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Tips for stripping your old tile floors

Updated on January 14, 2012

Having a nice wax finish can add lustre to your old tile floor, apart from extending its life. However, after many years of waxing, old tiles lose their original sparkle.

When that happens, you must carefully strip the floor before waxing it. Since due care should be exercised during this process, you should follow certain tips for stripping your old tile floors.

Ensure that the floor is free from furniture, debris and dust

It is important to strip the entire floor (or as much of it as possible), to avoid a patchy floor if or when furniture is moved. Before stripping, the floor should be as clean as it is clear.

Take the time and effort to remove adherent debris like labels and stickers and mop the floor properly before stripping the tiles.

Ensure adequate ventilation of the area

After you strip the floor, it is best for the floor to dry naturally, as this ensures that you could easily spot any stripping solution marks left behind. A properly ventilated area ensures that the floor dries faster and better.

Choose the best stripper for your floor type

Since your old tile floor might have accumulated lots of was residue over the years, a good commercial stripper might be suitable. In addition, check the manufacturer’s information on whether the stripper is best for resilient or non-resilient floor types. Remember, the best floor strippers would not damage the floor surface and reduce the need to strip and wax on a regular basis.

Comprehensive overview of floor stripping

Use a combination of mechanical and chemical action

While the stripper should be able to do most of the work, you can complement it by scrubbing the floor after leaving the stripper on for the stipulated period.

A scrubber pad or putty knife can be quite handy – especially if your old tile floor has visible wax residue.

Rinse the floor properly after stripping

It is better to flood the floor with water instead of mopping it with a damp mop after stripping. Rinsing the floor in this manner prevents stripping solution marks. Use a sponge for faster absorption and to check whether all traces of stripping solution are removed.

Perform a completion test

After the floor dries naturally, a completion test ensures that no traces of wax residue or stripping solution marks exist. You must pass the putty knife lightly over the surface to perform this test. If there are patches of wax residue left, you can re-strip the troublesome area or remove it with a putty knife. Stripping solution marks should be rinsed clean.


Stripping your old tile floor is necessary and would add renewed sparkle to it. However, if it is not done properly, your effort would be in vain. Use a good stripping solution, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and perform a completion test to ensure that you can have your old tile floor looking like new.


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  • Dr.Ope profile image

    Olive Ellis 5 years ago

    Thank you SpiffyD. I am having the same problem with my floor. I have been trying vinegar, but cannot get the sheen to come back. Great up! Keep sharing.

  • SpiffyD profile image

    SpiffyD 6 years ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks for the comment Olivia!

  • oliviaharrisbrown profile image

    oliviaharrisbrown 6 years ago

    Good FYI! Thumbs up.