Question:

The hardwood floors in the apartment we are renting are very old and have gaps running between the planks (the house was built in the late 1800s). When trying to teach our puppy where and where NOT to go to the bathroom, we noticed that whenever she had an accident it would unfortunately leak into the bedroom below (a bedroom that happens to belong to our neighbor downstairs...Yikes!). It is doubtful that our landlords will pay to have the floors refinished, so it is up to us to figure out a solution. How can we fix this leak?

Thanks,

Sheri

Answer:

Dear Sheri

Stop the leak at it source. But don't squeeze too hard. Just kidding.

As long as the golden liquid didn't make it way to the ceiling of the apartment downstairs you are O.K. And if there is enough finish on the floor, they won't be stained, and maybe those gaps are in your favor.

But if you have dark stains in the wood, and an odor that goes with it, you can certainly try bleaching with the strongest wood bleach available. You will need to remove all the floor finish off just this stained area, by chemical stripping or sanding. Try a wood bleach called Klean Strip at http://www.kleansrtip.com. It will turn the dark areas an off white color.

The off white colored spots will need a light colored wood stain to blend them in to the rest of the floor. It's quite an art. You will want the color to blend in with the final finished color of the floor, not the bare wood. Then touch up with the same finish the floor is coated with. If you don't know what that finish is, read the second part of the floor maintenance article available in the search box at the top of this web page.

And lastly, major repairs, or replacements. Or a combination of all of these methods. Find an old (or young) floor master in your area, that does these things, and will give you advise in person. But you certainly can do the bleaching yourself.

You may also find these articles helpful:

1. How to remove various stains from wood floors

2. How To Chemically Strip Wood Floors without dust!

3. Orbital Floor Sander

4. 21 Wood Floor Species

5. How To Take Care Of Your Health And Safety when Installing, Finishing, Repairing or Cleaning your wood floors


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