Finish flaked off and wood looks gray and discolored

Q: I have hardwood floors that are old and very dry. I sanded the old finish off, which was spotty and flaking off, but some of the wood looks gray and discolored.

Is there any remedy besides replacement?

A: If the finish is flaking off, then for some reason adhesion was not gained between the floor and the finish itself. It could be that this old floor was originally waxed and if most of that wax is not removed by sanding, then the only thing to do is wax again, after a full sanding. This is the only way to get rid of the gray areas, aside from replacing those boards. If there is a wax issue, you might also have better results by using a water borne finish. This is best left to a professional in your area.

Similar Q, only between boards: My hardwoods were refinished 2 months ago. It is now cold outside and the polyurethane is noticeably flaking in between the floor boards. Is this normal?

A: It sounds like your floors perhaps have shrunk in width now that heating season is in full swing and the finish stretched and broke along board edges. Is it normal? It’s normal if you have significantly low humidity in your house for this time of year compared to the rest of the year. It’s not flaking on the top of the boards though, correct?