make a tile floor shine so that you can maximize the benefits of this flooring material.

Sweep Them Regularly

While mopping with a wet cleaning solution can instantly bring back the sparkle in your floors, that won’t happen if you aren’t sweeping first. People and pets track in dirt daily. Dust constantly settles on the flooring. If you don’t remove these particles before wet mopping, they’ll combine with the cleaning solution and leave a dull, muddy film on the tile. 

Sweeping is essential before mopping. It should also be a daily habit. Keeping your floors clear of abrasive debris protects the shine by preventing scratches. If you don’t sweep, grains of dirt will wear away the surface of the tile. This leads to dullness that is tough to restore.

When you’re sweeping, make sure that you get into the areas where dust and dirt collect. Don’t neglect the corners or under furniture. Dirt buildup in those areas will make the floor look dull. That might not matter if the floor is hidden, but it becomes evident when you move your furniture around.

Mop the Tiles

Mopping regularly is an excellent way to make your tile floors shine. Using the proper technique when wet mopping removes dirt and soiling that leads to grime buildup and dull tiles. 

Start by going over the floor with a dry mop or broom. If you skip this step, you’ll just end up smearing dirty water around the tile. It will create a film when it dries, making your floors look dingy.

Use a cleaner that is intended for use with your tiles. A small amount of soap diluted in at least a gallon of water creates a simple and effective solution for how to make a tile floor shine. You can also purchase a dedicated product to use for cleaning your floors.

Some tips for how to make a tile floor shine when you mop it include:

  • Use a chamois cloth or rag; sponges deposit dirty water back onto the floor and into the grout.
  • Hot water cuts through grime better than cold water, allowing you to use less cleaning product to create a natural shine.
  • Work in sections, and follow a specific pattern so that you don’t miss any spots. 
  • Change the water frequently as you mop.
  • Rinse the floor with fresh water to avoid leaving residue behind.
  • Use a clean, dry rag to remove all moisture from the floor; water droplets that dry on the tile can create matte spots.

Get Rid of Grime

If you don’t mop your floor or use the wrong techniques and products, grime will build up on the floor. One sign that this residue is present is that your floor doesn’t get shinier after mopping and drying it. Your regular floor-washing detergent might not cut it; you may have to use a cleaning solution that cuts through the film.

Here are some recipes for homemade grime-busters that can bring out the shine in tile floors.

Distilled White Vinegar

White vinegar cuts through grease and grime effectively. It contains acetic acid, which eliminates soap scum, dirt, oils and mineral deposits. Vinegar disinfects and leaves behind a gleaming shine.

It’s also affordable and relatively safe to use on most tiles. Avoid using vinegar on natural materials, such as terracotta and marble. However, you can use this solution on ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Mix one cup of vinegar with one gallon of hot water. Mop the floors with this solution. Rinse with warm, fresh water before drying the tiles.

Baking Soda

This method requires you to make a baking soda paste and apply it meticulously to the surface of the tiles before wiping them clean. Start by mixing 2 to 3 cups of baking soda with ½ cup of dishwashing soap. Add warm water, a small amount at a time, to create a paste.

Apply the paste to the tiles, scrubbing gently with a soft toothbrush or cloth to remove deposits and stains. Allow the paste to sit on the tiles for about 10 minutes.

Rinse off the baking soda with a mop or rag dampened with fresh water. If you want an even better shine, dampen the cloth or mop with a solution of vinegar and water. This will make the baking soda fizz as you remove it. Follow up with a freshwater rinse before drying the tiles thoroughly.

Lemon Juice

The acidity of lemon juice works wonders for restoring shine to your floor. Simply blend some lemon juice with water in a spray bottle. Apply it to your floors, wiping them with a damp cloth as you go. Finish the job by going over the floor with fresh water before drying it. If you leave traces of lemon juice on the floor, they’ll be sticky and attract dirt that quickly dulls the tile.

Deal With Stains

Your tile floor may look shiny, but surface stains can blemish the appearance. Removing stains helps to create a flawless finish that sparkles from wall to wall. You can use any of the methods above to create a cleaning solution to remove stains. Apply it by hand, using a toothbrush or sponge to work the stains away.

Waxing a Tile Floor to Restore Shine

Wax creates a clear layer over tile flooring, which protects the surface from stains and abrasion. It can also be buffed out to a glorious shine. 

Because you can’t wax every type of tile, you should check with your flooring manufacturer before using this method for how to make a tile floor shine. Follow the instructions on the product to get the best results.

If you have been waxing your floors and they still seem dull, consider stripping the wax and refinishing them. You could also use a buffer to make the surface shine.

What About the Grout?

Dingy grout can spoil the appearance of any freshly cleaned tiles. Prevent them from becoming dingy by sealing the grout when the tiles are installed. If the grout has already become discolored, try cleaning it with a baking soda paste and toothbrush. More stubborn stains and efflorescence may come off with a steam cleaner. 

In severe cases, you may need to re-grout the tiles. Sealing the floor properly after this project will help it retain its shine.

How Shiny Will Your Tiles Get?

Not all tiles are meant to be shiny. Natural materials, such as terra cotta, aren’t glossy. Even ceramic and porcelain tiles may have a matte finish. Unless you seal them with a glossy coating, these materials will never have a glass-like appearance. 

Therefore, when you’re trying to make a tile floor shine, remember that you can only get it back to its original state. If you’re not happy with the natural appearance of the flooring, you can often use varnish to add gloss. However, you must use the right product and technique for the material to achieve the best results. You might be better off installing a high-shine tile from the beginning.

How to Clean Sticky Floors

If you have sticky floors, every footfall can be irritating. Fibers from your socks may stay behind on the material, creating dullness and a rough texture that captures dirt and debris. You might even hear a noise every time you peel your foot up from the floor. 

Your strategy for how to clean sticky floors depends on the reason that the surface is tacky in the first place. The method is different for cleaning sticky spills vs dealing with a compromised finish.

Dealing With Sticky Spills

Maybe you spilled soda on the floor and didn’t clean it well enough. Food and beverage products that contain sugars and oils are notorious for leaving sticky residue. 

The best way to prevent this from happening is to clean spills immediately. Use a cleaner that’s designed for your flooring surface and effectively breaks up grime. Make sure that you clean the area thoroughly to get rid of the slick film that oils and other foods can leave behind.

If the stickiness is coming from an old spill, you’ll need to use more elbow grease to remove it. Follow the steps below for a basic method for how to clean sticky floors:

  • Fill a bucket with hot water.
  • Add the recommended amount of cleaning solution that’s safe for your floors.
  • Dip a mop into the solution.
  • Wring out the mop until it’s slightly damp.
  • Use gentle pressure to scrub the sticky spot off of the floor.
  • Remove cleaning residue with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Dry the floor completely.

Basic Method for Removing Stubborn, Sticky Stains from Flooring

If a regular mop doesn’t do the trick, you might need to use more pressure or a different cleaning tools to remove especially gummy stains. Use the gentest option first so that you don’t damage the finish on your flooring. 

Some steps that you can try include the following:

  • Use a rag instead of a mop; applying direct pressure with your hand may help to disperse the stain.
  • If your flooring is waterproof, leave a damp cloth over the stain for 10 to 20 minutes. The sticky substance should wipe clean more easily when it’s moist.
  • Try rubbing the spot with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or similar product. This works like an eraser and may pick up especially clingy stains. Go easy on this step. Rubbing too hard can damage the finish on certain types of floors.

Why Are My Floors Sticky After Mopping?

Sometimes, there is no clear cause for your sticky floors. You didn’t spill anything on the surface. In fact, you clean your floors regularly. Yet the entire surface feels sticky, grabbing your socks as you walk across it. If this is an issue for you, it can get worse immediately after mopping.

This type of stickiness is usually caused by the following factors:

  • Failing to rinse all of the cleaning solution residue with fresh water – Cleaning solutions work by encouraging water to bond with dirt particles. Therefore, they function best when they’re completely rinsed off. If you leave cleaning product residue on the floor, it will dry to a sticky finish that captures additional dirt and debris.
  • Allowing cleaning solution to dry on the floor – Just as soap leaves behind scum if it dries in your bathtub, cleaning solution dries to a filmy residue on your floor.
  • Using the wrong type of cleaner – Chemical cleaners can interact negatively with waxes and other finishes. Make sure that you opt for a cleaning product that’s intended for use on your type of flooring.
  • Applying too much cleaning solution – Floor cleaning products are usually so concentrated that a little goes a long way. If you use too much, you’ll have trouble rinsing it off completely, and it can build up over time.
  • Mopping with dirty water – If you don’t replace your cleaning solution frequently as you mop, you’ll end up putting dirty water back on the floor. As the soap and dirt particles dry, they’ll create a sticky film.
  • Your mop is dirty – Dirt and grime stick to your mop head if you don’t wash it thoroughly. If your mop is looking dingy and ragged, consider replacing it with a clean one.

Clean Your Floors With Vinegar

The acidity of vinegar works well for breaking down stickiness on the floor. You can mop your floor with a vinegar-and-water solution to solve the problems caused by faulty cleaning methods or spot clean with the mixture.

Learn how to clean sticky floors using the vinegar method below:

  • Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a bucket, bowl or spray bottle.
  • Apply the solution to the flooring using a damp rag or mop.
  • Alternatively, you can spray the floor with the solution. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and wipe it off with a cloth dampened with fresh water.

Avoid leaving moisture on a floor that can’t handle the dampness. You don’t want to let water sit on a hardwood floor for 15 to 20 minutes. Instead, rinse and dry the floors immediately after applying the vinegar. If they’re still sticky, repeat the process.

Dealing With Sticky Polyurethane

Polyurethane sealants can feel sticky if they’re not applied correctly. Some issues that can cause polyurethane finishes to feel tacky include:

  • Failing to let the product dry fully between coats
  • Failing to thoroughly stir the polyurethane before applying it
  • Applying polyurethane when the environment is too hot or humid
  • The layers of polyurethane were applied too thickly
  • You applied polyurethane over an old layer of varnish or wax

Once the polyurethane has been applied, you might think that there’s no way to fix the tackiness. But you have a few options.

If the finish is new, give it some more time to cure. Some experts say that if you can still smell the polyurethane, it has not cured completely. Avoid walking on it until the odor goes away and it’s hard and dry to the touch.

Running a dehumidifier can reduce moisture in the air and on the surface of the floor. This can be especially helpful during warm, humid weather.

Dampening a rag with mineral spirits and running it over the polyurethane can get rid of surface tackiness. However, you’ll need to wait a few days for it to dry before walking or placing furniture on it.

If none of these approaches work, you might need to refinish your floors. The best way to do this is to strip and sand them before reapplying the sealer. You might be able to apply a different sealer over the sticky polyurethane. However, this should be left to the experts. If you use the wrong product, it can make the stickiness worse.

Prevent Sticky Floors In the First Place

Using the proper installation, finishing and cleaning methods for your flooring is the best way to prevent tackiness in the first place. Clean your floors daily using a vacuum or broom to get rid of loose debris. Mop the floors periodically, following the instructions on the appropriate cleaning product. You’ll need to do this more frequently in high-traffic areas.

Dedicate one mop to be used with cleaning solution and another to be used for drying the floor. If you use a mop with cleaning product residue on it to dry your floors, you might make the problem worse.

How to Get White Film Off Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is one of the most popular choices for flooring because it holds up well over time. With the proper care, hardwood flooring looks great for years. However, many homeowners complain that their hardwood floors have developed a white film. Sometimes referred to as haze, this foggy coating makes floors look dull and dingy. The haze might disappear temporarily while you’re cleaning the floor with a damp cloth, but it resurfaces as soon as the wood dries.

Understanding why this happens is the key to preventing the haze. It also provides clues as to how to get white film off hardwood floors.

What Causes Film on Hardwood Floors?

Have your hardwood floors lost their luster? In some cases, hardwood floors become dull from abrasion and scratches. But in other cases, a cloudy haze forms on the surface. This is usually caused by other types of damage to the finish. 

These are some of the most common causes of white film on hardwood flooring.

Incorrect Sealing Methods

Getting the best-looking hardwood floors begins with the installation. Prefinished hardwood floors are already sanded, stained and sealed. Factory-finished boards usually have a thicker, more uniform sealant application than site-finished hardwood floors. You can walk on them as soon as you install them—no waiting for them to dry.

If you add sealant to factory-finished hardwood, you could damage the existing finish. You don’t need to apply another product over this type of hardwood.

Hardwood floors that are finished on site need to be sanded after they’re installed. Then, the correct type of sealant for the material must be applied. But there is a higher chance of making a mistake when finishing a floor on-site. 

Failing to wait for the coats to dry fully or applying the sealant when temperatures or humidity levels are extreme compromises the appearance of the coating. Improper sealing often leaves behind tiny air bubbles that create a white film on your hardwood floors.

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Poor Sealing

The best way to get white film off hardwood floors if they were sealed improperly is to sand and refinish the surface. Make sure that you remove all sawdust and reapply the finish in a climate-controlled environment.

Wax Buildup

Wax coatings provide a durable finish for natural wood. This barrier protects against moisture and abrasion. But wax can become dull and cloudy over time. If you haven’t refinished your wax floors in a while, this could be the culprit.

Also, using wax when it’s not necessary can lead to a dull, hazy finish. For example, wax interacts with polyurethane, creating  dull finish that’s difficult to reverse without sanding the floor down.

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Wax Buildup

Removing the wax buildup and refinishing the floors is usually your best bet. You’ll likely have to tackle the whole floor. Work in sections to make the project easier, using the steps below.

  • Using a soft cloth and moving in the direction of the wood grain, rub mineral spirits into the floor.
  • Repeat the previous step, replacing the cloth as necessary, until the fabric comes out clean.
  • Use the mineral spirits and a steel wool pad along the grain to get into the deeper grooves.
  • Mop the floor with hot water.
  • Dry the floor completely.
  • After all of the moisture has evaporated from the floor, refinish it with wax or another type of sealer.

Using the Wrong Cleaning Products

There are so many types of hardwood flooring cleaners on the market that it can be tough to choose the right one for your floors. Some of the products that are advertised for use on hardwood floors can create a white film. Any product that leaves residue can build up over time and conceal the true brilliance of the wood. 

In most cases, you should avoid regular use of the following types of hardwood cleaning products:

  • Paste wax
  • Oil soap
  • Furniture polish
  • Ammonia
  • Steam cleaners
  • Bleach

One way to test a hardwood floor cleaner before applying it to the wood is to test it on a glass mirror or window pane. If the product leaves streaks or residue after you wipe it off, it might create a white film when you apply it to your floors. You can also check with your flooring installer or manufacturer to identify the ideal cleaning product that won’t leave a haze.

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Cleaning Products

Although you shouldn’t use harsh cleaners all the time, you might try using ammonia or vinegar to get white film of hardwood floors if you suspect that the culprit is residue from other other products. Try the following method to remove the haze:

  • Combine one cup of ammonia with a gallon of water or half a gallon of white vinegar and half a gallon of water. (Do not combine ammonia with vinegar.)
  • Dip a rag into the solution, and wring it until it is damp.
  • Working in sections, rub the foggy area with the damp rag.
  • Follow up by rubbing the section with a rag that’s dampened with fresh water.
  • Use a dry cloth to dry the area.

Moisture Problems

Water can damage the hardwood’s finish as well as the material itself. If water absorbs into the floorboards from below, it can trap moisture between the wood and the sealant. This, process, called “blushing” or “blushing out” in the flooring industry, generates a hazy appearance. 

If you don’t clean up spills right away, they can impair your hardwood flooring too. Salts and other minerals that dry on the floor as the moisture evaporates stay behind as filmy residue. If this is the case, you’ll likely have round white spots that give the wood a mottled appearance. 

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Moisture Problems

Splashed liquids are an easier fix than blushing because they only affect the surface of the wood. Use the following method to get white film off hardwood floors that have been exposed to surface moisture: 

  • Wipe the area lightly with denatured alcohol to remove mineral deposits.
  • If the film remains after the alcohol has dried, repeat the previous step.
  • If that didn’t do the trick, sand the area lightly with 180-grit sandpaper to remove some of the sheen.
  • Reapply the same sealant that was previously used.

You should also take steps to prevent moisture damage from happening. If you notice a leak or moisture problem, have it fixed at the source. If you don’t, the white film will continue to rear its ugly head.

Wear and Tear

General wear and tear on your hardwood floors creates scuffs and minor scratches over time. These marks can dull the surface of the material, removing the luster and making it look foggy. 

How to Fix Haze Film Caused by Wear and Tear

If the damage is minor, you can often buff it out. Buffing can bring waxed or polished floors to a high shine. But even without polish, buffing with a fine-grain pad can remove abrasions and restore luster.

Should You Replace Your Floors?

It’s usually easier to refinish flooring that has been finished on site. Matching the color and finish of factory-sealed planks can be difficult. If all else fails, you can replace the affected planks. Work with a professional flooring installer to ensure that you don’t damage adjacent areas when taking on this project. You may also need to replace your floors completely if the wood has structural damage.

Can You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Flooring?

Steam mops promise a deeper clean than regular mops and instant sanitization. They effectively remove dirt and residue without the need for harsh chemicals. But steam mops are not ideal for every type of flooring. Can you use a steam mop on vinyl flooring? The answer is that it depends… 

How Do Steam Mops Work?

Learning how steam mops work can help you understand why they might not be the best option for cleaning certain types of vinyl. Steam mops operate by heating water past its boiling point in an internal reservoir. The resulting steam escapes through the mop head, which disperses the hot mist through the mop head. As the steam loosens dirt particles on the floor, the mop head wipes them up.

Here are some benefits of steam mops:

  • Cut down on cleaning time
  • Less effort spent scrubbing
  • Kill bacteria and dust mites
  • Penetrates surface pores for a deeper clean
  • Non-toxic cleaning

Why Can’t You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Flooring?

Vinyl is made of a synthetic material that is durable, water-resistant and affordable. It holds up well to spills and traffic. Therefore, you might think that it can stand up to a deep cleaning from a steam mop. 

Unfortunately, that’s not the best idea. Whether you have vinyl sheet flooring or luxury vinyl planks, you should consider the following factors before using a steam mop.

It Degrades the Surface

Vinyl flooring usually has a factory coating that protects the surface from heat, abrasion, water and fading. While this layer offers some protection, it isn’t invincible. The high heat and moisture from a steam mop can wear away this layer more quickly than usual. Then, the design layer is susceptible to reactions with the environment.

You might notice that the steam mop changes the appearance of your flooring. The high heat melts some of the materials, spoiling the design. It can also change the texture of the surface, creating bubbles, waves and lumps.

It Damages the Adhesive

The glues that hold the layers of vinyl flooring together are not intended for exposure to high heat. Therefore, when you use a steam mop, you could reduce the adhesive’s ability to hold. This may result in floorboards coming off of the subfloor, creating gaps and movement in the flooring. 

Even if the floor isn’t glued down, the adhesives within the flooring itself become compromised. This leads to peeling, lifting and wrinkling.

It Gets Into the Core

The core of a vinyl plank is composed of several materials fused together. Some are more waterproof than others. If your vinyl floors have a porous material, such as cork, within them, they’re likely to absorb any moisture that seeps in. With a steam mop, you’re essentially forcing moisture into the tiniest cracks in the material.

Over time, this causes the layers within the flooring to separate. It can also lead to mold and mildew growth, which can show up as black stains between the boards and affect your health.

It Might Smell Bad

Have you ever noticed an unpleasant odor when you try to clean your vinyl flooring with a steam mop? If so, you’ve likely heated the vinyl too much. A plasticky smell indicates that compounds within the vinyl are deteriorating from the high temperatures. A musty smell could be a sign that moisture is trapped beneath the floorboards.

It Voids the Warranty

Many vinyl flooring manufacturers include a warranty with their products, which guarantees that the material will stand up to regular use. Check the details of the warranty before cleaning the floor with anything. In many cases, damage from steam or excess water will void the warranty.

Is There a Safe Way to Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Flooring?

If you already have a steam mop, you might be tempted to use it periodically to make your floors shine. You can consider using a steam mop on vinyl flooring with the following adaptations:

  • Adjust the temperature – You might be able to do some sprucing up with a steam mop set to a low temperature and steam setting. This would be akin to mopping the floor with hot water.
  • Use a microfiber cloth – Microfiber glides over the flooring and prevents the hot mop from coming in direct contact with the vinyl. Use cloths that are in good condition, with no tears or holes.
  • Change the pad frequently – Going over the floor with a dirty mop pad simply spreads dirt and germs. Change the pad as you go to get the most effective cleaning power.
  • Move quickly – Prevent heat from building up by moving the mop continuously. Turn the machine off if you need to scrub a limited area repeatedly. 
  • Vacuum first – Remove surface debris with a vacuum, broom or dry mop before steam cleaning. Mopping with abrasive particles on the floor can scratch the vinyl.

Cleaning Vinyl Flooring Without a Steam Mop

If you have any doubt that your steam mop could damage your vinyl floors, avoid using one. There are plenty of other ways to clean and sanitize your vinyl flooring to preserve its appearance and life span. 

Vacuum and Sweep

Sand, dirt and other grit that you track in from the outdoors is an enemy to vinyl flooring. You grind it into the surface as you step on it, creating scuffs, scratches and dull spots. Eventually, this wear and tear can erode the protective layer on the vinyl, making it particularly susceptible to damage from a steam mop.

The best thing that you can do to clean your vinyl flooring is to vacuum or sweep it daily. Use a vacuum with a protective brush head, which won’t scratch the floor. You can also use a dry mop, which dusts the floor with a material that attracts dust so that you don’t spread it to other areas.

Clean Spills Right Away

Removing liquids from the floor immediately is important for preventing water damage. But you should also clean sticky, stubborn spills off of the floor right away. This prevents them from getting grimy and requiring extensive scrubbing down the road. 

You can use a diluted solution of vinegar and water or a dedicated vinyl floor cleaner to remove stubborn stains. If you keep your vinyl floors clean on a daily basis, you won’t feel the need for a steam cleaning.

Use a Damp Mop Periodically

Nothing feels as fresh as a newly mopped floor. You can use a damp mop on vinyl floors as long as you don’t introduce too much water or leave puddles around.

As for your cleaning solution, use a product that’s designed for use with your floors. Cleaners such as Pine-Sol are safe for vinyl floors. You should avoid using products with ammonia, wax or detergents. These can damage the surface of the material.

After mopping, dry the floor immediately. Standing water can trickle into even the smallest spaces. Therefore, you should remove all traces of moisture after cleaning.

Get It Professionally Cleaned

Professional cleaners who work with vinyl have equipment that safely buffs your vinyl floors to a glossy finish. If possible, ask for references or before-and-after photos to ensure that they have experience working with this material. A professional floor cleaner will also have high-powered vacuums, which remove all traces of dirt from the floor.