Hardwood floors are known for many features; one of them is their longevity. A hardwood floor can last decades, if not longer. One of the main reasons they last so long is the finish. When hardwood floor is laid, it can then be stained. This stain will provide a richer color to the wood and help to enhance the look of the wood grain. The final step in the installation process is to finish the floor. The floor is typically finished with polyurethane.

Polyurethane can be oil or water based. The polyurethane is a liquid that eventually dries and forms essentially a hard plastic layer on top of the wooden floor. That plastic layer will slowly degrade over time. Once it is degraded to the point of exposing the wood, the hardwood will be in danger of being damaged. To prevent the wood from becoming damaged and keep your floors looking great, you need to keep a solid layer of polyurethane. Here are some signs the polyurethane is wearing thin.

1 – The Floor is Cloudy

Polyurethane comes in several different shades ranging from matte to glossy. Even a matte polyurethane can be polished to something resembling a shine. Over time, as the polyurethane degrades, it will become scratched and scuffed. Those scratches will prevent it from taking a shine. If you sweep and polish your floor and it doesn’t shine in certain areas, you likely have thin polyurethane.

2 – It Feels Rough

You might need to test this with bare hands or bare feet. If you are walking on your floor, you might even be able to feel where the polyurethane is missing. The hard shell of polyurethane should be smooth. The actual wood surface will be a little bit rougher.

3 – You Have Warping

If you notice warping or cupping in your hardwood floor planks, you could have a problem with your polyurethane coating. The coating is designed to keep moisture out of the wood. If moisture is getting in, it could be a problem with the polyurethane. Look for the other signs of missing polyurethane on the planks that are warping.

These are just three of the signs that something has gone wrong with your polyurethane coating. Lastly, you should probably have your floors refinished about every ten to fifteen years. So, if it has been longer than that, you might need to call an expert to apply a new finish.

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