Installing hardwood around a fireplace

Q: I have a couple of questions. I have an existing 3/4″ pre finished birch floor that I installed several years back. Our dog has scratched it up a good bit in spots, not deep but quite obvious. The flooring has a micro bevel. How would you recommend sanding for a new finish?

I don’t really want to sand enough to remove the micro bevel but am worried about the finish adhering to the area in the bevel.

I am also installing 3/4″ hardwood in my family room. There is a brick fireplace that I need to install around. I could frame around it but am considering undercutting the brick with a jamb saw (with a diamond blade) and sliding the hardwood underneath. How deep do I need to cut and do you just chisel out the waste?

A: I have been at this over 32 years. I have the same floor in my kitchen. 2″ wide pre finished birch. I love the look. It matches my Hickory cabinets very well. But my little Boston terrier has marked it up pretty badly. I knew it was a gamble, since birch is softer that oak. Even though it is micro bevel, it is a problem. I believe that the joints must be at least sanded, or buffed so a coat will adhere. These floors are one of those nightmares waiting to happen.

As to the fire place, I would frame around it and grout or caulk the gap where it may appear. Forget about under cutting for the most part. Make sure the frame is square with the room.