What to Use to Make Painted Floors Shine

Shiny floors just plain look clean. Further, a high-gloss surface is easier to clean than a dull, dirt-holding finish. Many areas benefit from shiny painted finishes, among them workshop and automotive service floors as well as basement, garage, porch and inside room floors in the home. Different floor surfaces require different treatments to glow, but for every paint, there is also a cleaning treatment that will keep your floor shiny.

Shiny floors look clean and welcoming.

Basement, Workshop and Garage Floors

Epoxy paints are a good choice for hard-used concrete and masonry floors. High-gloss epoxies form a durable chemical- and abrasion-resistant surface that is easily cleaned with water. Even more promising are newer hybrid polymer paints, which are characterized by higher levels of durability and even brighter shine. Wash with clear water and a long-handled scrub-brush. You may need to apply small amounts of degreaser or other solvents where you have spills, but keep the amounts specific to the stain-spot, rinse and wipe thoroughly. In general, soaps will leave a dull scum on epoxy or polymer floors.

Porch and Deck Floors

Not all homeowners are convinced that porches and decks can be painted only with specially-designated deck finishes, claiming good results with other exterior paints. Keeping exterior paints shiny involves plenty of water and as little cleaner as possible. Scuff marks from foot traffic present a problem for both exterior and interior wooden floors. Remedies range from scrubbing with another, clean sneaker sole to lubricating oil to lighter fluid. In general, prompt action, scrubbing and knowing whether paint is oil or water based guarantee the best results.

Interior Floor Paints

Again, individual painters have favorite remedies for cleaning floors. Unlike exterior surfaces, interior floors need as little water as possible. Wet mopping can damage paint and underlying floor surface on a permanent basis. One suggestion offered by a number of cleaners for maintaining the whole floor is damp mopping with a white vinegar and water solution. Floors can also be damp-mopped with a small amount of simple "green" cleaner and water. Either method should be used no more than once a month. In between, spot-specific cleaning keeps the floor clean and shiny. Prompt removal of oily, sticky and soapy substances will keep floors glowing. This applies to plain hardwood floors, painted floors and painted floors protected with a top coat of polyurethane. Some commercial hardwood floor cleaners work well. Know the type of paint you are trying to clean, and check cleaner performance on a small unobtrusive section of the floor.

Shiny Floor Precautions

A clean, shiny appearance must of course be balanced with safety concerns when cleaning a floor, inside or out. While a soapy film left after cleaning can spoil the shine of a painted floor, it can also make it slippery. Painted floors in the bathroom, laundry room and kitchen are particularly vulnerable, where water splashes can mix with dry soap film to make surfaces slick. While some floor paints, like epoxy paints, are impervious to water, they should be dried after cleaning to prevent slipperiness. In general, chemicals and cleaners of all kinds should be kept to a minimum when keeping painted floors clean, safe and shiny.

Janet Beal

Janet Beal has written for various websites, covering a variety of topics, including gardening, home, child development and cultural issues. Her work has appeared on early childhood education and consumer education websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Harvard University and a Master of Science in early childhood education from the College of New Rochelle.