How to Test the Finish on Hardwood Floors


Testing the finish of your floors helps you to better predict when it may be time to rejuvenate and refinish the hardwoods in order to avoid damage and keep them looking good as new. Read on and we’ll teach you how to test the finish on hardwood floors.

How to Test the Finish on Hardwood Floors

Before you can know how to test the finish on hardwood floors, you need to know whether you’re dealing with a penetrating finish or a surface finish. There are a couple of ways to do this.

Determine Your Hardwood Floor Finish

First, feel the surface of your floors. If you can feel the grain of the wood, the finish is probably what’s called a penetrating finish— meaning the finish is meant to penetrate into the wood after being applied.

To determine whether your floors have a surface finish, spot-test an out-of-the-way section of your floors with paint remover. If the surface of your floor bubbles, your hardwoods are coated with a surface finish and are meant to be longer-lasting. 

Water Resistance Test on Hardwood Floor

Pick the most worn-out area of your floors, like the entryway, hallway, or kitchen. Pour a few drops of water over your floors and see what happens.

If the water beads, the sealant on your floors is doing its job and shouldn’t need to be refinished in the near future. However, if the wood darkens, the finish on your floors is partially compromised and you need to keep your eye on it. 

If the water immediately absorbs and the wood darkens, your finish is no longer doing its job and your floors are susceptible to water damage. It’s a good idea to refinish them before they are further damaged and need to be completely replaced. 

Visual Test of Your Hardwood Floor

One of the most effective ways to know how to test the finish on hardwood floors is a visual appraisal of their appearance. Take a good long look at your floors in order to determine whether they’re showing any visible signs of distress or damage.

Some telltale signs include scratches, worn areas, and/or milky film. These are generally signs that your hardwood floors are in need of some attention.

Final Thoughts on Testing the Finish on Hardwood Floors

Take the time to learn how to test the finish on hardwood floors. Keeping a close eye on your hardwoods is the best way to extend their life and keep them looking their best.  Get the proper maintenance done as soon as you start seeing areas of concern.  Holding off on it can only make the repairs more expensive.

Perform these tests once or twice a year, particularly during the harsher winter months, to ensure that your hardwood finish is doing its job at protecting your floors from life’s everyday wear and tear.