We bought a house built in 1857. It has beautiful hardwood floors. The family room was carpeted some time along the way. We pulled up the carpet, revealing the floors. About 3 ft into the room along every edge, someone painted the floor dark brown. How can we remove that paint? We don't know what type of paint it is.

  • That used to be the fashion. Carpets were never fully-fitted back then, they were plonked in the middle with a space round the edges… which got painted if if got past its best.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 15:55
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    The other thing you should check for if the paint contains lead. Get it tested, if you have lead, you'll need to be super careful about ventilation (like LOTS OF IT) and a true respirator, not just a cloth / material mask. Containment from the rest of the house will also be critical. Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


Generally old hardwood floors are resurfaced by sanding with a floor sander.

You may be able to remove the paint with a stripper product but usually you will not be able to get the color of the stripped floor matched with the unpainted surface that adjoins it.

Floor sanders and supplies are available for rent at most tool rental shops:

Floor Sander

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    If the paint is lead-based, and there's a non-zero chance it is based on the way and area in which it was applied, a chemical stripper would likely be the best way to get rid of the paint, followed by a sanding to even out the whole floor prior to refinishing.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 18:54

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