Bring Back The Shine To Your Wood Floors
Home and business owners are increasingly choosing to have hardwood floors installed in their property. From their classic natural look, to the ease of cleaning and maintenance – these installations have a lot going for them. The wood adds a touch of elegance to the space, while also giving it a warmer feel. The different kinds of wood species that one can work with, the diverse range of wood stains to choose from, all through to the lacquers with their varying gloss levels, enables one to end up with a surface finish that matches their particular taste and style preferences. In fact, the versatility of the hardwood floors enables them to adapt to changing interior design themes, while remaining trendy. When switching the wall art, decorative accents, mirrors and other decor items in the household, the floors will seamlessly blend into them. Moreover, when the wood floors wear down, they can be refinished, instead of having to be replaced. That way, you can restore that new look to the installation. Before you get to the refinishing – where the floor is sanded down and new wood stain and lacquer coats are applied, you can still revitalise your wood floor. This buys you more time before the full-scale renovation, while keeping the floor in optimal condition. That’s where products like the Bona Freshen Up come in.
When Your Wood Floor Is Under Attack
While wood floors are some of the most durable flooring options, they are not invincible. There is a wide range of factors that contribute to the gradual wearing down of the surface. Take foot traffic for instance. As people walk up and about the premises, the friction generated between their shoes and the surface causes miniscule wear per person, but over time the effect will be more visible. Simply check the highly trafficked areas in the building, like the corridors, open spaces and the sections in front of the sofas and under dining tables. The floor surfaces in these sections will fade faster than the sections that are under the furniture. Dirt and grit particles also contribute to the wear. Those dust particles accumulating on the floor, the soiling that gets tracked into the building from the outdoors, to fur and dander in households with pets – this is grinded against the floor under people’s feet as they walk on it. It results in an abrasive effect like using tiny bits of sandpaper on the surface. Scratches and scuff marks are an issue as well. These effects are bound to occur, and are warded off by applying strong finishes on the floor, which are in line with the level of traffic handled in the premises.
Add to this to the accidental spills that occasionally happen, and oversights during cleaning processes, where abrasive tools or harsh chemicals are used, which corrode the finish coats. Here, the effect will be more immediate. Kids with their toy cars as they use the floor as a road for their races, those with train tracks that are set up for the little ones to enjoy, pets in the household running around and digging their claws into the floor – leaving behind scratches – the wood comes under a barrage of attacks. That original elegant look gets slowly worn out, dragging down the rest of the décor along with it. However, formulations such as the Bona Freshen Up under review here enable you to restore that new look without having to spend much time or energy in the process. Let’s delve into what you can expect from this product.
Advantages Of Working With The Bona Freshen Up
With this formulation, you will be able to restore that lustrous look to your wood floor. It is an easy-to-use product that gets rid of the dull appearance and leaves the surface looking new. Here are some of the reasons why it comes in handy for the job:
- Safe for finished wood floors
When freshening up the wood floor, you don’t want to damage the finish coats that have already been applied. Sure, they have been dulled by the daily wear and tear, but the product used on them should not exacerbate the situation. With the Bona Freshen Up, this will not be a point of concern, given that the formulation has been specially developed for use on finished wood floors. Thus, you get to spruce up the installation without posing a risk to the protective finishes themselves. This waterborne product is usable for most of the finished and prefinished wood floors – and you can always carry out a spot test on an inconspicuous area to ascertain that it’s suitable for your particular installation.
- Protective attributes
You want the resultant beauty of the floor to take you for the long haul. Given that it still comes under a barrage of abuse from foot traffic, treating it with a formulation that takes this into account to enable the obtained result to last for longer will be to your benefit. With the Bona Freshen Up, you get both beauty and protection. The polyurethane product adds to the strength and durability of the floor, prolonging its resistance to wear and tear. That way you get to enjoy the treated floor for longer, and also reduce the extent of damage that would have been meted out onto the floor over time.
- Slip resistant
While freshening up the floor, you don’t want it becoming a slip hazard. Delivering a high gloss doesn’t have to translate into it getting slippery. The Bona Freshen Up has been developed to make the treated area safer. It meets the EN 14904:2006 and DIN 18032:2 standards on slip resistance. This makes it applicable in areas like sports halls, nursing homes, schools and childcare facilities where it is particularly vital to have more traction as the occupants of the building walk around.
- The brand you can trust
When sourcing for products to use for the floor maintenance process, getting them from a brand with proven quality and reliability will give you value for the money you spend. Bona is a global leader in the floor care industry, and has the track record to prove it. From its founding in 1919 to the worldwide success that it is today, it has endeared itself to professional floor maintenance crew and end consumers alike, who rely on the wide range of products in its offering.
Bona’s story traces its roots to Wilhelm Edner’s grocery shop in Sweden. While coffee was the favourite product, he also dealt in bonvax, which was a protective agent that was applied onto floors, giving them a polished effect. Edner saw a greater opportunity here, and in 1919 incorporated Bona AB. Over the course of the brand’s life, it has provided a wide range of products and tools that have been used to provide floor care in residential and commercial establishments alike. From protecting floors in high traffic office and public spaces, treating indoor arenas to allow sporting activities to be carried out without putting the participants at risk, caring for floors in schools and homes – building owners continually rely on this brand, due to its commitment to quality – and you get the same with the Bona Freshen Up. Clocking a workforce of over 600 employees, and a presence in 90 countries spread across the different continents, the company has grown into a global heavyweight in the floor care industry.
The brand is also big on sustainability. For instance, it introduced waterborne finishes to be used in the care for wooden floors back in 1979, marking a shift from the hazardous agents that were typical in the solvents that were widespread back then. One of the product lines from the brand – Bona Mega – heralded the incorporation of renewable raw materials in the floor care products, where vegetable oil in the formulation cross-linked after application on the floor and interacting with oxygen. This results in a strong finish that scores high in performance, with a low impact on the surrounding environment. This has seen the Bona Mega line become one of the most popular finishes from the brand. Even the preservation of the resources used plays a key role in sustainability, where the longer that the protective finishes remain on the floor, the less the resources that are required in the maintenance. Here, you have formulations like the Bona Traffic, which is a cost-efficient solution that provides prolonged service due to its superior durability – and is actually on the of finishes that can be overcoated onto floors where Bona Freshen Up has been applied.
Just how big is the brand? Well, it has 70 distributors around the globe, delivering the products and providing support in local languages for the wide range of its clients. With its headquarters in Sweden, the company has subsidiaries in Brazil, China, Austria, Spain, the UK, USA, Poland, all through to France and Romania. There is such a high demand for their products that by 2016 the company was already seeing a turnover of EK 2.2 billion (€234 million). You can only survive in the competitive floorcare industry if you’re actually good at what you do, and Bona has done that with the track record being testament to it. As such, when you incorporate the Bona Freshen Up into your floorcare toolkit, you can rest assured that you’re dealing with a brand that has been proven to deliver on its mandate.
- More bang for your buck
The Bona Freshen Up is beneficial to your floor maintenance budget in multiple ways.
- Right off the shelf, the product comes with a friendly price tag. This is one of the benefits of purchasing products from a well-established brand that gets to take advantage of the economies of scale, producing quality goods at a more affordable price for the end consumer.
- The wide coverage rate of the formulation, where each litre of product gets to be used on 30-50m² of surface, means that you get to freshen up large floor sections with every container that is purchased.
- Given that it’s a polyurethane-based product that adds to the protection of the floor, the prolonged durability reduces the costs that go into the subsequent maintenance operations, since they will be fewer and spread far apart. This gives you more savings down the road.
Since carrying out the floor restoration with the Bona Freshen Up doesn’t consume as much resources as a full-scale floor sanding and refinishing – in fact allowing you to have more time before scheduling the renovation, it cuts down on the maintenance costs incurred. Remember that wood floors have a limited number of times in which they can be successfully sanded and refinished, depending on the thickness of the wear layer. As such, working with the Bona Freshen Up enables you to reduce these instances, while still getting to enjoy an elegant floor.
How to Use The Bona Freshen Up
One of the benefits of this formulation is its ease of application. The process is fast, from the setup all through to the drying, enabling you to spruce up the floor installation while minimising the disruption to the day-to-day activities in the establishment. Let’s delve into how you can apply the Bona Freshen Up onto the floor.
First off, you want to ensure that the floor surface is clean. Dirt and grit getting trapped under the coats being applied will ruin the quality of the results. Give the floor a thorough clean, using products that have been certified to be safe for the task, such as the Bona Cleaner.
Get the applicator pad that is to be used for the task, and slightly dampen it with water. For instance, you can work with the Bona Microfibre Applicator Pad
With the applicator pad, apply the Bona Freshen Up onto the floor, preferably working in wavy lines that are 3-4 cm wide.
Spread the Bona Freshen Up all over the target area, ensuring that all the wood is covered. Applying a thin and consistent coat is preferred. Note that you can still apply an additional second coat – but ensure that you have allowed the first layer at least 2 hours drying time.
Smoothen out the coat that has been applied onto the floor, going with the direction of the wood grain.
As you wait for the floor to dry, ensure that airflow into the room is minimised, to avoid cases of dust being ferried into the room by wind and getting trapped by the wet floor.
This water-based formulation is a fast-drying product, where you can allow light traffic back to the area in just 2 hours.
For the heavy traffic, this should wait for at least 24 hours after the final Bona Freshen Up coat has been applied. The same applies to putting the furniture back into position.
Extra Tip: When applying the Bona Freshen Up, it is recommended that you divide the open floor into smaller, more manageable sections, such as working on a surface that is around 3m² at a time. That way, you will be able to ensure that you get consistent and better quality results as you carry out the task section by section.
Tools that are used to apply the Bona Freshen Up can be cleaned with soap and water.
DOs And DON’Ts Of Working With The Bona Freshen Up
- DO carry out a test before using the product, especially if you’re unsure about its effect on the area being worked on. The goal here is to assess the appearance and adhesion of the application on an inconspicuous section of the floor, and after being satisfied with the results you can proceed to use it on the rest of the surface.
- DO ensure that the floor has been cleaned and is fully dry before the application.
- DO rock the Bona Freshen Up container several times before you open it, shaking it back and forth to evenly distribute the agents in the formulation.
- DON’T dilute the Bona Freshen Up, or mix it with other chemicals. The product comes ready-to-use.
- DON’T wet clean the floor for at least a week after the application.
- DON’T use the Bona Freshen Up on floors which have been waxed or oiled, as these will interfere with the adhesion between the product and the wood floor.
Given that dirt and grime remain a threat to the wood floor, you want to ward off their effects. This calls for routine cleaning to clear the substances that gradually build up on the floor. Here, you should steer clear of chemicals that pose a risk to the wood floor, from harsh acidic cleaners to strong alkaline solutions. Not only can these dull the finish, but they can also damage the underlying wood floor. For the routine cleaning, it is recommended that you work with the Bona Cleaner.
The Bona Cleaner has been particularly formulated for the safe cleaning of wood and cork floors. Here, you get to remove the grime that is accumulating on the surface without putting the underlying installation at risk.
The formulation provides thorough cleaning action, where it breaks down the grime that is on the floor, enabling it to be easily mopped away. You can also use the low-foaming Bona cleaner with an autoscrubber, where the machine cleaning comes in handy when you have large floor areas to cover.
With the Bona Freshen Up having been applied to restore the lustre to the surface of the wood floor, you want to use a cleaning agent that will not dull the installation. You get that with this Bona Cleaner, which leaves no dulling residue on the area being worked on. That way, the installation retains its aesthetic appeal for longer.
The Bona Cleaner can be used for the daily maintenance of the wood floor, or deep cleaning tasks where you have heavy dirt and grease build-ups that need to be removed. The alkalinity of this formulation has been carefully balanced, enabling it to provide the desired degreasing action without being a threat to the wood floor. For normal cleaning, the Bona Cleaner is diluted with a ratio of 1 decilitre of product in 10 litres of water. For cases where the floor is heavily soiled, then you can double the formulation, using two decilitres in the 10 litres of water.
Here are more benefits you get while using this cleaner to main surfaces treated with the Bona Freshen Up:
- Its versatility allows it to be used for both mopping and machine based cleaning programmes. Remember to be keen on the amount of water used during the cleaning tasks. You don’t want a situation where the floor is left with puddles of water or one simply soaks up the floor in too much solution. This is because of wood’s hygroscopic nature, which is why you should keep the amount of water used to a minimum.
Extra tip: When using an autoscrubber on the floor, run the machine along the boards, and not across them. Also check the state of the rubber band of the unit, since if it is in poor condition then the machine will leave behind puddles on the floor.
- Its highly concentrated nature means you get more usage out of every litre of product. Speaking of which, the formulation comes in 1L and 5L containers, so you can pick the packages that will suit your particular cleaning needs.
In case you’re using the machine cleaning method for the floor care, avoid working with aggressive pads. Fit the unit with a white or tan pad that is suitable for working on wood floors. The end goal is to get rid of the dirt and grime, not leave the floor riddled with scratches.
Measures To Note When Cleaning Your Treated Floor
Treating the resultant finish kindly is the first step towards enjoying a long-lasting floor. This means that the cleaning agents used should be compatible with the finish, and not chemicals that will corrode it. For instance, while the “Vinegar + Water” combination is a popular option for DIY homecare solutions, this combination will ruin the glossy effect on the finished floor, and reduce the level of protection that is provided.
While vacuuming is an integral part of floor care since it removes that loose dirt and grit that is one of the leading contributors to wear, the setup of the vacuum matters. Vacuums typically come with beater brushes, which are handy for digging into the carpet fibres and dislodging the deep soiling. With these brushes turning fast, using them on the hardwood floor will result in the finish getting scratched, and the wood underneath getting damaged.
Cleaning methods that involve copious amounts of water should be avoided. In fact, damp mopping the floor treated with Bona Freshen Up will suffice to get rid of the dirt and grime. You don’t need to go soaking it in loads of cleaning solution. Approaches like steam cleaning will outrightly damage the floor. That hot steam from the machine getting injected into the tiny cracks that are all over the wood will increase the risk of the floor rotting and cracking, and end up requiring the floor installation to be replaced prematurely.
After treating the floor with the Bona Freshen Up, you can proceed to overcoat it with the desired professional finish for the installation. This will depend on the aesthetic and functionality requirements of the premises.
Before overcoating the surface, the floor should be treated with the Prep System. This involves cleaning the floor with the ready-to-use Bona prep, whose purpose is optimising the adhesion of the finishes from the same brand when overcoating the installation treated with the Bona Freshen Up. Given that it comes pre-mixed, it saves on the setup time that would be needed for the task. Here is a guide on how to go about the process:
i. The first stage is cleaning the floor. Before using the Bona Prep, first sweep or vacuum away that loose debris that is on the surface. Ordinarily, you can proceed to use the formulation to clean the surface, but in case there is heavy soiling on the floor, first wash it with the Bona Cleaner.
ii. The Bona Prep comes in to deliver its own cleaning action. Apply a thin layer of it onto the target area, then give it a couple of minutes – three to five should suffice – to break down the grime that is on the floor. It is recommended that you break down the area into manageable sections, such as 5-10m² at a time. Scrub this area with the standard speed buffing machine, then mop away the dissolved grime. One of the benefits of the Bona Prep is that it removes the scratches and scuffs that are on the surface, that way you won’t have to worry about them glaring up from the floor after the finish coats have been applied. This approach is ideal for the smaller floor areas. In case you’re working on an expansive surface then it is recommended that you use an auto-scrubber. Here, fill half of its tank with the Bona Prep, and proceed to scrub the floor. Routinely check the condition of the liquid in the tank, and replace it once it gets heavily soiled.
With a wide coverage rate, where each litre of the Bona Prep gets to cover around 40m² of surface area, you will be in a position to work on huge expanses of the floor with each product purchased. The Bona Prep comes in 1 and 5 L options that way you can go with the packaging that will meet your particular needs.
iii. Allow the floor to dry
iv. Next is the abrasion, where light sanding is carried out to leave the floor with a matte surface. Here, fine grits are used, such as grit 150 and above. If the floor has been prefinished using an anti-scratch formulation, then you can use Bona’s Diamond Abrasive System for the sanding, which is also particularly effective for uneven surfaces. You can also go with the Bona Scrad system – but without the sanding wings. For this, ensure that you make quick and light movements over the floor, to avoid swirl marks being formed.
v. Vacuum away the dirt and mop the floor, then allow it to dry.
vi. After this, you can apply the finish coats. Here you have a wide range to choose from, such as working with Bona Traffic line of finishes, Bona Mega, or the Bona Sportive Finish. Note that these finishes should be applied in two layers after the floor has been abraded and cleaned.
Some things to note when using the Bona Prep include:
– The surfaces being worked on with the product should not have oil or wax on them. In case the floor has been polished or waxed, this will need to be sanded down to remove the coats that have been applied before the structure is treated with new finish layers. For the installations that have been treated with the Bona Freshen Up, you can go ahead to work with the Prep System without having to sand down the installation.
– It’s recommended that you carry out an adhesion test on an inconspicuous section of the floor to test the effect on the surface, especially if you’re uncertain about its suitability for the task. For this, lightly sand the target section, then clean it with the Bona Prep. Proceed to apply the desired finish coat. Give it 24 hours, then use a coin to try and scrape the surface. If the finish holds together, remaining firmly attached to the surface, then the adhesion between the underlying coats and the new finish is satisfactory. Note as the finish continues to cure, there may be different results – so if after the initial 24 hours the results aren’t satisfactory, you can wait it out for an extra day. If the results are still unsatisfactory after this duration, then it is an indication that the floor shouldn’t be overcoated, but instead sanded down to the bare wood. You can also test multiple sections of the floor especially for those cases where it’s a large area that is to be overcoated.