Discoloration on Hardwood Floors

by HomeAdvisor

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Q: We removed all the wall-to-wall carpeting in our home to reveal the hardwood flooring below. The hardwood flooring is in decent shape, but there are dark areas around some parts of the floor perimeter as if at one time someone had an almost wall-to-wall rug. Someone suggested that those dark areas are wax build-up, but the product I bought to remove it had no effect. What might be the cause of that darkening of the wood finish and is there a remedy, short of refinishing?

A: The color change around the perimeter of your hardwood floor could be caused from many different things. The wood floor was exposed to the occupants' lifestyles for the period it was uncovered. Cooking, fireplaces, smoking, sunlight, and household chemicals all can be contributing factors to the discoloration, not to mention wood's inherent characteristic to "patina" (change color with age).

Try using a very fine steel wool dipped in the wax build-up cleaner you have, work it in with the grain and see if it lightens up.

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However, for best results, I would recommend a complete sanding and refinishing to restore the floor's beauty and to help blend the appearance of the original flooring with the new replaced pieces. I'm sure once it's complete, you will consider it a worthwhile investment in your home.

Keep in mind that some of the discoloration will not come out due to the porous nature of the wood. This also reflects the charm of the wood and the history of the past occupants of the home.

John Fuchs, Senior Carpet Inspector, Carpet Warehouse, Rancho Cordova, CA