Tar off-gassing

Q: I own a 1954 home in Houston with wood floors. I was told that the slabs on homes in Houston were covered with tar in areas over which wooden floors were to be laid, with the tar acting as a moisture barrier and anchor for the runner / supports. The person who told me was adamant that it was common and done on most, if not all, homes here in that time. Continue reading Tar off-gassing

Smelly wood?

Q: I’m perplexed by the smells inhabiting my house these days. It almost smells like something is “hot” in my house. My electrician assured me that all was well. So, my question is – could my hardwood floors give off a woody/hot smell given the high heat and humidity? Continue reading Smelly wood?

Refinished wood floors smell

Q: We moved into to new place a little over three months ago. The wood floors were refinished before we moved in. The day we moved in we noticed a strong odor that smelled like varnish. The odor was so strong that it made us sick. I experienced a rash, chest pains, cramps, and nausea. Continue reading Refinished wood floors smell

Toxic Swedish finish?

Q: My builder’s wonderful flooring company installed red oak hardwood floors on the whole main floor of our house and now I hear that Europe banned the Swedish finish used on our floors almost 20 years ago. I need to know how toxic these floors are, about toxic Swedish finish, and is there a finish I can apply over the finish in order to seal in the gassing off? Continue reading Toxic Swedish finish?