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In Focus

This is my advice on how not to fix a stain on hardwood floors...

Over the nice and much-needed four-day weekend, I worked on some odds and ends around the house, one of which was cleaning a spot on my bedroom floor. 

A few weeks ago, I was suffering from a cold and set up my humidifier which sits on the floor. Typically, I put it on top of a board with a towel on it. Well, I was not thinking straight, and put it on the floor, on top of a rag.

I have ancient hardwood floors that desperately need refinishing. Someday I plan to strip the layers of old wax off. But for now, they are what they are: foggy in some areas, discolored in others, and the sealer is degraded. The floor is probably maple. 

So, after getting over my cold and jumping full speed back into work and other chores, my room fell to the wayside longer than usual. When I finally had time to clean it thoroughly, I picked up the humidifier and was horrified. There was still water in the machine, and it had been slowly dripping onto the rag, onto the floor. I had a square spot of black mold on my floor. I cleaned it, killed the mold, and scrubbed it vigorously.

The mold had eaten through whatever wax and sealer were there and created a stain. Sigh. So, I started bleaching it out with peroxide. I’ve done it before, and it does work...sometimes, a little too well. The irony was I soaked the floor and threw a rag on it to keep it wet and soaked up.

After a few days, it was much better, but not entirely to my liking. I figured the floor was already disheveled, so I thought I’d sand that spot. At this point, I figured it couldn’t look any worse than it already did. Between a few bouts of sanding and more bleaching (don’t worry, the floor was allowed to thoroughly dry between bleachings), the black speckled stain was finally gone.

And now the bare spot on the floor had to be sealed to protect it. 

I picked a stain/sealer combo that looked close in color to the rest of the floor. After two coats, I realized it was off—so far off—it looked like a white dot on a black floor. And somehow, a pink spot showed up! I don’t know what happened or what inadvertent chemical reaction I caused, but a bright pink spot is now sealed into the one pretty spot on the floor. Guess it’s better than mold! 

After this little escapade, I will be scraping off the rest of the floor and, at some point, stain and seal it to get the entire floor to match. This domino effect was caused all because of my own actions. The irony is I am getting new stairs (treads and risers) going upstairs because they are beyond saving. The carpenter asked me what color stain I wanted. After explaining the floor fiasco, I told him to pick something dark—I no longer trust myself to pick a color of stain.


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