Spot finishing grey areas

Q: My mom’s floors have well traveled areas (like doorways) where the floors look almost gray. The floors are otherwise light. How can the well traveled areas be repaired to look like the rest? Is there something we can put on it? Can I spot repair wood floors?

A: The floors need to be totally sanded and finished from scratch. The grey areas are that way because the finish has been totally removed, exposing the wood to the elements and effects of day to day living. Trying to patch the area won’t give you a good blend with the rest of the floors. If wooden floors are finished with proper techniques and good finishes, and given the usual care and maintenance that any floor covering would require, this sort of situation should not arise.

Similar Q: I’m redoing my floors and I tried to “spot sand” a couple dark spots. For the rest I lightly sanded the poly. I’m now worried that the sanded spots will show lighter than older aged, more yellowed poly floor. Is there anything to do short of sanding whole floor evenly?

A: Not really. It might help to sand the entire board rather than just a spot. Duplicate on the entire board what you did with the spots, then apply painters tape around the board joints, apply a thin coat of finish and remove the tape immediately. Repeat.

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors:  We have 6″ pine plank floors in our living room and dining room. Unfortunately there are some worn areas that need refinishing. Is it possible to redo only the worn areas and blend into the finished areas, without redoing the entire floor?

A: By worn areas, do you mean areas where the finish has actually worn off the floor, and the wood has become discolored, grey to black? If that is the case, those areas, for sure, would have to be taken down to the bare wood to remove the discoloration. It is very difficult if not impossible to fix and blend a patch in the middle of a room. However, what you could try to do, provided you have end joints close to the area of problem- try finishing just the full boards that are affected. But, it has to be the full board, and not half the board. If these worn areas are only in a few spots, It might be possible to finish these areas (full boards), and then buff and recoat the entire floor. If the newly sanded and finished spots appear a bit lighter than the rest of the floor, and you are patient, it will age and eventually blend in, but this is provided that you finish each needed board as an independent piece of wood.

Related Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors:  On my hardwood I have white spots around the refinished spots.

A: You are refinishing spots only? If you don’t abrade the area thoroughly the finish may not adhere. Since this is happening around the edges I suspect this is the case and the finish is likely in the process of de-laminating. My guess.

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