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Dec 27, 2021/Stone Care Guides

A Step-by-Step Guide to Stripping and Waxing Your Floors

strip and wax floor

Sometimes you'll need to remove old floor treatments before applying new ones. There are several ways of removing old wax, tile finish, paint, etc. Sometimes it is necessary to simply strip away the existing product. This article will give you different methods of stripping floors so that they may be freshened up with beautiful coatings. These methods can also protect your hardwood floors from damage by water stains, scratches, etc.

1.) Stripping with A Floor Scraper

Stripping or removing a floor treatment may involve scraping off large chunks of it with a straight-edged scraper whose blade width matches the grout lines on the floor. Follow any guidelines for safe scraper use that are posted on the chemical label or included in the product owner's manual. If your floor treatment is made up of only one layer, it will likely scrape away easily with a sharp four-inch wide floor scraper.

2.) Stripping with A Floor Machine

One way to strip floors is to use an electric rotary floor machine fitted with a 4" white stripping pad. This tool mixes and propels water across your floor so you can rinse the old finish away safely. Wet-stripping also helps avoid gouging or leaving swirl marks behind. The drawback of using this method is that because it uses water, you may have to apply the stripper more than once if it dries before being rinsed away.

3.) Using A Wet Vacuum

Another method of stripping floors is using a wet vacuum. This method both sucks up and washes away most finishes with little or no residue left behind on your floor. The drawback to this method is that it requires more time than the previously mentioned methods, which can be frustrating if you want to repaint or wax your floor right away. Furthermore, many people find it difficult to clean up all of the water after use.

4.) Stripping with Soft Chemicals

One way to strip floors is by specifically spraying them with chemicals designed for this purpose. These chemical products are available in either spray-on or pour-on forms, depending on what finish needs stripping. For example, wood finishes such as polyurethane may be stripped with a product such as Chemical Guys TORQ Professional Strength Stripper. This spray-on product melts and pulls the old coating away from your flooring, especially if it has been applied to the wood too thick or for too long of a time period.

5.) Using an Acid Etch

Acid etching involves applying muriatic acid with either a mop or hand applicator to your floor. The acid loosens the bond between the finish on your flooring and subfloor, which allows you to scrape it off using one of the earlier methods. Acid etching is less risky than other methods because you are not applying chemicals directly to your floors or large areas at once, but only a small amount to a specified area. This method removes an old concrete floor finish or applies a new concrete sealer.

6.) Using A Saturating Cleaning Agent

Another product that may work as an alternative to stripping your floors is Dry Rite from Uniprep. This product has been specifically designed to take off multiple layers of paint, varnish, shellac, lacquer, epoxy, and most other coatings. Depending on the type of coating you are trying to remove or prepare for re-coating, it may require some scrubbing. You can also use Wet & Forget by Citristrip, which requires less scrubbing than the previous product mentioned. The benefit of using either one of these products is that they can be applied and left to saturate your floor for several hours before scrubbing. 

7.) Using A Blasting Machine

The idea behind using a blasting machine is that it uses either dry ice pellets or an abrasive such as walnut shells at high speeds in order to remove the coating on your floors without making any marks. If you have a large area to strip or many layers of floor finishes on top of one another, then this method may work best for you. The drawback with this method is that it requires you to rent the blasting machine from a local rental store and proper safety equipment if you are going to do it yourself. That being said, hiring out the job still might make this method the most expensive in the long run.

8.) AX-IT Plus Floor Stripper

Ax-IT Plus is a powerful, concentrated cleaning and stripping fluid designed for resistant finishes. The pH of 100% AX-IT Plus can be as low as 2.6, making it one of the lowest Ph abrasive chemical cleaners available today. It will remove asphalt, adhesives, oil-based varnishes, epoxy coatings, and other difficult-to-clean floor finishes from concrete or wood surfaces.

AX-IT Plus Floor Stripper contains VOCs, so all necessary precautions must be taken during use to comply with state and federal regulations. AX-IT PLUS must only be used by trained personnel.

This product conforms to NSF/ANSI Standard 51 - Drinking water equipment class I - Ammonia, organo-phosphate, and non-ionic surfactant.

You now know how to successfully strip, wax, and buff your floors.

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