Q: One visitor asked, "I have bought a home that my grandmother had owned at one time. She told me there were hardwood floors under the carpet, so I started to tear up the carpet, but we ran into a problem. There were some black spots on the floor, how can I get them out?

A: Your situation seems to mirror my own, in that I also came into possession of my grandparents home, removed the carpet and found, in my case, one large black stain in the front hall by the front door. In my case I just put down a runner in the front hall (to avoid water and salt being walked in during winter). This covered the spot. You have a couple of options. You can have the floors sanded and re-finished. Only by sanding down these areas where the stains are will one know for certain if they will come out or not. If they don't come out, you can either change the boards, which is the cheapest method, or bleach the areas with a commercial bleach (not cheap and scary stuff to work with). If the stains are in inconspicuous places such as along a wall, and you hadn't planned on re-finishing the entire floor area, you may be able to deal with just that area so that it is not as noticeable. If you have these areas all over your floor, then you have a big problem. You could stain the floor dark to try and hide them. When I say dark, I mean something approaching ebony. Rip out and replace seems the best route to go in that case. I recently sanded a floor that was covered with carpets. I told the man ahead of time that I had no idea the state of his floors under the carpet. We removed the carpet removed the carpet and his floors were really old and dark. So dark that I could not tell for sure if it had such stains. When I sanded the 2 hallways, there they were! Black pet urine stains all over the place! I stained the floor twice, but they still showed through. The floor was dark, but the stains went darker still! So, in a nut shell, if you are dealing with a couple of spots, replace the boards if it is found the stains cannot be sanded out. If their are a large number, replace the floor.


Related questions about wood floor repairs:
Repairing
Cracks, Dents and Scratches
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>Do you think that 1/16" is a large gap?
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>How to touch up indentations from dog's claws (on maple floor)?
>Should I fill in deep gouges?
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>How do we blend in nail heads that are sticking out?
>What can we do about these 1/2" gaps?
>How do I remove staples from the floor?
>How do we remove scuff marks from our floor?
>What are signs of termite damage on my hardwood floors?
>I have deep gouges in my stair treads and risers. I used a putty filler and then stained some of the stairs only to discover they are still quite visible. Is there anything to do to make these marks blend in with the rest of wood?
>How can I remove the cigarette burn mark on my wood floor?
>There is some termite damage in almost all the boards of our new homes floor. I want to know if I could use wood filler over these spots or maybe even the sawdust and glue.
>Our problem is that the flooring seems to have lots of cracks between the boards and somebody in the past put a lot of NAILS in the boards in the hallway. Can we putty this or is there a better way to repair it?
>No gaps have developed anywhere on our floors, save an 8ft run betweentwo planks in the kitchen. the gap is 1/8th of an inch (A nickel fits inside of it). How can we repair this and still have the floor look great?
>If space between planks is wide can these gaps be filled without ruining the "look"?
Creaking
>How do I silence the squeaking of our hardwood stairs?
>How do we stop our floors from "popping"?
>Something heavy was dragged across floor and left a mark. How do we fix this?
>How can we fill the 1" cracks between the boards of our floors?
>Does a 3/16 variance over 10 ft. span for 3/4 thick cause creaks?
>How do I remove the staples in my floor and what do I fill the holes with?
>Our floor is making some creaking noises in some areas. How can wefix this?
Cupping and Leveling (& Blending 2 surfaces together)
>Our floor was put down in the summer and this winter it buckled along some of the seams, I think it was due to the cold winter (-35c) that we had.
>I've installed hardwood in my living room. There are some uneven transitions from board to board. How can I fix this?
>My floors are not even due to settling of the houseover the past 50 years, is it a problem refinishing them or would it beOK?
>How do we fix our buckled floorboards?
>After removing a wall, how do I join or blend these two floors?
>How to fill space (removed) wall left?
>How do you replace/or blend a single piece of flooring?
>My maple floor gets a hump in it every humid summer, what do I do?
>How do I eliminate the air bubbles under our new laminate floor?
>How do we fix the sloping floor joists on the second floor of our log home?
>We have an area approximately 15" x 20" that is not level. Is there any wood floor product (epoxy, urethane) that could actually be poured into this "valley" in our floor and would dry level with the clear finish that the floor already has?
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>Our hardwood that has buckled due to settling of 100 year old home. No boards havebroken; only some have gouges or splitting. Should I sand and refinish?
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Light/Dark Spots
>We have light areas on our floors where we once had rugs, how do we blend them in?
>How do we fix the yellow spots where the carpet covered the hardwood?
>I recently had someone come to my condo to replace a section of my laminate flooring. The new flooring ended up being about two or three shades lighter than the old. Is there any way to darken it without replacing it?
>What can I do about the uneven color, lighter and darker shades, on my floor?
>Since our maple floors were installed, we have noticed that there are patches where the colour of the flooring is much lighter than other areas. Is it oxidation?
Spills, Residues and Stains
>Some snow or water got into the pipes and dripped creosote onto our wood floor!
>After removing an old carpet I discovered paint had been dropped on the hardwood floor in several places. How do I remove it?
>Is there is any way I can remove the paint off door trim without removing the stain also?
>How do we repair water damage?
>Why do we have white spots on our floors?
>Should I use wood bleach to get rid of these deep stains?
>How do we remove the stain from the plaster that dripped onto our stair treads?
>How do we remove this glue residue from our floor?
>We have a water stain. The previous owner left some oak sawdust for hardwood floor repairs. How do we use it?
>How do we remove dog pee stains from stair treads?
>I have a dark spot on my hardwood floor which came as the result of my dog urinating on the floor. How do I remove it?
>we removed carpeting to find that pet stains have penetrated our beautiful hardwood floors - some areas are very dark, other areas appear almost "bleached" out. Do you have any suggestions on removing or lessening the stains?
>How do I remove or hide brown circles?
>What kind of bleaching can be used to remove dark pet urine stains?
>The hardwood floors in the upstairs portion of the house that we bought has been speckled with paint. How can we remove it?
>What do we do about the white spots left from the white stain we sanded off?
>Only the first coat of paint on our pine floor is removable with chemical stripper. It is possible that an epoxy paint was used underneath. What can be used to remove epoxy paint from wood?
>What can be done to remove this glue/carpet/mess residue? Any chemicals capable of not damaging the poly finish of the old hardwood and at the same time remove the glue?
>How do I get carpet underpad off our wood floor?
>My old farm house has painted wide plank pine floors. What would you recommend to remove the many layers of paint?
>Do strippers need to be neutralized with mineral spirit?
>Should we apply polyurethane over peeling paint?