How to Seal Hardwood Floors: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you want your hardwood floors to stay looking beautiful and last for years, sealing them is a must. Sealant provides protection against dirt, scratches, and spills while preserving the natural beauty of wood flooring. But how do you know which sealant is right for your home? In this blog post we will discuss everything from preparation to maintenance when it comes to sealing hardwood floors – so that you can make sure yours are properly protected! We’ll also look at different types of sealants available on the market today; from water-based ones to polyurethane based options – there’s something out there for everyone. Read on as we explore all aspects of sealing hardwood floors in detail!

Preparation before Sealing your Hardwood Floors

Preparing your floor before sealing is essential for a successful job. Proper preparation will ensure that the sealant adheres properly and lasts longer.

Before you begin, make sure to clean the floor thoroughly. Sweep away any dirt or debris with a broom and then mop it with warm water and detergent. Allow the floor to dry completely before proceeding with the next step.

If there are any scratches or imperfections in your floor, sand them down using fine-grit sandpaper until they are smooth again. Make sure to vacuum up all of the dust afterwards so that it doesn’t interfere with the sealant later on.

Finally, use painter’s tape around baseboards and other areas where you don’t want sealant to get onto as this can be difficult to remove once dried if not done correctly beforehand. This will help create neat lines when applying your sealant later on, as well as protect these surfaces from getting damaged by accidental spills during the application process.

Proper preparation is key to ensuring a successful sealant application. Now, let’s look at how to choose the right sealant for your hardwood floors.

Choosing a Sealant

When it comes to protecting your hardwood floors, choosing the right sealant is key. There are two main types of sealants available: water-based and polyurethane-based.

Water-Based Sealants

Water-based sealants are generally considered the most eco-friendly option for sealing hardwood floors. They provide a clear finish that won’t yellow over time and can be easily cleaned with just soap and water. Water-based sealants also dry quickly, so you don’t have to wait long before walking on them or putting furniture back in place. However, they may not last as long as other types of sealant and may need to be reapplied more often than their counterparts.

Polyurethane-Based Sealants

Polyurethane based sealants offer a tougher protection against scratches and wear compared to water based options but tend to take longer to dry completely before being able to walk on them or put furniture back in place. This type of sealant also provides an amber hue which gives your flooring a warm look while still providing protection from dirt and moisture damage over time. It is important when using this type of product that you follow all instructions carefully for proper application as it can be difficult to remove if applied incorrectly or too thickly, resulting in discoloration or unevenness across the surface area covered by the product once dried fully into place.

Applying The Sealant

Once you have chosen the right type of sealant for your needs, applying it correctly is essential for achieving maximum protection from dirt, dust and scratches while maintaining its aesthetic appeal over time without any discoloration. To apply properly use either a roller brush applicator designed specifically for this purpose or alternatively use a lint free cloth dampened slightly with mineral spirits prior to rolling out onto flooring surfaces evenly making sure not to leave behind any excess residue after completion which could potentially cause staining issues down the line if left unattended.

Curing Time

The curing time required will vary depending on the product used; however, typically one should allow at least 24 hours between applications to ensure adequate drying times and even coverage throughout the entire area treated. This also allows enough time for the full curing process to take place before anything is moved back into the space, including furniture items and rugs, thus avoiding potential damages caused by premature contact with newly sealed surfaces.

Sealants are an important part of maintaining hardwood floors. They provide a protective layer that helps keep the wood looking great and prevents damage from everyday wear and tear. But with so many sealant options available, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your flooring needs.

Types of Sealants

There are two main types of sealants used on hardwood floors: penetrating sealers and surface coatings. Penetrating sealers penetrate into the wood grain, creating a barrier against moisture while still allowing the natural beauty of the wood to show through. Surface coatings form a film over the top of the wood, providing extra protection but also obscuring some of its natural beauty.

Choosing The Right Sealant

When choosing a sealant for your hardwood floors, consider how much traffic they will receive and what type of finish you want them to have. For high-traffic areas or rooms where spills may occur frequently, such as kitchens or bathrooms, opt for a surface coating that provides maximum protection against water damage and staining. If you prefer more subtle protection without sacrificing any visual appeal, then penetrating sealers are ideal since they won’t change the look or feel of your flooring in any way.

Application Process

No matter which type you choose, make sure to follow all instructions carefully when applying it to ensure optimal results. Start by cleaning your floors thoroughly before applying any product; this will help remove dirt and debris that could interfere with adhesion later on down the line. Once clean, apply an even layer using either a brush or roller depending on what is recommended by manufacturer guidelines and let each coat dry completely before adding another. Finally, if necessary (depending on product), buff out excess material after application is complete for best results.

When it comes to choosing a sealant, there are many options available. For more information on water-based sealants and their benefits, read the next section.

Key Takeaway: Sealing hardwood floors is an important step in protecting them from dirt, dust and scratches. Water-based sealants are the most eco-friendly option but may need to be reapplied more often than polyurethane based sealants. When applying a sealant it is important to follow instructions carefully and allow adequate curing time before moving furniture or rugs back into the space.

Water-based sealants

Water-based sealants are a popular choice for flooring projects, as they provide an effective barrier against moisture and dirt. They’re easy to apply and can be used on many different types of floors, including hardwood, laminate, vinyl plank, tile, concrete and more.

Advantages: Water-based sealants are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of sealant products. They dry quickly after application and don’t require any special tools or equipment to apply them. Additionally, water-based sealants are non-toxic and low odor which makes them safe for use in homes with children or pets.

Disadvantages: One disadvantage of using water-based sealants is that they may not last as long as other types of flooring treatments such as polyurethane based products. Also if the surface isn’t properly prepped before applying the product it could lead to poor adhesion or bubbling over time due to trapped air bubbles underneath the coating layer.

Overall, water-based sealants offer a great option for those looking for an affordable way to protect their floors from everyday wear and tear while still being able to maintain its natural beauty. With proper preparation beforehand, you can ensure that your new floor will look great for years down the road.

Water-based sealants are a great option for those looking to protect their hardwood floors without having to worry about strong odors or harsh chemicals. Now let’s take a look at polyurethane-based sealants and what they have to offer.

Polyurethane-based sealants

Polyurethane-based sealants are a popular choice for flooring due to their durability and long-lasting protection. They provide excellent waterproofing, making them ideal for areas that may be exposed to moisture or humidity. Polyurethane sealants also have good resistance to abrasion and chemicals, which makes them suitable for use in high traffic areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Advantages of Polyurethane Sealant:

One of the main advantages of polyurethane sealant is its ability to form a strong bond with the surface it is applied on. This ensures that the coating will remain intact even when subjected to wear and tear over time. Additionally, this type of sealant has excellent adhesion properties which make it easy to apply without any gaps or bubbles forming during application. It also offers superior flexibility compared to other types of sealants so it can easily accommodate minor movement in the underlying substrate without cracking or peeling off from the surface.

Disadvantages of Polyurethane Sealant:

The biggest disadvantage associated with polyurethane based sealants is their relatively long curing time compared to other types of coatings like epoxy resin or acrylics. Depending on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity levels, they can take up 24 hours before they reach full cure strength – meaning that you need more patience when working with this material than others. Additionally, some people find these products difficult to work with because they tend to be thicker than other types of coatings which can make application more challenging if not done correctly. Finally, polyurethanes are typically more expensive than other options available on the market today so if budget is an issue then you might want consider another option instead.

Polyurethane-based sealants are an excellent way to protect and preserve your hardwood floors, but they must be applied properly for the best results. Next, we’ll discuss how to apply them.

Key Takeaway: Polyurethane sealants offer strong adhesion and waterproofing, making them ideal for high traffic areas. However, they can be more expensive than other options and require longer curing times.

Applying the Sealant

Applying the sealant is an important step in protecting your flooring from water damage and wear. Before you begin, make sure to read all of the instructions on the product label and gather any necessary tools.

You will need a paintbrush or roller for applying the sealant, as well as rags for cleaning up spills or drips. You should also wear protective gloves and safety glasses while working with chemicals.

Once you have gathered all of your supplies, it’s time to start applying the sealant. Start by stirring the sealant thoroughly before use so that it is evenly mixed throughout its container. Apply a thin layer of sealant over your floor using either a brush or roller depending on what type of finish you are looking for. Make sure to cover every area completely but avoid putting too much product down at once which can cause puddles or uneven coverage.

After application, allow enough time for drying before walking on it; this could take anywhere from two hours to overnight depending on temperature and humidity levels in your home as well as how thickly you applied the product. Once dry, inspect carefully for any missed spots or areas that may need additional attention before proceeding with another coat if needed according to manufacturer’s instructions .

Finally, when finished be sure to clean up any leftover materials properly and store them away safely out of reach from children and pets until next use.

Once the sealant has been applied, it is important to allow for adequate curing time before proceeding with any other steps. The next step in sealing hardwood floors is to understand the curing time needed for a successful job.

Curing Time

When it comes to applying sealant to your floor, curing time is an important factor. Sealants are designed to protect the surface of your floor from wear and tear, but they need time to properly set and harden before you can walk on them or use them as intended.

Water-based sealants typically take between 8-24 hours to cure completely, depending on the type of product used and the temperature in the room where it was applied. The warmer the environment, the faster water-based sealants will dry. It’s important not to rush this process by walking on a wet sealant because it could cause permanent damage that may require sanding down and re-sealing later on.

Polyurethane-based sealants usually take longer than water based products; up to 72 hours for complete curing in some cases. This is due largely in part because polyurethane needs oxygen molecules from air around it in order for its chemical reaction (curing) process to be completed successfully. Again, rushing this step could result in permanent damage that would require costly repairs or replacement of your floors later down the line so patience is key here.

Applying too much pressure when walking across newly sealed floors can also affect how long they take to cure properly; even if you wait until all visible signs of wetness have disappeared from their surfaces before doing so. So make sure you give yourself plenty of time after sealing before allowing anyone else into the area – especially children who might not understand why they shouldn’t run around right away.

Curing times vary greatly depending on the type of product used and environmental factors such as humidity levels or temperatures inside/outside your home. Generally speaking, giving any new sealant at least 24 hours should be enough time for most types available today; although double checking with manufacturer instructions beforehand is recommended.

Once the sealant has been applied, it is important to give it time to cure before moving on to maintenance. The next step in properly caring for your hardwood floors is learning how best to maintain them.

Key Takeaway: When applying sealant to hardwood floors, it is important to give the product enough time to cure completely before walking on or using them as intended. This can take anywhere from 8-72 hours depending on the type of product and environmental factors such as humidity levels or temperatures.


It’s important to avoid water damage, which can cause warping or discoloration of the wood. To do this, it’s best to use mats at doorways and in front of sinks and other areas where water may be present. Additionally, regular sweeping or vacuuming with a soft brush attachment will help keep dirt from scratching the surface of your flooring.

It’s also important to clean your sealed hardwood floors regularly using a damp mop and an appropriate cleaning solution specifically designed for hardwood floors. Be sure not to over-wet the floor when mopping as too much moisture can cause damage. You should also avoid waxes, oils, or any other type of product that could leave behind a residue on your flooring as these products can dull its finish over time.

When refinishing is necessary due to wear and tear or fading from sunlight exposure, you should contact a professional who specializes in refinishing hardwood floors for best results. Refinishing involves sanding down the existing sealant before applying new coats of sealant until desired sheen is achieved. This process requires special tools and expertise so it’s always recommended that you hire someone experienced in this field rather than attempting it yourself if possible.

Finally, it’s important to remember that maintenance isn’t just about keeping up appearances – taking care of your sealed hardwood floors helps ensure they last longer. Regularly checking for signs of wear such as scratches or chips can help prevent further damage down the line while helping maintain their overall appearance throughout their lifespan.

Key Takeaway: Maintaining sealed hardwood floors is essential for preserving their beauty and longevity: use mats at doorways, sweepvacuum regularly, clean with a damp mop and appropriate cleaner, hire a professional to refinish when necessary, and check for signs of wear.

FAQs in Relation to How to Seal Hardwood Floors

Do I need to seal my hardwood floor?

Yes, it is recommended to seal your hardwood floor. Sealing helps protect the wood from dirt and moisture, as well as providing a layer of protection against scratches and other damage. It also enhances the natural beauty of the wood by giving it a glossy finish. Sealing should be done after installation or refinishing and then reapplied every few years for maximum protection.

Can you seal hardwood floors yourself?

Yes, you can seal hardwood floors yourself. It is a relatively simple process that requires the right materials and tools. You will need to clean the floor thoroughly before applying the sealant, which should be done in small sections at a time. Once applied, it is important to allow adequate drying time before walking on or placing furniture back onto the flooring. With patience and attention to detail, sealing your own hardwood floors can be an easy DIY project with great results.

What is the best sealant for hardwood floors?

The best sealant for hardwood floors is polyurethane. It provides a durable, protective finish that will last for years with proper maintenance. Polyurethane is also easy to apply and can be used on both unfinished and finished wood surfaces. It’s water-resistant, making it ideal for high-traffic areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Additionally, polyurethane comes in a variety of sheens so you can choose the perfect look for your home. With its long-lasting protection and attractive appearance, polyurethane is an excellent choice when it comes to sealing hardwood floors.

What do you put on a wood floor to seal it?

There are a variety of sealants available for wood floors, depending on the type of flooring and desired finish. For hardwood floors, polyurethane is the most common choice. It provides a durable finish that resists scratches and stains while still allowing the natural beauty of the wood to show through. Other options include water-based finishes such as acrylic urethanes or varnishes, which offer less protection but dry quickly and can be applied in multiple coats for added durability. Waxes are also an option but require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. No matter what type you choose, make sure it’s compatible with your flooring material before applying it.


Sealing hardwood floors is an important step in protecting and preserving your flooring. With the right preparation, sealant selection, application process, curing time and maintenance plan, you can ensure that your hardwood floors remain beautiful for years to come. By following these steps and taking the time to properly seal hardwood floors, you can protect your investment while also enjoying a stunning floor that will last for many years.

Are you looking for the best way to protect and preserve your hardwood floors? Look no further than! Our experts can provide you with all of the tips, tricks, and advice needed to ensure that your hardwood floors are sealed properly in order to last for years. Don’t let wear and tear damage your beautiful floor – get professional help from us today!

* Last updated on  2024-05-18 / We are using affiliate links / All images are served from the Amazon Product Advertising API.