I used Murphy’s oil soap on my floor

I used Murphy’s oil soap on my floor – does it have to be sanded?

Almost all wood floor companies will say that if you used Murphy’s oil soap on your floor, then it will have to be sanded-we don’t say that. We can refinish your floor with the Worn Wood Magic process even if you been using Murphy’s oil soap on your floor.

Let me explain what the issue is and why the Worn Wood Magic process can restore your floor instead of having to sanded down to bare wood and start over.

Murphy’s oil soap is great for what it was designed to do: it was designed to be used to clean paste waxed floors. Paste wax is a very old school traditional finish for wood floors. It is soft and never hardens completely. To look good, it has to be buffed frequently. Way back when, paste wax was just about all that was available. There are still a fair number of traditional homes that have paste waxed floors, and for them using Murphy’s oil soap according to directions is the right thing to do.

Paste wax is oil-based, and so is Murphy’s oil soap. Murphy’s oil soap is meant to interact with the soft oil-based paste wax, using its oil soap properties to clean the surface of the paste wax.

The important words to remember here are “oil soap.” It is a product meant to work on soft paste wax. It is not supposed to be used on anything else.

Modern wood floors have hard finishes, not soft paste wax finishes.
To clean the top of a hard wood floor finish (usually some form of polyurethane) requires using a cleaner that doesn’t leave a residue. Murphy’s oil soap, being an oil soap, leaves a residue – an oil residue. And every time Murphy’s oil soap is used on top of a hard polyurethane floor, it leaves more of a residue.

This oily residue is a tricky thing, and the buff/screen and recoat companies can’t handle it. They know that if they cannot confidently remove every tiny bit of the oily residue left by Murphy’s oil soap then whatever they try to put on top of the floor is not going to bond. And if a floor finish doesn’t bond then that is a major problem.

However, the Worn Wood Magic restoration process removes the oily residue from Murphy’s oil soap and removes everything else that could be a problem for having additional coats of finish to bond to the hard polyurethane finish underneath. Ours is an intensive process and we’ve proven time and again that it works great on top of floors that have been cleaned at one time with Murphy’s oil soap.

We use the top of the line Bona water-based polyurethane products on your wood floor-they look great in your floor will be restored and will last for years. We recommend that you use the Bona cleaning products on your wood floors also.

I’ve seen people post online that when they tried using the Bona cleaning products on their floors that it seemed to leave some kind of residue. That’s not what is happening-the Bona cleaning products are trying to remove a residue that’s already existing on your floor, and that’s what makes the residue start to show up, usually as some sort of white film.

If you see this happening, then you need to give us a call so that we can remove the residue and restore your wood floors to beauty and to a point where they can be easily maintained again, using the Bona cleaning products.

So yes, if Murphy’s oil soap has been used on your wood floor all is not lost – your floor does not need to be sanded, we can restore your floor with the Worn Wood Magic process.

Creases in wood floors

What are creases in  wood floors, as opposed to scratches?

A crease is where you might say the wood is ‘dented’, and this dent extends along a board or across several boards.  Creases usually arent as obvious as scratches can be, but quite often you can see them when the light is hitting the floor at the right angle.

What causes creases?  Creases in wood floors are most often caused by something heavy being dragged or rolled across the floor.  The most common culprit is a heavy piece of furniture where the legs of the furnitre concentrate all their weight down onto the floor, so that when the piece of furniture is dragged, it is pressing into the wood grain with the added force of the velocity of the drag.

It is rare for a piece of furniture to be so heavy that it can crease or dent the wood all by itself, without the additional force of being dragged, but you can see this creasing or denting effect on wood floors most often from upright pianos, which concentrate all their weight on the brass wheels beneath them.

Some of the worst creases I’ve ever seen on wood floors have been from refrigerators being rolled out from their installed positions out into the middle of a wooden kitchen floor.  This normally wouldn’t be a problem even with something as heavy as a refrigerator, but when it is being dragged across the grain instead of with the grain, quite often it creases the wood.  To keep this from happening, roll the refrigerator out onto a long sheet of plywood, instead of directly onto the floor.

If  a  wood floor has a good number of creases in it, it can be rather unsightly, but the only way to get rid of them is to sand the wood floor flat, to under the level of the creases themselves.  This can be a rather harsh treatment of a wood floor just to get some creases out.

The main way that we deal with creases in wood floors is, as part of the Worn Wood Magic process, to use a lower gloss finish as a topcoat for the wood.  The lower the sheen of the finish that is on the floor, then the less imperfections in the wood, such as creases, show up – even when sunlight is bouncing off the wood floor at an angle in the afternoon.

This seems to work well for almost all creases, and if anything else needs to be done with them, more often than not it is simply a good idea to break up the line of the crease by putting a rug or a piece of furniture on top of it so that, once again, it doesn’t really catch the eye anymore.

The best thing to do with creases in wood floors is to do what you can to prevent them from happening in the first place.  If you are going to move very heavy furniture, then try to pick it up instead of dragging it.  If it is so heavy it has to be dragged, then drag it on top of very thick padding, slowly,  just as slowly as you can, and stop every little while and make sure aren’t creasing the wood.

If it seems that you are in danger of creasing the wood, then increase the thickness of your padding and/or slow down your dragging.  Another thing you can do is to change the angle that you are dragging the piece of furniture, taking it across at more of a diagonal, instead of directly across the grain of the wood.

So with creases in wood floors, the best thing to do is to use a lower sheen finish – we use Satin finish which is a very beautiful shine and tends to de-emphasize imperfections in the wood.  Also break up the eye-line of the crease of the wood with pieces of furniture and rugs.  Try to pick up furniture to move it, to keep creases from happening in the first place.

Wood Floors Peeling

Wood floors peeling are, unfortunately, a common problem. When you are restoring a wood floor (which is what Worn Wood Magic does) or refinishing a wood floor (sanding), everything has to be done correctly step-by-step. There are no shortcuts, and people and/or companies that either don’t know what they’re doing or try to take shortcuts will end up with the wood floors peeling, or worse.

By “peeling wood floors”, what I mean is the finish on top of the wood is popping up, flaking off, or coming off in sheets. If you do a search for “wood floors peeling” you’ll see lots of posts by do-it-yourselfers who had messed up their wood floors. There are lots of other instances also where the people hired to clean their house used the wrong things and the wrong methods on the wood floors and messed them up that way.

Then, there are the companies that actually mostly do carpet cleaning and other kinds of cleaning and list “wood floor cleaning” as part of their services. I’m here to tell you now that there is no overlap in knowledge and expertise between carpet cleaning and working on wood floors – they are completely different things and it is a mistake to hire companies that don’t specialize in working on wood floors.

When these companies work on wood floors, maybe while they are cleaning the carpet in another part of the house, they do some kind of ‘buff and recoat’ or ‘clean and wax’ or ‘screen and recoat’, something like that where they leave something shiny on top of the wood floor and they collect the check and they are out the door.

Here’s the major problem involved with this:

Problems with peeling wood floors don’t usually show up until a couple of weeks have gone by. Then the homeowner is stuck with the problem, more often than not. Why does this happen?

The main reason is that the floor was not prepared correctly. In order for a professional wood floor finish to bond to a wood floor, the surface of the floor must be perfectly prepared to accept the wood floor finish so that it will bond to the wood. Then, any further coats of finish on top of that must also be going on top of a floor that is perfectly prepared to accept them.

This is the main reason why there are so many wood floor sanding companies and so few wood floor restoration companies.  When a company sands a wood floor down to the bare wood, they know that there is no barrier to staining and finishing the wood floor because they’ve already sanded everything off the top of it. Everything is just a standard procedure-sanding down to bare wood, and then build it up from there. Of course, this process has the major disadvantage of removing an irreplaceable layer of your wood floor, and this can only be done so many times before the floor is too thin to sand anymore.

With wood floor restoration, which is what Worn Wood Magic does, we remove everything from the floor that could be a possible barrier to further staining and refinishing of the floor. This is an extensive process, and involves a wet sanding process, a chemical extraction process, bleaching of the wood in some cases, quite often hand scraping, and extensive evaluation of the wood from room to room. This requires a lot of knowledge, judgment, and expertise. It is not a standard process at all-the method is varied according to what your floor, from room to room, needs.

Needless to say, your typical cleaning company has absolutely no idea how to do any of this. Floors being floors, all kinds of things get on to them-stuff from pets, dropped food, cosmetics and other chemicals, cleaning solutions used over the years, innumerable substances tracked in from outside, chemical reactions to carpets and rugs-the list goes on and on. So anything less than being extremely step-by-step thorough in the preparation of the wood floor is more often than not going to result in the floor finish not bonding properly. You can’t just “guess I got everything” and then put some finish on the floor. It just doesn’t work well at all.

So if you don’t want to see your wood floors peeling but you do want a beautiful floor that lasts for years and years, and especially if you don’t want to go through the harsh and stressful sanding process where you end up with a thinner floor, then you should seriously consider the Worn Wood Magic floor restoration process.

Pet stains in wood floors

Pet stains in wood floors are an especially serious problem with wood floors. If a pet makes any sort of ‘deposit’ on the floor, it is best to get it up immediately. If something is not discovered until later, you will be lucky if it hasn’t soaked down into the grain of the wood.

The worst problems of all are where a pet repeatedly goes to an area that you

pet stains in wood floors
typical pet stains in wood floors

can’t tell is getting wet, until the rug or carpet is removed. Then, you see that there is a big dark spot on the wood floor.

With stains in general on wood floors, the darker the stain is then the deeper down into the grain of the wood the stain has gone into. So what you’ll see is the stain is darkest at its middle and then becomes lighter toward the edges. At the time of this writing, there is nothing that chemically can remove pet stains from wood floors. Even sanding the wood floor more often than not will not remove all of the pet stain. Once again, the darker the stain, then the deeper down into the grain it goes.

If you want to completely remove a pet stain from a wood floor, than what you have to do is replace those boards. Sanding can shrink the size of the stain sometimes, and the Worn Wood Magic process can shrink the size of the stain sometimes also, but it will not remove the stain.

The chemical nature of pet stains are such that if the area stays wet for long enough, it will break down and through the strongest of wood floor finishes.

So if you have area rugs on your wood floor and you have suspicions of what your pets are doing on top of the rugs, then you need to check those areas frequently and take care of any problems immediately.

Pets are great but pet stains in wood floors are pretty much unmanageable once you already have them. Cleaning the area thoroughly and resealing is always a good idea to try and keep your pets from going back to that same area. Most often you have to become philosophical about the stains, calling them what real estate agents refer to as “character marks.”  If you are going to have character marks, especially from pet stains in wood floors, then you can either keep them covered with rugs or furniture or take the extreme step of replacing those boards.

Scratches in wood floors

Scratches are one of the most common of problems with wood floors. The deeper the scratch, the more of a problem it is. Surface scratches, where it’s just a scratch in the finish it self, is something that can easily be fixed, sometimes even by the homeowner. Deep scratches, though, scratches where they go below the finish and scratched down through the wood stain, on down into the grain of the wood.

I once had a client who had a large German Shepherd that when you rang the front doorbell, the dog would come bounding down the central stairs, take a flying leap into the foyer, and then bark and scratch furiously at the door and the floor. This was a nice home and very nice oak floor, but the dog gouged that foyer area quite deeply, leaving obvious furrows in the wood.  The best thing in this case was simply to restain the area as evenly as possible, recoat the area of for more protection, and then keep a mat at the door.

The worst kind of scratches on wood floors are ones where the scratch is running

scratches in wood floor
scratch across the grain

across the grain of the wood going directly opposite the direction that the boards are running or some sort of parallel angle. These kind of scratches when they are down deep into the wood are pretty much going to be there unless you sand the wood floor down below the level of the scratch itself.

In most cases it is not worth it to sand your wood floor down below the level of a deep scratch because by doing so you are sanding off almost all of the actual working thickness of the wood floor itself, all for the sake of removing a few scratches.

You can, if you absolutely insist on having the scratches gone, replace those boards, preferably sanding those boards to the thickness of the rest of the floor before you install them so that you don’t once again end up sanding the entire floor just to make everything even out.

In general, the best thing to do is to do cosmetic work on the scratches to make them so that they don’t pop out to the eyes so easily. One of the easiest ways to do this is to figure out a wood stain color that you can apply into the scratch itself that blends in with the wood around the scratch. This does not mean that you use, necessarily, the same color of wood stain that the rest of the floor happens to be stained with. The reason for this is that a deep scratch in wood is an area where the wood grain is literally torn open and is no longer finely sanded within that area. If you looked at it with a magnifying glass it would look like a jagged Valley in the middle of your wood floor. What happens with jagged, raw wood is that the stain that you put into it soaks in a lot more room readily than it does with wood that is finally sanded.

So what happens when someone typically tries to stain a wood floor scratch with the same color as the rest of the wood is that the scratch on the floor turns out looking a lot darker than the rest of the wood around it. Just for an example, if you had a medium brown stained wood floor, and you then put on some medium brown stain trying to make a scratch not show as much, it will turn out looking dark brown instead of medium brown.

So, the thing to do is to ideally start with a stain color that is a few shades lighter than the surrounding wood and try that in just a small area of the scratch, and see how it looks. And then adjust from there.

Then once you apply the stain into the scratch as best as you are able, there still is the matter of applying finish to the scratch. This also was a lot easier said than done, especially if the scratches are running against the grain of the wood. There is a tendency to want to try to “fill” the scratch with wood finish, but in general that is not a good idea. What happens if that is tried is that you end up with a sort of ‘hump’ with the finish spilling out to either side of the scratch making it look even wider. If you insist on putting some finish into the scratch it’s best just to use a very thin brush and apply it just down into the scratch itself and not try to fill up the scratch.

Ideally what you do is keep a good amount of protective finish on your wood floor to keep it from getting scratched in the first place. If you happen to know of a problem that is going to keep occurring, such as a dog that’s scratches at the front door whenever the doorbell rings, then keep a rug or a hard mat there, anything to keep the floor from continually being scratched and gouged out.

So when it comes to scratches in wood floors, its best by-far to prevent the scratches from happening in the first place.  Light scratches in the wood can be a fairly easy fix, but deep scratches are problematic at best.

Only Part of My Wood Floor Is Worn

Over the years many people have told me “only part of my wood floor is worn“. There is nothing unusual about this at all because we all use certain parts of rooms more than others, and if you have rugs on your wood floors then your traffic areas are even more concentrated.

The most common areas to be worn down are: entry areas, especially coming from a carport or a doorway where people walk in frequently with wet feet, in front of appliances in the kitchen, the traffic lane down hallways, etc.

So what to do? More often than not, the floor has gotten worn down through the topcoat, through the sealer, through the stain in the wood, and now the wear area is pretty much now all raw wood. More often than not though, homeowners don’t realize that the floor is worn down to raw wood because the dirt has gotten ground down into the wood, making it blend in with the rest of the floor.

Wood floors that are worn down this much are impossible to keep clean. Raw wood is like a gigantic sponge-it absorbs almost everything that comes in contact with it. This gets to be a rather unsanitary situation, but because the dirt on the floor is making it blend in with the rest of the wood, the homeowner is not aware of what is going on. When we work on floors in this condition we remove a tremendous amount of dirt, grease, grit and who knows what else from the grain of the wood as part of the process.

only part of my wood floor is worn
stripped floor showing worn areas

Let’s take a typical situation in an entry foyer, where the first two steps into the house have become dirty, worn, and darkened with moisture getting tracked in. Would it be possible to just work on that specific area in the foyer and not do the rest of the room?

Yes it would be possible to do this but it would not look as good as if we worked on the entire room, and here’s why:

As part of the Worn Wood Magic process we remove all the contaminants in the wood from the worn areas, leaving the floor perfectly clean and dry and ready to accept new stain and finish. As part of the process, we make a custom stain color so that the worn area will match in stain color to the rest of the room. But wood floors change in color over time and even parts of a room that get almost no wear can oxidize a slight bit, meaning that there color changes. When we lightly go over the floor with our wet sanding process, we remove that slight bit of oxidation, revealing the true stain color of the floor underneath.

So, by working on the entire room, we are able to reveal the true color of the floor that we need to match the worn area to-we wouldn’t know what that color was unless we worked on the entire room.

Another factor is matching the sheen of the finishes. The scene of your wood floor changes over time also. By “sheen” I mean it’s glossiness-high-gloss, semigloss, satin, flat-those are the sheens available for wood floors.

As part of the Worn Wood Magic process we almost always use a satin sheen, which has a sort of beautiful ‘glow’ effect. However if we are only applying new finish to the worn area, then it is impossible to match up the sheen between the new finish and the old finish.

So to keep this problem from happening and to make it so the worn area now blends in with the rest of the room, we lightly go over the entire room instead of just a worn area, and we apply new finish to the entire room also. This makes everything flatten out and blend in and creates a pleasing look to the entire room once again.

So yes, the statement “only part of my wood floor is worn” is one that we have dealt with hundreds of times over the years, and we fix it and make everything blend in and look nice again by working on not just those worn areas, but the entire room.

Get a New Wood Floor in One Day?

Here in the Atlanta area I hear lots of ads on the radio from a company that advertises that you can get a new wood floor in one day, start to finish. But what kind of wood floor do you get?

Traditional tongue in groove or plank floors require a good bit of expertise in the installation phase, with the floor literally being installed board-by-board. Then when the floor is completely installed, the wood is still in a raw state. Furthermore, due to variations from board to board, the floor must be sanded in order to flatten the floor and prepare it for staining and finishing. The floor has to be sanded three times with progressively finer grit paper, before the staining and finishing process even begins.

So as you’ve already guessed by now, the “new wood floor in one day” company isn’t selling traditional wood flooring, because installing and finishing traditional forms of wood floors take a lot longer to achieve the final product than one day. They are instead selling some form of prefinished or engineered flooring which instead of being nailed in, it goes on top of an existing floor in an interlocking sort of manner. They come ‘grooved’ to attempt to make them look like they are planks, and they come with a factory stain and finish already on them so that none of the staining and finishing has to be done in the home.

Yes, this is a lot faster but you need to keep in mind that prefinished and engineered flooring never comes close to the beauty of traditional wood flooring. It tries to simulate the traditional look, but for those who know how to tell the difference, it doesn’t even come close.

All that being said, there are many situations where only a prefinished type of wood floor is available as an option: condos with concrete slabs, basements of homes with concrete slabs, and other similar installation situations.

If you are considering putting in wood floors, let me suggest that you do yourself a favor and check into the possibility of having traditional tongue and groove floors installed instead of prefinished floors. Don’t take just one salesman’s word for it, call some of the traditional wood floor installation companies-there are lots of them, and find out if your space is a candidate for traditional wood floors. You may be surprised at the bargains you can get, especially considering that having a nice tongue and groove floor will increase the value of your home every time, no doubt about it, and having a prefinished floor put in is somewhat iffy in terms of adding value.

There is an old contractors saying that goes something like this:

“What you pay for once you’ll be looking at and living with for years to come.”

You want to have the most beautiful floor put in that you possibly can, one that you can live with and enjoy the beauty of for years and years. Did you know that a traditional nailed-in tongue and groove floor is three quarters of an inch thick, but the actual wear area of an engineered/prefinished floor is only a few millimeters thick? Huge difference.traditional wood floor vs prefinished

So, don’t let the selling point of getting all done in one day be the only selling point-what’s a few days more if you get what you really want? Get a new wood floor one day or get a real wood floor from the process of less than a week or so – it’s definitely worth your checking out the possibility.

Refinishing Parquet Floors Midtown Atlanta

Refinishing parquet floors Midtown Atlanta is another example of our wonderful WornWoodMagic restoration process.

Refinishing parquet floors is a special process best accomplished by a dustless no-sanding method.

This is because sanding machines sand floors in one direction only and parquet floors run in two directions.
So what happens when you try to sand parquet floors is that you have sanding marks on half of  the floor – not good at all.
Parquet wood floor refinishing examples:


kitchen parquet wood floor before WornWoodMagic
kitchen parquet wood floor before WornWoodMagic


kitchen parquet wood floor after Worn Wood Magic
kitchen parquet wood floor after Worn Wood Magic

With the Worn Wood Magic no dust sandless refinishing method, what we do first is use our special formulas to remove all the grit grease and grime that might have gotten into the floor.

Next, we rinse and dry the floor so it is perfectly clean and ready to accept finishes.

For the next step, we make a custom stain color – this is very important.

Parquet floors, because they are made up of many small strips of wood, tend to have quite a lot of color and hardness variation
– so a stain color that will work for all these pieces of flooring becomes crucial for the final product.
We do something unique and exclusive
– we make custom
water-base wood floor stains.
This is a major advantage not only for the results we acheive, but also for you the homeowner, and here’s why:

A water-base stain dries rapidly and is perfectly compatible with the waterbase Swedish finishes that we use, so you get a beautiful durable floor.

Because of the compatiblility and rapid drying, you also get back to living in your home much quicker also – a major advantage!

It has become extremely difficult to find true water-base wood floor stains

Most wood floor companies  because of this use some sort of oil-base stain – so even if they are going to use a fast-drying waterbase urethane topcoat, they have to wait a long time before it can be applied – why?

Because oil and water don’t mix – the oil base stain has to dry and off-gas before it can be topcoated with waterbase finishes.

So refinishing parquet floors Midtown Atlanta is another example of our wonderful wood floor restoration process with WornWoodMagic!
To get your parquet wood floors refinished with no dust today – Contact us!



Extreme Before-After Wood Floor Example

Here’s a floor that had a tremendous amount of some kind of wax on it – everyone else said “it had to be sanded” but here’s what we did with this extreme before-after wood floor example –  WornWoodMagic process:

stripping wax from wood floor

This floor had a lot of wax buildup on it!

wood floor wax buildup

Now here’s the after:
wood floor wax stripping after

So how’s that for a extreme before-after wood floor example with the  WornWoodMagic process!

Pine Floor Restoring and Refinishing

With pine floor restoring and refinishing, you’ll find pine floors are much softer than oak and many other types of wood flooring.  However, they can be absolutely beautiful and can give you many years of excellent service and pleasure of use.
There are a few things to remember when considering pine floor refinishing:

Pine tends to splinter (LONG splinters!) – keep your floors well-sealed to help prevent this.

Pine tends to turn orange if you use oil base urethane – so use waterbase!

Here’s some before/after pictures
we’ve done of pine floors

BEFORE – Notice how extremely worn this floor is in the middle, traffic area. This picture is after our stripping process, after removing all the grunge down in the grain, you can see how abused, dull, and dry the floor really is. The stripping process removed all the dirt, grease and grit that was in the wood and left it looking very light, as in the photo.

pine floor before restoration with WornWoodMagic
pine floor before restoration with WornWoodMagic

The wear areas in this room were large, and you can see that the floor had been worn down through the original finish and stain down to the bare raw wood. Areas this large, especially with pine, are hard to match color-wise – the grain is very open and it takes a lot of restoration – but we were up to the challenge!

AFTER – notice how the grain is filled in, the color is restored, the wood is rich and rejuvenated

Pine floor AFTER WornWoodMagic restoration
Pine floor AFTER WornWoodMagic restoration

.So when you need some pine floor restoration and refinishing, give Worn Wood Magic a call:

Contact us to discuss your floor!