I'm considering putting an offer in on a house that is a fixer upper. I'd like to keep the original (1945) hardwood floors but am concerned about their condition.

The floor has a large bare spot in the middle of the room where it looks like the stain and varnish have been worn away leaving the bare wood exposed. Other parts of the room have large black spots (2-3 feet long).

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My goal is to sand the floors so they are no longer a darker wood color and then re-stain them a light maple or a natural tone like sand.

Is this possible with these floors?

  • How about some pictures?
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 5:07
  • you are asking about a worn spot, yet it fills only about 3% of the picture
    – jsotola
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 6:08
  • With the right people doing the job, it will turn out fabulous, but it will not be cheap...
    – Jack
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 6:15
  • it really depends what colour the wood is,
    – Jasen
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 10:51

2 Answers 2


Solid hardwood floors can be refinished several times. However, we don't know enough about your floor to answer properly. Some factors:

  • How many times it's been done before. Eventually you start getting through to the tongue of the plank, which leaves thin spots and gaps. You might also start seeing nail heads.
  • How severe the dark spot damage is. That might be water stains, which can go quite deep. If they're deep and dark enough you won't get them out entirely.
  • The color you plan on using. The dark stain that's on there now may have seeped all the way down the vertical faces of the planks. That, along with the water stains, may mean you won't get a nice finish with a light stain or just varnish. You may have to stick to a darker color to mask those things.

I sanded a similar wood floor, a bit older though.

I used a drum sander 8 or 10” in diameter and 14 or 16” long roughly.

I sanded diagonal to the grain with coarse then finer grades of paper. It took about 5 passes in total with 2 at the medium paper.

This produced a lot of dust and I sealed all the doors to prevent other rooms getting covered. Also had a big vac to get the dust.

Stain and finish as preferred.

  • 1
    How did it come out with the drum sander? In my experience they're difficult to get a flat surface. I opted for a slower plate sander.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 15:54
  • @isherwood started with 6" warped boards, knocked the brads back and ended up with a flat floor. Much improved, but not a billiard table.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 16:01
  • Why diagonally instead of with the grain? Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 2:24
  • 1
    The grit cuts more quickly cross-grain, so you can start with that if you need to remove a lot of material. Then you revert to go with the grain for the subsequent grits or you'll end up with visible cross-grain scratches.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 2:29

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