Best Hardwood Floor Restorers

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
254 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best hardwood floor restorers

Last Updated November 2019

While there are a great many types of flooring, lots of homeowners love their hardwood. Real hardwood flooring adds to the resale value of both new and existing homes. Not only are hardwood floors easier to clean, but they don’t harbor hidden allergens the way carpet can. What’s more, they can last decades longer than most other types of flooring.

If you are thinking of remodeling your hardwood flooring, whether to bring out the floor’s natural beauty or to prepare your home for sale, a hardwood restorer is a practical choice. Why replace when you can renew? The right product can restore your hardwood flooring, allowing you to eradicate its dull, faded, cloudy look and reclaim the beauty of the wood.

Read on to discover tips and tricks about the best ways to clean, restore, and care for hardwood floors. When you are ready to make a purchase, we’ll point you in the direction of our favorite hardwood restorer products.

Real hardwood flooring is distinctive; no two hardwood floors are quite the same, just as no two trees are quite the same. Hardwood flooring presents unique colors, grain patterns, and porosity. Using a restorer can bring out the beauty and uniqueness.

Key considerations

Timeless and beautiful, solid hardwood floors add elegance, warmth, color, and depth to a home. They also add monetary value. In fact, hardwood flooring is one of the most important architectural elements that influences a home buyer’s decision to purchase a particular property.

But over time, even with the most attentive care, hardwood floors take a beating. We drop and spill things. We drag heavy furniture about. Our pets inflict scratches and other messes.

Choosing the right product

There are a few questions to ask yourself when considering the wide array of floor refinishing products in the marketplace.

  • Are my floors heavily soiled, scratched, or stained?
  • How much time do I have to devote to the project?
  • What’s my budget?
     

The answers to the above questions will help inform your choice.

Often, it’s most practical for a homeowner to choose a multi-use floor restorer that can be applied with a mop or an automatic floor scrubber. Be sure to choose a non-yellowing formula that is UL listed for slip resistance. Read the manufacturer’s application instructions to determine if the product meets your requirements. Cost, coverage area, drying time, and ease of application may vary between products.

Floor cleaners vs. floor restorers

Whether your hardwood is the lightest shade of birch or the darkest shade of walnut, the right tools and products will make your job easy. Floor restorers and floor cleaners are both formulated for hardwood care, but they serve different functions. Floor cleaners contain detergents and solvents that loosen tough dirt and grease. Floor restorers contain polishing agents and ingredients that can fill in scratches and small nicks in the wood.

Assessing the cleanliness of your floor

If your floors are clean and well-maintained, a quick dust-off with a damp mop is all you need to do before you are ready to apply a restoring product to refresh the floor’s luster. However, if you are faced with years of accumulated grime and wax residue, it is important to thoroughly clean your floor before you apply the restoring product.

Typical household cleaners contain harsh chemical solvents that may attack your hardwood floor rather than clean it. These chemicals can cause clouding, dullness, streaking, and peeling. To clean the floor while maintaining the integrity of the wood, use only products specifically made to clean hardwood floors.

Cleaning your floor

As you prepare your floor for restoration, here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your cleaning session and your restoring product.

  • Vacuum the floor with a vacuum cleaner specifically designed for hardwood. Make sure to get into all the cracks and seams along the baseboard and in the corners.
  • Saturate a soft cotton cloth mophead with hardwood floor cleaner. Wipe away all soil and grime. Mop small areas of the floor at a time, rinsing and wringing dirt from your mophead before moving on.
  • Use a soft brush to scrub away embedded dirt and tough, sticky messes. Use very little moisture, and blot the floor dry with an absorbent rag or paper towel.
     

Allow your clean floor to dry completely before applying floor restorer. Most wood experts suggest waiting at least 24 hours. Do not apply product if the air is especially humid or it is a damp, rainy day.  If you fail to wait, it is possible to trap moisture between the floor and the restorer, resulting in a cloudy, milky, or hazed appearance.

Applying the restorer

Of course, you should follow the manufacturer’s application instructions. Here are some general guidelines.

  • Apply floor restorer with the grain of the wood.
  • Apply evenly to avoid streaks.
  • Avoid foot traffic on the restored area until the floor is completely dry.
EXPERT TIP

When cleaning and restoring your hardwood, avoid getting the wood overly wet.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Packaging

Hardwood floor restorer products are typically sold in spray, squirt, or pour bottles. Floor restorer products are available as single purchase items and in money-saving multipacks. With some products, you can purchase refill bottles.

Quantity

Liquid hardwood floor restorers come packaged in 16-, 32-, 64-, and 128-ounce containers.

  • A 16-ounce bottle covers approximately 260 square feet.
  • A 32-ounce bottle covers approximately 525 square feet.
  • A gallon jug covers about 2,000 square feet.

Colors

From ash to Brazilian cherry, floor restorers are available in a broad spectrum of wood tones. Mix or layer to achieve the desired effect when restoring your home’s hardwood floors.

Finish

You will need to choose between floor restorers formulated for all types of flooring and floor restorers designed specifically for hardwood.

An all-floor restorer is for wood, slate, tile, laminate, and vinyl. It protects, hides scratches, and shines your flooring.

An all-floor shine refresher restores shine to floors less than five years old. It’s designed for wood, laminate, vinyl, tile, and slate.

A high-gloss floor restorer is designed for hardwood and engineered wood only. It provides a bright, glossy finish.

A satin wood floor restorer is also designed for hardwood and engineered wood only. It creates a smooth, matte finish that looks much like satin.

EXPERT TIP

When applying hardwood floor restorer, apply with the grain of the wood rather than against the grain to achieve even, no-streak coverage.


Staff  | BestReviews

Hardwood floor restorer prices

You may wish to select a name brand hardwood floor restorer product with a reputation for excellence rather than risk buying a no-name brand that may leave wood floors with a dust-attracting, sticky residue. If you purchase a product with which you are unfamiliar, test it on an inconspicuous section of your floor first. 

A 16-ounce hardwood floor restorer in the low price range starts at $9 to $12 per quart. Brand name hardwood floor restorers in the middle range sell for $12 to $20 per quart. In the highest price range, expect to pay $20 or more per quart. Floor restorers here tend to have special color blends. If you make a custom order, it will likely cost a bit more, too.

If you haven’t tried a particular hardwood floor restorer product before, shop for one that offers a satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like it, it’ll be that much easier to exchange the product for another. Once you have found a product that pleases, reordering 128-ounce refills can provide considerable savings.

EXPERT TIP

When restoring hardwood floors, only use products specifically formulated for that purpose. Cleaning products may peel the finish or stain the wood.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Avoid using a stiff broom to sweep your hardwood floor, as the bristles can scratch and damage the surface.
  • Never use wax, furniture polish, furniture oil, or soap-based cleaners on hardwood, as these products are likely to inflict damage.
  • If you use a steam cleaner on your hardwood, proceed with caution. Some steam cleaners are appropriate for hardwood, but many are not.
  • To prevent scratching your hardwood, attach felt pads to the bottom of furniture, tables, and chair legs.
  • Place a protective mat beneath large potted house plants to avoid marking the floor with moisture rings.
  • Position dirt-catching door mats outside exterior entries to prevent sand and grit from getting tracked inside.
  • To prevent spills and splashes from marring your floors finish, locate mats or washable rugs in front of sinks and stoves.

Other products we considered

Pledge Gentle Wood Floor Cleaner brightens and beautifies hardwood floors while it mildly scents the air with the crisp, clean scent of lemon. Rejuvenate All Floors Restorer and Polish does more than brighten and fill in scratches on hardwood floors. It is great for cleaning and restoring brightness and shine to tile, linoleum, laminate, vinyl, and terra cotta floors. 

Howard Restor-A-Shine Wood Finish Polishing Compound is a multi-purpose floor restorer. The lightly scented polishing compound is an excellent choice for restoring furniture, floors, guitars, and more. Simply Floors Hardwood Floor Cleaner is a fine value offered in an economical four-pack. It’s perfect for large homes, offices, shops, and commercial establishments. This restorer dries quickly and leaves no residue.

Leave outdoor shoes outdoors. Tracked-in animal waste, motor oil, solvents, grease, and salt can eat away at hardwood floor finishes and leave unremovable spots, stains, and smudges that even a restorer can’t fix.
The team that worked on this review
  • Marlene
    Marlene
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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