I’m interested in purchasing an older home and the home I’m mostly interested in has its original hardwood floors but the kitchen shows some damage.
I imagine they’re water damaged. The stains are apparently old the wood isn’t damp or moldy, and the floors have been refinished recently but the stains weren’t removed or that’s the best the could do.

Is there anything I can do? Maybe wood bleach? I really don’t want to have to put different flooring in, unless I have no choice but to do so.

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  • Less-scary floor sanders exist. I used one which was essentially four smaller disk sanders mounted together under a dust vacuum. Less likely to dig in than either the large-disk or belt-sander varieties, and I think it's a good choice for the novice who is doing this for the first and possibly only time. Tool rental places have 'em; they do charge more for these than for the others.
    – keshlam
    Dec 5, 2022 at 21:52
  • Worthwhile watch related to old floors, water damage, and refinishing youtube.com/watch?v=f-WnfuqWSKA Dec 5, 2022 at 22:03

2 Answers 2


If they're real hardwood (typically 3/4" thick), they should be able to be sanded down to remove all or most of the offending stain. Then re-stained to whatever color you want. This is probably a job for a professional.

If you decide to do this as a DIY project, I would caution you against using a big drum sander (what you would need for a job this big) yourself, unless you've handled one of these things before. They can get away from you in a heartbeat. Let it sit in one place for more than a second or so and you now have a big rounded gouge in your floor. Even if you don't let it sit, just changing the pace at which you move the sander along the floor can leave some uneveness. Been there, done that!

  • 1
    The implication being to use a plate sander, which is much more forgiving to the noob. It's what I used.
    – isherwood
    Dec 5, 2022 at 21:27
  • As commented above, multi-plate may be even more forgiving.
    – keshlam
    Dec 5, 2022 at 21:53

First use a nail set and sink the nails so that they do not interfere with the sander.

Get (rent) a floor sander and go to work.

Probably start with 80 grit sandpaper or even lower, then give it a final touch with 200 grit.

nail sets


  • 1
    Aren't most hardwood floors tongue & groove and nailed down through the groove so there are no exposed nails? TBF, the OP's pic is pretty blurry, but there don't appear to be any exposed nails. Also, "Tackle Warehouse" is, most likely, fishing supplies - these are NOT designed to be hit with a hammer to drive a nail head, they're sinkers for fishing lures. The term you're looking for is "nail set"...
    – FreeMan
    Dec 5, 2022 at 13:50
  • 2
    "Hardwood floors are not tongue&groove." Not in the house I grew up in: tongue & groove all the way. Same for the house I just lived in for 6 years then sold. Tongue & grove is very common on hardwood floors. Dec 5, 2022 at 18:49

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