Q: I live in a rental apartment built in the 1940s, which has poorly maintained oak hardwood floors. In some areas there is visible termite damage. In other areas the finish has worn away from a previous installation of wall-to-wall carpet. There seems to be a very thin but hard-to-remove film in areas, which I presume was some kind of leftover from the carpet padding.
Attempts to remove it by using a magic eraser expose raw wood, not the finish. I’ve tried every floor cleaner imaginable, but it never seems to completely come off, unless you scrub hard, which again removes the finish as well.
My question is, is any of this toxic? Both me and my spouse have developed problems with our feet (loss of feeling on the soles, irritation and edema) whose cause has yet to be determined. Our robot vacuum usually finds some very small tiny, tiny splinters on it’s daily sweep.
Does the exposed, unfinished wood contain toxic chemicals? Can bacteria resistant to common household floor cleaning products reside there? The residue from the carpet pad.. same questions? The old flaking finish? If the answer is a yes, is there any way to test for these conditions? Thanks for your help.
A: Literally anything could have been applied to that carpet over they years, so who knows? It doesn’t sound like something I’d want to walk on with my bare feet. To find more definitive answers to your questions you would have to consult with somebody to does environmental testing. They have specialized equipment which can test for mold, etc.
Follow-up: Yea, been having a problem with that. They test for mold, asbestos, lead.. but not unknown chemicals or bacteria, at least not at a price an average person could afford. Guess I should tell my landlord that this is what it is and hope he either sands and seals the floor or installs wall to wall again.