PHOTO of interior floor covering, pre-vinyl, probably linocrusta with burlap fabric backing, Justin Morrill House, Vermont, ca 1845 - 1900Wood Floor Damage Diagnosis FAQs

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Questions & answers about how to diagnose and fix problems with wood flooring:

This article provides answers to frequently-asked questions about wood floors or wood flooring such as cupping, curling, stains, buckling, noises, re-finishing, nailing, and subflooring requirements for wood floors.

This article series explains types of damage that occurs on various types of wood flooring in buildings. We illustrate buckling wood floors and comment on how they happen; we illustrate cupping of wood flooring and point out the diagnostic value of noticing which way the cup is shaped.

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FAQs about Damaged or Marred Wood Floors

Buckled wood flooring © Daniel Friedman

Recently questions & answers about damaged wood flooring posted originally at WOOD FLOOR DAMAGE REPAIR - topic home.

On 2017-05-23 by (mod) re: how to repair damaged wood or laminate flooring


A detailed reply to your question including an opinion on cause and recommendations for repair of your (what appears to be) plastic lamiante flooring can now be found at -

You can use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to find our emails to send photos of a floor for further comment.

I'll be glad to take a look.

On 2017-05-19 by Shana

I can send u a picture of the floor, but am unsure of how to link it to my comment below. Many thanks, and am hoping to hear from u soon.

Hi! I noticed a damage on my floor, it seems like a water damage. I'm not a 100% sure, as this area was carpeted. I would appreciate any assistance in finding possible reasons to this damage, as we moved in five months ago, and the place is brand new.

On 2017-05-19 by (mod)


According to Menards MSDS for Orange Awsome Cleaner - a cleaner/degreaser product, its ingredients include
Orange Oil Blend
Ethoxylated Alcohol
Disodium Salt
Tetra Sodium EDTA
Hydroxy Sodium

That combination, left sitting on a finished wood surface might dissolve some wood finishes. You'll need to wash off all of the cleaner, then probably sand that floor area before re-finishing it. When I've repaired small areas of stained flooring like this I cleaned the area, sanded to remove any dark stains, then using a Q-tip I re-stained the floor to get a close match to surrounding wood color. When that's dry and I like the color I re-finish the repaired area with a coating that matches the gloss level of the original or surrounding floor, typically a polyurethane semi gloss, lightly blended into surrounding floor at the repair edges.

On 2017-05-17 by Kirby woods

We spilled orange awesome cleaner on the wood floor seems like a burn Mark don't know what to do to fix it

On 2017-05-12 by (mod) re: how to dry out the crawl space to stop floor damage

My sympathy Catherine.

Your question points out that it can be difficult to find and fix crawl space moisture or water entry sources. The most common problem is roof spillage around the foundation. A too-casual inspection of gutters and leaders or site grading very often misses details that are causing spillage there. A look inside the crawl space for water stains can also be very helpful in pointing out where water is getting in.

But even if there are no actual leaks into a crawl area, soil moisture will still want to migrate into the crawl space air and thus create dampness.

So putting dow a 6 mil poly vapor barrier over the crawl space floor is important.

Please use the search box above to find our article series on CRAWL SPACE WATER ENTRY where you'll find a sickeningly long list of suggestions.

Take a look there as my suggestions are most-complete and better ordered than a random off-the-cuff attempt to make them up again in reply to a brief question: and then ask me again.


On 2017-05-12 by Catherine Whitfield

We have moisture damaged floors over a crawl space for the 3rd time in 12 years. Obviously we have not been successful in finding the source of the moisture. Other than the normal obvious sources, what should we look for?

On 2017-03-15 by (mod) re: best way to remove nails from wood flooring for wood floor salvage


I use a snip tool to grab the nails from the board underside and pull the the nail the rest of the way out of the wood. I do not hammer nails "backwards" up through the board because inevitably that splits the wood on the finished side.

If your nails have heads - that is they can't be pulled down through the board, then just clip them off flush with the board underside and leave them in place.

On 2017-05-02 by Jeanette

How do I remove the long nails from 3/4 inch hardwood without doing too much damage to the wood?

On 2017-03-15 by (mod) re: hardwood floors laid with no subflooring


What's a good idea changes in the view of builders over time.
What your realtor says is of little significance considering the conflicting interests of wanting to make a sale and because what someone has seen or not seen is not a substitute for facts, standards, or knowledge.

It is certainly not unusual for homes built in the 1950's to have 3/4" thick or thicker flooring installed without a subfloor. One effect might be that floors are a bit bouncier or noisier than if a subfloor were installed.

If there are no signs of floor sagging, collapsing, structural movement, that floor construction is not likely to be an urgent problem.

But you wouldn't install ceramic tile over such a floor without stiffening it - or the tile may crack as the floor flexes.

On 2017-03-15 by Anita

I'm buying a home that was built in the 50's. When I looked up in the basement I noticed that the hardwood floors were laid with no subflooring. Is this a good idea? When I mentioned it to my realtor he said he had seen other houses like this, but I never have. Can it cause problems?

On 2017-03-15 by (mod) - ok to omit subflooring below a wood floor?


What's a good idea changes in the view of builders over time.
What your realtor says is of little significance considering the conflicting interests of wanting to make a sale and because what someone has seen or not seen is not a substitute for facts, standards, or knowledge.

It is certainly not unusual for homes built in the 1950's to have 3/4" thick or thicker flooring installed without a subfloor. One effect might be that floors are a bit bouncier or noisier than if a subfloor were installed.

If there are no signs of floor sagging, collapsing, structural movement, that floor construction is not likely to be an urgent problem.

But you wouldn't install ceramic tile over such a floor without stiffening it - or the tile may crack as the floor flexes.

On 2017-03-15 by Anita

I'm buying a home that was built in the 50's. When I looked up in the basement I noticed that the hardwood floors were laid with no subflooring. Is this a good idea?

When I mentioned it to my realtor he said he had seen other houses like this, but I never have. Can it cause problems?

On 2017-03-13 by (mod) - scratches on a wood floor

Wood floor with strip inlays in Buenos Aires (C) Daniel FriedmanDebbie:

I'd need to see sharp closeup photos of the damage, but I agree in general with your flooring installers that scratches - if that's what the marks actually are - would not appear spontaneously.

A vacuum cleaner or other device can also leave marks on floors. Let's start by being sure that these are actual scratches into the floor finish and not simply marks or shoe scuffs.

Photo: solid wood flooring run at a 45 degree angle and with inlaid strips in an apartment in Buenos Aires.

On 2017-03-13 by Debbie

Hi! I had laminate wood flooring installed in three rooms about seven months ago. Over the last three months, many scratches, some long, some short, all thin, have been appearing, every couple weeks, across the grain in one room.

The installers will replace the planks for a minimal charge because they said it appeared that furniture was dragged across the floor, etc. I assured them my husband not I were responsible, but I couldn't explain the scratches either.

We are retired. No pets. I sweep the floor and have used a damp mop several times. Can you help explain the scratches?
Thank you so much!

On 2016-10-31 by (mod) how can I repair damaged floors that are scratched or bleached


Typically we re-sand the floor, then re-finish it. Sometimes I will fix a small scratch or gouge by wiping an appropriate stain in the gouge with a Q-tip, followed by some sealant such as polyurethane.

On 2016-10-29 by Anonymous

Hello my name is Tangel I would like to know can I repair my damaged wood floors I have scratches, some parts is bleach from

On 2016-09-17 by (mod) large bumps in our vinyl floor


IF the lumps and bumps in your vinyl floor are being caused by moisture, such as a leak that wet chipboard or fiberboard subflooring, then swelling subfloor OR nail pops could be causing the bumps. If this is the case the "bumps" are probably individual raised round areas not long or parallel lines.

Of course leaks can also cause mold, but the mold itself would not be likely to explain bumps.

If the "bumps" are long raised parallel lines I suspect subfloor is curling or lifting under the vinyl flooring.

I'd remove the vinyl flooring to investigate.

On 2016-09-16 by Judy

Ment rv not tv
Our t.v. is only qp months old, we saw some large bumps on our vinyl floor that looked like large bolt heads coming thru, it turned out to be mold, this was under the stove, not near water. Does mold usually show up as bumps, there were dozens of bumps under the stove when they looked

On 2016-07-27 14:59:49.055864 by (mod) - door jamb falling, flooring sinking


I don't know, from just your e-text. I would start by inspecting the area below the doorway - from beneath, presuming that there is a basement or crawl area. Look for insect damage, rot, or, if the door is over an exterior wall, look for foundation settlement, cracking, leaning, bulging bowing.

Let me know what you see.

On 2016-07-27 10:32:12.334545 by Gab

my door jam on one side is falling and causing floorbords to go down as well what is wrong

On 2016-05-11 00:49:29.133456 by (mod) - loose floor board repair


If the boards are loose you may be able to pull them down by screwing up words with wood screws through a supporting player from the underside of your porch.

If the boards are slightly cut or buckled you may be able to flatten the floor by sending.

Otherwise, I'm afraid you would have to replace the badly cut boards if you want the porch floor to be flat. To replace the boards in the middle of a porch floor that use tongue-and-groove flooring it is still possible to cut out and replace the damaged boards by using a power saw set to the correct depth to cut just through the boards not into the joist below.

On 2016-05-10 23:02:34.617240 by brenda

I have some buckled boards on the porch that wont go back down what can i do?

On 2016-03-23 18:18:12.537227 by (mod)

"We" in my comment really means you, with my encouragement

On 2016-03-23 18:17:51.896551 by (mod)


Use the page bottom CONTACT link to send me some sharp photos for comment. We may be able to carefully bleach out the stains.

On 2016-03-23 17:46:41.132029 by Brian

I have light spots here and there underneath the cabinets that stick out about 3 inches did I not sand them down enough

On 2016-03-05 17:34:43.259497 by (mod) stains in wood flooring


Please use the page bottom or top CONTACT link to send me some sharp photos of your floor stains or marks. It'd also help to know what flooring is installed: brand, wood, type (solid wood, laminate, etc). We can then research the issue and comment further.

On 2016-03-03 20:55:43.977352 by Patricia

First, round ring appears then ring/circle gets dark brown then in the middle of the circle another inner circle appears which is neutral in color.

This is light hard wood floor. Floor stays smooth while this process is taking place . This is happening on its own all over the floor.hard floor was bought from lumber store. All wood was finished at time of purchase. Floor newly installed

On 2016-01-09 15:27:57.779784 by (mod) repair a polyurethane coated wood floor

Terry, I can't say as I don't know what damage is present. Are you re-finishing the floor, correcting burned floor that has deep burns beyond usual re-finishing sanding depths, or is there a structural problem, or are there floor gaps?

If there are deep burns you'll find that normal large area floor sanding won't do the job as you'd remove too much thickness of the wood floor. Options are to replace the badly burned flooring and stain to match when refinishing the whole floor, or hand sand to depth to remove the burns, hand stain to match, and refinish the damaged area, leaving what will amount to pits or dents in the floor without the black burns.

On 2016-01-09 15:14:59.490493 by terry Hill

How do I repair a 4x4 polyurathane wood floor in front of a fire place.

On 2015-12-24 01:19:29.424748 by Anonymous

Do you just need to clean up the sawdust?

On 2015-12-23 22:12:33.483049 by Dorothy

The people that put the floor and put sawdust on the floor what can I use so the floor won't be so slippery now

On 2015-10-11 18:41:08.018179 by Marsha Smith

I put a rug down on wood floor and the backing has left black and sticky marks. Anyway to fix?

On 2015-09-18 14:12:58.718152 by Janice Cannoles

Renting a 1948 home where owner had original wood floors restored. Five months in, floors started cupping and looks like mold under varnish. Under home is dry and well ventilated. Insulation under floor/home is dry. We keep the house around 70 degrees (a/c) and air humidity is 48-50. Can anyone tell me why this is occurring and how to proceed with repairs?

On 2015-03-21 15:53:38.471280 by (mod)

In my opinion it is very difficult to replace a single board in engineered wood or laminates that are clipped together - one would have to either disassemble the floor to replace the damaged boards or cut and piece which might work if done by an expert at restoration. I'd want first to know why the damage is occurring to be sure that cause is addressed as well.

On 2015-03-21 14:23:22.656150 by linda kaldi

enginered wood flooring I have 2 boards becoming pitted badly what can be done

Question: stain and sealant were mixed together for a wood floor

(Jan 22, 2012) matt said:

staining my floor last night, and the person helping me mixed my stain and finish sealamt toghter and I did not realize untill after I finish. How to I fix the problem



What is the condition of your floor? If it's sticky and the finish doesn't dry properly it may have to be removed, the surface cleaned, and then you'll start over. But there are indeed some products such as some by MinWax that combine a stain with the finish coating - you could be fine.

Question: can I install a wood floor where a woodstove is to be used?

(June 5, 2012) doug wildman said:

can you install a hard wood floor with a wood burning stove?


Doug, yes but you'll need adequate fire and heat protection between the stove and the floor as well as protection for all surrounding surfaces.

Question: cupping damage to a wood floor

(July 10, 2012) Marvin Wick said:

The damage to the wood floor is cupping and there has been damage to the wall in the vicinity of the source water valve where the defective plastic part was installed. I failed to mention the Viking Refrigerator was installed when the home was new, 2002,

what about the defective installation, possibly resulting from the defective plastic adapter used to connect the Refrig Icemaker, it clearly near fractured in half and the leak was occurring over a long period of time and damaged the wall at the faucet and adjacent cab as well as obviously seep under the wood floor.

Question: dropped oven cleaner on my floor - can I hire you to fix it?

(Sept 4, 2012) Eric said:

I have dropped the oven cleaning chemical on timber floor.
That is why it was damaged. If you are able to repair it for me, please
Call on 0430 619 099



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Question: buckling floating floor

(Oct 2, 2012) Chasity said:

I live in a trailer that has "floating floors" which actually seem to be nailed together .. After we moved in I noticed a huge bucking spot in my son's room . Keep in mind my son was not staying with me at the time I noticed this , the buckling goes in a straight horizontal line through out the trailer. My landlord is trying to say it is due to my 13 yr old and 8 yr old( which together may weight 175 lbs) from them moving around are playing .

For one this trailer nothing is straight he did all the add on's himself and the trailer sits off the ground on center blocks no slab I believe . Can this be possible ? I think the land lord did not install the flooring correctly which resulted in the buckling from the humidity and the stress of them moving out and us moving in .. Keep in mind when I noticed the floor buckling the only thing in his room was a twin mattress and maybe a dresser and the room is rather large PLEASE HELP Thanks



Usually when we see a buckled "engineered wood" or clip-together laminate floor in a building the root causes are two

1. moisture, perhaps from below is causing the floor to expand

2. the installer failed to leave enough room around the floor perimeter to accomodate normal thermal expansion of the floor system

If the floor is salvageable one might fix the problem by removing baseboard trim around the floor perimeter removing and cutting down the perimeter boards, and reinstalling them.

If the floor is badly buckled such that the clip-together grooves and tongues on the individual boards are damaged, it's probably not repairable.

Question: how to fix a squeaky wood floor

(Mar 24, 2014) Nick Ellicott City said:

Thanks Dan. I will examine the underneath and see if there is subflooring. They are very squeaky in some places. Can I nail down the squeaky areas? I saw the sawdust on a Youtube video. This is my first DIY project, do you suggest hand sanding? I also saw cleaning the floors with vinegar. The finished stain color is ideal. I don't want to do too much and ruin them. Your thoughts.


Usually screws work better than nails to secure loose flooring. The screw can pull down a board while nailing it may have less satisfactory results. Sometimes we can inject some glue into a sub-floor space before screwing down. If you use an expanding polyurethane glue like Gorilla Glue, the combination of that expansion + screwing will quiet down most troublesome boards.

Question: how to remove milky white cloudy spots on a finished wood floor

(Aug 21, 2012) kc said:

i have parquet flooring in the bedroom. there are two types of patches one white. one is small white spots that became bigger. one is distinct rectangular shaped white patch which is likely caused by the steamer. what could have caused the small white spots? and can a steamer cause white patches to appear? :(

(Nov 28, 2012) Marlene said:

Has anyone a solution for engineered wood floor bleeding through? We have had many experts examine floor with no answers. Not water. Not mold. Ty

4/5/2014 said:

I have walnut flooring in my home of 6-7 years. Now I am noticing milky or cloudy spots throughout the floor.
what has caused this and can I cure it without refinishing the floor?


Jane we need some diagnosis here.
Try scraping or scrubbing the white area gently with a green 3M scrubby sponge - if it is easy to remoe you can probably clean off what is a surface deposit.

If, as I suspect, floor finish was placed over humid boards, the moisture bloom is underneath the coating and the fix would involve sanding and re-finishing as well as checking that there's no ongoing moisture problem.

Check the boards for cupping that will also be a moisture-exposure clue.

Question: cloudy milky white spots throughout the floor

(Apr 5, 2014) said:

I have walnut flooring in my home of 6-7 years. Now I am noticing milky or cloudy spots throughout the floor.
what has caused this and can I cure it without refinishing the floor?


Jane we need some diagnosis here.
Try scraping or scrubbing the white area gently with a green 3M scrubby sponge - if it is easy to remoe you can probably clean off what is a surface deposit.

If, as I suspect, floor finish was placed over humid boards, the moisture bloom is underneath the coating and the fix would involve sanding and re-finishing as well as checking that there's no ongoing moisture problem.

Check the boards for cupping that will also be a moisture-exposure clue.

Question: repair procedures for cat urine stained parquet floor and damaged subfloor

4/28/2014 Elizabeth said:

I am pulling up wall to wall carpeting due to cat urine staining. Under the padding I found that the original flooring is parquet wood flooring from the 1970's. For the most part the parquet is okay. However, there are a couple spots around the edges by the wall where the damage looks pretty bad; the wood looks moldy and rotten.

In those spots should I just pull up the rotten floor, and put a new subfloor down? Also is it true that if I paint the parquets floor with Kilz mold resistant paint, it will prevent the cat urine odor from being detected?

I do not want the cat to go back to the same spot and pee again after I have put new flooring down. By the way, I am replacing the carpeting with tile.

Reply: how to fix the floor and convince the cat to pee elsewhere

Yes Elizabeth what you suggest sounds reasonable. Replacing bad flooring, sealing the new surface, are good steps, though if there is even the smallest remaining cat-peed material the cat will find that area attractive for a new visit.

I'd seal the whole area with a clear sealant or polyurethane before installing the new tile.

The tile will make an additional seal.

The tile mastic and polyurethane odor won't smell that great to the cat and will be discouraging to him or her.

Finally, If it won't be a trip hazard I'd leave a few mothballs in the area for a few months after the job is complete. Cats are even less likley to enjoy sniffing mothballs and so less likely to pee there.

(June 11, 2014) Elizabeth said:
Hi Daniel,

I have been pulling up the wall to wall carpet in sections, cleaning the area, then applying three coats of the Kilz paint. (As you may remember the flooring underneath is the old parquet wood flooring from the 70's) Well, the section where I found some rotten wood, I pulled it up completely.

But there are a few spots where the wood seemed okay, but even with three coats of Kilz paint I keep getting this light yellowish brownish stain that is pulling through the Kilz paint. Should I just keep trying to cover it with the Kilz paint? It is not wet, and I waited for the floor to be completely dry before I started painting as well as in between each coat. (I'm pretty sure I don't live in the Amittyville Horror house so the stains are not evil - Just kidding!) My plan is to finish the whole floor with the kilz paint, then put the sealant over the whole floor, then put down the tile.

What do you think about these random spots?

Thanks for your help again,




Try a lacquer primer/sealer such as Bin or Enamelac if you want no stain bleed-through.

Question: kitchen sink backup, flooding, treated with fans, now how to repair the floor

(May 29, 2014) Anonymous said:
My apartment had a kitchen sink that backed up for a period of four days. They removed all cabinets and laminate wood floors and put huge fans on floor. It has been a month and there is still an odor. It does not smell like must or mold. It is like a chemical smell. Could it be the old glue that is still on the floor? If so, how do they get that off before they replace the floor?
Thank you

Oh yes, I think the glue is right on the concrete floor



Four days of water on the floor means I'd be worried about where water went, whether there was water in the lower portion of building walls, under cabinets, in the floor cavity - all areas of possible mold contamination if that was the case.

A chemical smell? We can only speculate. But some tile mastics were indeed water soluble and might smell a bit if re-wet. IF the mastic was water soluble it is then pretty reasonable to scrape it up, clean the surface and start anew.

WATCH OUT: I WOULD NOT put down new flooring before I was darn sure of no hidden water damage, lest we have to later rip up the new floor.

Question: can floor refinishing lead to buckled flooring?

(June 19, 2014) Gina said:
Hello. My fiancé and I purchased a 3 bedroom duplex apartment over a year ago that needed major renovations. It had beautiful parquet floors that were scratched, few loose tiles, and water damage in a few corners. We were told that it was in the Brazilian cherry family when we were searching for replacement tiles.

Also told that we should rip up the closet floors instead as these were impossible to find being from decades ago. That being the said, the floors were in pretty good shape. We had them repaired and refinished this April. They looked fantastic. Then mid May we noticed some buckling on both levels of the apartment. The flooring company was immediately called. Floors were evaluated. They were taking no responsibility. The floors have gotten progressively worse.

There are mountains in every single room where there is parquet. This led to another phone call and evaluation. Now the floors are unsalvageable. It has to be torn out and a new floor has to be put in. The parquet was glued directly onto the cement floor, its dry. It's been humid and we've had some severe rain these past few months. I understand that these can be major causes for buckling. We spoke to the super of the building and he's as shocked as we are.

Those floors have never given the previous owner any problems. Nor has anyone else in the building had any issues in the past few months. Nor did we have any problems during the past year while we were DIYing the apartment.
What caused this major uprising of the floors?


Gina, indeed the problem you describe would be upsetting. I'm unclear on how repair or refinishing a floor would cause later buckling unless the procedure trapped moisture below OR the repair job failed to leav free expansion space around the floor perimeter. You need an onsite diagnosis by an expert.

Only if something were spilled or there were a burst pipe that flooded the floor or flooded beneath floor would I expect the major floor buckling that you describe.

Or if the floor has been removed ,possibly a detailed examination of instalation photos might suggest the cause.

(June 24, 2014) Gina said:
Hi Dan, thank you for answering. We've had 2 floor contractors inspect the floors. The verdict seems to be either the sander or the sealant, or both. The repair part of the job only involved glueing back down the loose tiles and replacing the water damaged tiles. Most of the space around the floor perimeter remains untouched for the past 20-30 years. We'd really like to figure out the root of the problem. What kind of expert should I be consulting? Can you recommend a source to find someone in Queens, NY?

We're beyond frustrated that the floor contractors are neglecting our calls. We'd like to figure out the best way to proceed before ripping out the floors. Unfortunately, I can't seem to post any photos to show the extent of buckling. Any advice is welcome. Thanks again.


With due to your floor contractors (who may have a conflict of interest), sanding or finishing a floor would not itself be expected to cause floor buckling.

Buckling wood floors usually are the result of either or both of the reasons I listed below. Understanding how your home is constructed, where moisture may be coming from, and exactly what clearance spaces were given when the floor was installed would be helpful.

Try a more experienced flooring contractor or see our Expert Directories link at the top of any InspectApedia page and talk with some home inspectors in you area about their familiarity with floor defect.

Question: so is is bark up, bark down or just random barking for deck board installation

(July 16, 2014) Ted Meredith said:
Regarding the installing of deck boards bark side down or bark side up, your article seems to recommend both ways. The deck boards should be installed bark side down. You drawing illustrates what will happen with flat sawn lumber when installed the wrong way, bark side up and a cup is formed that collects water.



I appreciate the comment. This has been a long siege. We found and cite expert research that documents which way boards tend to cup - which would argue for bark side down as you suggest.

But having built quite a few decks and other outdoor structures using deck boards and treads, I was compelled to add that it makes perfect sense to *look* at the board you're about to use.

If the board is already cupped, put the concave side down and the convex side up for better drainage. A pre-cupped board is not likely to reverse its cup direction after installation.

Thanks again, in short, you're right but ...

Question: swollen mound under my linoleum floor in a mobile home

(Sept 24, 2014) Glenda Hargrove said:
I noticed a swollen mound under my linoleum flooring in my bathroom. didn't know whether to call a plumber or just who to call. You can definitely feel the hump as you walk over it. I own my mobile and I am a widow and did not want someone telling me some off the wall solution. please help.



It sounds as if someone needs to take a look under the home to see if there is a leak, structural movement, damage, etc - let me know what you're told.

Question: fixing up dog scratches on wooden stairs

(Oct 20, 2014) Anonymous said:
bought a home with exterior stained fir stairs.. the previous owner obviously had a dog with long nails.. the nails scratched deeply into the fir and the fir is deeply stained or bleeding..any suggestions aside from sanding



deep scratches can be removed pretty much only by sanding; filling is likely to look worse; the alternative would be to install a stair covering material.

Watch out: adding stain to try to cover up the scratches in a wood floor or on wooden stairs may give surprising and unhappy results. Sometimes the more raw or bare wood at the scratches absorbs more stain pigment, leaving dark marks where the scratches are. Test the stain-cover-up approach on a small area before going wild (like the dog).

Question: Arbutus wood natural oil finish - brown spots

(Oct 24, 2014) merna abel said:
our kitchen flooring is 4 years old it is arbutus wood with a natural oil finish. I am starting to see very tiny brown spots in a cluster in several areas what could be the cause. One area is fairly close to the stove the other is not near a area I do much prep.


I can't guess at this without some sharp detailed photos or more data. It might help though to consider when the stains first appeared. If it was long after the original finish treatment then I'd agree that these spots are probably due to something that's happened since.

Question: Radiant heat in a Leavitt Home built in 1957.

(Oct 26, 2014) schrammbo1965 said:
We live in a Levitt house built in 1957. It has radiant heat over a thick concrete slab. When we stand in front of the sink in the hall bathroom in the winter, our feet hurt from the heat. That places the heat at the surface of the concrete between 130 - 140 degrees F. We've asked professionals who have stated that engineered hardwood was our only choice under those circumstances. If that is true, what could you recommend? Our budget is not the best so we want to avoid any costly mistakes at the onset. Do any products come to mind?



Question: Oak floor stripped, scraped, steel wool scrubbed - dark circular stains in wood

(Nov 8, 2014) Sharon said:
Thank you for your web site. I need help. Stripped foyer (oak floor) with zip strip. Scraped and then used steel wool dipped in mineral spirits. Looked awful. Looks like the steel wool (rust) made circular dark stains in wood. Redid some of floor with Citrus strip...still not working....sanded twice

the dark rust circular stains still there. Do I need to bleach?? What kind? Thank you sooooo very much for helping me. Sharon



Use the email found at the CONTACT link at page top or bottom to send us some photos for comment. I suspect there are gouging from sanding with a circular sander that didn't show up until stain was applied. If so the remedy may be re-sanding and re-finishing.

Question: drywall dust embedded in floors

(Dec 3, 2014) Bryan said:
I have nail down oak hardwood floors that I had installed after we built our home with a national builder. Subsequently, a month after moving in, the walls had major drywall issues and the builder moved us out of our home and into a hotel so they could gut our house and replace/fix the drywall.

That was in July, it is now December and they still haven't got it right and yes, we are still in a hotel. They have managed to get drywall dust imbedded in our floors and they are balking at our repair bill (screen and recoat) from our original vendor for the floors.

My question is, once the floors are finished, can dust damage the integrity of the finish and truly imbed into the wood. This issue seems to be a trigger for our kids allergies. We are hoping to move back into our house next week. Thank you!



How aggravating. Typically a smart renovation contractor puts down a protective layer over a good floor surface before beginning other demolition and repair - or expects to have to re-finish the floors afterwards.

But not to worry, provided the flooring was finished and the coatings fully dry, it's easy to clean up drywall dust.

IF the flooring were not finished then some careful washing and scrubbing AND DRYING will be needed before the floors can be finished.

If you're extra sensitive to dust, finish with HEPA vacuuming all surfaces and don't bring in any carpets, drapes, or similar soft goods.


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