Get Off the Bench and Onto the Court With Restorative Care for Your Wood Floors

Get Off the Bench and Onto the Court With Restorative Care for Your Wood Floors

March is almost here, and there’s a hint of madness in the air. The gymnasium floors in your facility see a lot of traffic, this month and beyond, and whether they see championship games or high school prom, you want to keep them in the best shape possible.

That’s where restorative care comes in. More than daily or routine cleaning and maintenance, restorative care brings new life to your wood floor and ensures the safety of all those who use it. A floor refinish or restoration should be done every 1-3 years depending on the amount of traffic your floor sees, and your maintenance routine. However, before you put together a plan, be sure to check your floor manufacturer’s specifications for care.

Start With the Finish

No, we aren’t working backward. When it comes to your floor’s restoration, the first major consideration is what type of finish you want. There are two primary types of wood floor finishes, and which one you use is dependent on a number of factors.

Water-Based Finish

Water-based finishes are low in odor, self-leveling, and they dry crystal clear with excellent gloss. They’re a terrific choice if you want to preserve the original look, color, and grain of the wood.  

  • Upsides: Water-based finishes go on the floor quick and dry fast, and you can use the space the day after it dries.  
  • Downsides: Water-based finishes are more expensive per gallon, require some exacting steps to complete, and are harder than oil finishes so they may scratch more if your maintenance program isn’t up to par.  

Oil-Based Finish

Oil-based finishes take longer to apply, but it give the wood a lovely amber glow upon drying.

  • Upsides: The warmth of the wood shines through, and the finish is durable.
  • Downsides: Oil-based finishes have a strong odor and need much more drying time between coats, meaning you may need to block off the space for days or even up to a week. And if you want to show off the wood, the amber finish may not be what you’re looking for. However, you can find oil modified finishes that provide one-coat durability for mid-season re-coats.

A note about finishes: Both water and oil based finishes offer excellent durability, but the movement of the floor due to humidity can be an issue if the space isn’t climate-controlled, and oil finishes are more forgiving in this instance. Oil-based finishes have been used for decades, and many consider them to be more flexible. However, the application of water-based finishes is simpler and faster, and the cleaning industry is increasingly in favor of them. You will have to determine the best type of product to use based on your environment, maintenance schedule, and traffic the floor receives.

Seal it Up

A sealer helps protect and prolong the life of your wood, and if you’re undertaking a complete floor restoration, you’ll need to put this on between sanding down to bare wood and applying your finish. There are a number of kinds of sealer that are specific to the type of finish you’re using, or you can find a universal sealer that will work with any finish. Be sure to buy sealers that are compatible with your preferred top coat.

A few things to keep in mind: Sealer should always be applied with the grain of the wood, rather than against it. It can be used to lock in wood stain to preserve the color, or it can be tinted to eliminate a step. Floors should be sealed prior to application of lines or logos.

Keep It Clean

Once your floor is protected and back to its original shine, it’s time to clean and maintain it. This is a key step if you want to prolong the life of your finish, especially with heavy use. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you must use cleaning products that are appropriate for your floor, such as a treated dust mop and a daily cleaner. Using regular household cleaners may not only damage the finish, but they can also create slick spots that pose safety hazards for players and gym users. For a slip-free shine, you can use a cleaner for periodic deep cleaning that removes grime quickly and easily.

We hope our tips here have helped you put together a winning bracket of floor finishes and cleaning products. If you have any further questions, contact us, and we’ll help to make sure your basketball court restorative care plan is a slam dunk.

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