What steps to take: UNfinished Wood Floor Badly stained

ladyamityJanuary 1, 2011


We are total DIYers, from installing new windows to redoing a kitchen from studs.

We didn't tackle the electric or the roofing but everything else has been done by us.

Maybe not perfect or professional, but safe and presentable.

This is why I think we can attempt to "FIX" our Unfinshed wood floors that we laid about five years ago with intentions of finishing them ourselves.

We completed the rest of the house but an emergency came up with my parents' health and we had to move them in with us quickly.

The last room that needed the sanding, stain and sealer was the living room.

But because it's such a small house (1500 sq. ft.) we gave the living room to my parents.

We built double doors entering the living so they could have privacy.

Other than me practically forcing them out for the dinner meal, they spend almost all their time in, what is now, their 'bedroom' (used to be our Living Room).

My parents will be gone for 11 days and that will give us an opportunity to finally finish those hardwood floors.

Looking at the floors yesterday, I can see we are going to have a lot of work ahead of us.

Because both parents have had medical issues throughout the last five years, there are many MANY stains on the wood planks (5" planks), from water to chocolate milk, to Betadine, to urine.

These are raw wood, 5" planks that we laid over water barrior on home's cement foundation.

Although we cleaned up the spills as soon as we found them, I'm afraid sanding alone is not going to help, as the stains have soaked into the raw wood.

What would be the best steps to take now that we have an opportunity to empty the room of all furnishings and finish these floors?

Is there a bleaching agent we could use to possibly lighten the darkened/stained areas?

After seeing how badly these planks are stained, I'm about ready to throw a couple coats of house paint on them and call it quits.

But we worked hard at those floors....a little after work during the week and every weekend for what seemed like months.

I don't mind if the floors won't match the rest of the house as I know getting them the same shade as the rest of the house that was done five years ago will be next to impossible but at least getting a nice, dark cherry or mahogony stain on them and sealed (FINALLY!) to come close to the floors in the rest of the house will make us a very happy couple.

Can anyone give me suggestions ....how to approach this wood flooring in the livingroom/now a bedroom?

Thank you so much!

I will have company coming in the next half hour so I might not get back here until later tonight.

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I'm not a flooring contractor. But I am 80 years old and in the 1930's when I was a kid, my father was a painting and decorating contractor. He bleached our floors with a solution of oxalic acid in boiling water. I tried it as a do-it- yourself project many years later and spilled some on the porcelain stove top and it dissolved some of the porcelain. So, you must not use steel or porcelain. I think you could use a cheap teflon coated large kettle to mix in. I don't recall the proportions either, but you might find out at a paint store or by googling. It bleached wood snow white, so it works. It is very poisonous, so I would wear neoprene gloves and eye protection and I would not braath the fumes unventillated.
That said, my father did it without any protection that I can recall. Just was careful and washed off as soon as it happened if he got some on him. There was no OSHA then and things were very primative. I think you can look this up by googling oxalic acid and checking leads.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 10:10AM
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If you use wood bleach you will remove ALL the color from the wood.

Depending on what and how you then finish it (dye vs. stain) it can look very bland.

You should check everything on some scraps before committing to bleaching the floor.

Bleach out a scrap of the same wood, then finish it as you propose to finish the floor (every step) so you can see what the final result will look like.

It is VERY hard to 'restore' the detail removed by wood bleach.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 4:23PM
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