How to Waterproof Wood Floors

Although you might get by with untreated hardwood floors for a while, if you waited for too long, they’ll swell and rotten. Even if you were keen to wipe up any spills as fast as possible, you wouldn’t always be free for pet accidents, air conditioner leaks, or even tracked-in snow whenever you make it home after a long day at work or when someone comes over.

That said, no matter how long you postpone waterproofing your wood floor, you’ll have to do it sooner or later. The good news is, it’s not difficult, and if you have the right tools, you can get it done in no time, so without any further ado, let’s get right into it. 

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How to Waterproof Wood Floors

If you waterproof your floors, you’ll buy yourself some peace of mind because you wouldn’t worry much about accidents and splashes done by your kids or pets. Moreover, you won’t need to spend much money on repairing your floors after water damage. 

In this part of the article, we’ll tell you the easiest way to waterproof your floors, but first, let’s take a look at the material you’ll need. 

Necessary Tools: 

  • Polyurethane or urethane fillers
  • A paintbrush 
  • A vacuum 
  • A broom
  • Sandpaper

A Step-by-step Guide to Waterproofing Wood Floors

Before you get into the process, it’s worth mentioning that waterproof floors are quite durable, and while it’s a positive thing, one must bear in mind that they won’t be changing them for a while.

In other words, you’ll be stuck with the pattern you choose for quite some time, so don’t rush into picking up a style. Instead, take all the time you need to end up with an authentic design that stands out and shows off your furniture. 

1. Repair and Clear the Floor

Start by removing all the furniture out of the room. Use the broom to mop the floor and work on a clean surface to get a smooth finish. If you’re considering changing the type of wood or fixing it, you should do it before jumping to the next step.

2. Sanding 

Sanding is crucial before applying any products on your floor, particularly if you just revamped your floor. Always start the sanding process with a rough grit, then move to finer sandpaper as things even out. Once you’re done, you’ll need to clean the floor thoroughly using a vacuum cleaner.

3. Apply the Waterproof Material

Waterproof products are usually made of polyurethane, or less commonly, urethane. The application varies from one manufacturer to the other, but you’ll always find all the instructions on the bottle.

For the most part, you’ll have to cover the floor with several layers of waterproof material. You can use a mop at the beginning to spread the filler over a large area. However, make sure to go over it with a brush to avoid drippings and spots, as it’s essential to prevent bubbles from forming after you apply each layer. 

If you miss any bubbles or wrinkles, you can sand them away after the coat is dry before you apply the new layer.

You’ll need two or three layers at the very least. Make sure to allow enough time for each layer to completely dry before you add another one. If sanding was necessary, don’t forget to clean the floor before adding a new coat as well.

Important Tips

For the best results, make sure to check out these little tricks. 

Pick the Right Material

Waterproof materials are different from water-resistant ones, so make sure not to mix things up while choosing your materials. What you’re looking for is a material that doesn’t allow water to pass to what’s below it. 

Water-resistant materials, on the other hand, can leak some water, but not as fast as other materials as they “resist” the passage of water before eventually allowing it to reach the wood underneath. 

Choose the Right Time

Although you might have been planning to waterproof your floors for a while, it’s better to put it off for a while until the weather is right. Always choose warmer days or breezy ones because they allow the finish to dry faster and more evenly. 

High humidity, though, traps moisture between the layers and makes it harder for the coating to dry, so applying the waterproof material will take longer than expected, and you might end up with some bubbles anyways. 

Work in a Safe Environment

Urethane has such a strong odor that’s quite offensive and potentially dangerous. The room you’re working on should be well-ventilated, and you should always wear a respirator while working. 

Some materials are too strong that the smell lingers in the air for weeks; in such case, you better move out for a week or so until it’s safe to move back in. Actually, it’s better if you hire a professional with such materials to avoid any hazards that might put your life on the line!

Plan Things Out

There’s one mistake that many fall into on their first attempt, which is starting from the wrong spot and ending up walking across the room to get to the door, thus, stepping on the filler they just applied and consequently ruining their work. 

Instead, always start at the furthest point from the door and work your way towards the door to avoid any hassle.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, waterproofing the floor isn’t a complicated task. If you’re having trouble picking the right material or if you think you can’t handle it, you can always ask a pro for help. Regardless, if you decide to do it yourself, just follow this guide, and you’ll be good to go.