Asked on Jun 29, 2015

Need to refinish floors

Idyllic Pursuit
by Idyllic Pursuit
We tore up the carpet in our new home and there are stains everywhere!! The lady had TEN dogs! What's the best way to tackle this? I would love to have just a hardwood floor and not have to cover with carpet.
  24 answers
  • Lisa Lisa on Jun 29, 2015
    You can rent machines to strip them down. The you'll have to refinish with top coat of your liking.
  • Trixie63 Trixie63 on Jun 29, 2015
    I think the only way this is going to work is if you sand it down. Clean the dust while the room reeks and then stain very dark. Otherwise I think there is no way to get rid of ten dogs and many years worth of stains. If you want light floors you'll probably have to replace them sigh!!!
  • Jan Loehr Jan Loehr on Jun 29, 2015
    If you can, it would be so worth getting a professional floor finisher's opinion before you tackle something like this. If you are going for perfection, I definitely would have this done the right way...It would add greatly to the resale value of your home when you sell.
  • Sharon Nash Stogner Sharon Nash Stogner on Jun 29, 2015
    I would definitely ask a professional. I once had one tell me that nothing removed pet accidents from hardwood. This was years ago, so hopefully that is no longer the case. A professional opinion shouldn't cost you anything.
  • Spa1275067 Spa1275067 on Jun 29, 2015
    In my experience in re-finishing oak floors, dog urine stains penetrate more deeply into the wood than that which can be removed by sanding, even by a professional re-finisher. Your only choice is to stain the wood dark enough to cover the urine stains. You may still have some variation, but the darker you go, the better your coverage will be.
    • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jun 29, 2015
      @Spatters Agree. Might try bleaching but time consuming and no guarantees of payback for time spent or good results.
  • Crystal Crystal on Jun 29, 2015
    Take an orbital sander with 60 grit sandpaper and go Over spots, you are trying to get the poly off. The stains should be no deeper than that, unless the poly is peeling, then you would have to sand it all the way to the wood. Flooring equipment can be rented all most home depots. It is well worth hiring someone that professionally that specializes in sand and refinish. The equipment is not easy to use, without proper knowledge and training you could ruin your floor.
  • Kimberly A Kimberly A on Jun 30, 2015
    We just finished remodeling a home with the same problem. Many of those stains are below the varnish. You will have to sand heavily and the worst stains will still be there. There is a wood bleach containing oxalic acid that can be used once you have sanded. It is very hard to find and extremely caustic so follow the directions exactly. This will still not remove everything. Nothing probably will so at this point you have to decide if it's good enough or if you want to stain the floor much darker to blend it in better. In our case we only darkened it a bit and left the worst staining. The house was 50 years old and it was just part of the character of the house. People loved everything about the house including the floors and it sold for full price. Good luck with your project!
  • Kim Kilmer Kim Kilmer on Jun 30, 2015
    You can buy oxalic acid on amazon for $35.00 for a 20lb bag or $15 for a 5 lb bag. I would recommend using that. I had similar stains but smaller and used a paste of the acid mixed with water. You spread your paste on the stain and then cover with a piece of plastic wrap to keep it moist. It only works while it is still wet. I left mine on for 24-36 hours. Be careful to only put it on the stain as it will also bleach the wood around it without the stain. Worked extremely well for me.
  • Ray Phillips Ray Phillips on Jun 30, 2015
    As a retired (always tired) builder. as Kim said use oxalic acid and follow directions. and leave it on at least 24 hours. then rent a floor sander from home depot. I recommend the 3 disk sander. that way you won't dig into the floor if you leave it in one place too long, start off with 24 or 36 grit and finish with 80 or 100. if you want to stain it or leave it natural. your choice. I perfer natural. put at least 3 coats of clear water based poly and let it dry between coats, it will dry quick. I like gloss but gloss or satin looks great
  • Susan Susan on Jun 30, 2015
    You really should make sure that the sub-floor hasn't also been damaged. Just a thought.
  • Bananas! Bananas! on Jun 30, 2015
    One reaction - gross - consider replacing the wood if you cannot get the stains out... how is the smell?
    • Idyllic Pursuit Idyllic Pursuit on Jun 30, 2015
      @Bananas! That's the thing!! ZERO smell. Even if the AC is off and it's super hot inside.
  • Bananas! Bananas! on Jun 30, 2015
    OK, so have the boards been sanded bfore? if not, then you have maybe up to 1/2 " you can sand the heck out of! nothing to lose really is there?(except 1/2 and inch or so) then try what the others are recommending for the remaining stains....if it's really bad still, then you may have to just put new flooring (try if they have specials, it's really worth it and they may have free shipping then it's REALLY worth it and they'll send you free samples ahead of time - call them if you're worried, they're really helpful) however, I really hope the sanding works out! you could always paint the floor although that would be a last resort IMHO - but if budget is really tight....there are some super fun paint ideas out there..... keep us posted on your progress!
    • Ray Phillips Ray Phillips on Jul 03, 2015
      @Bananas! Sorry, but you would only have maybe 1/8th that you could sand off, anymore and you would be down to the tongue and grove.
  • Denbi Denbi on Jun 30, 2015
    Had same issue, we're 3rd generation in home and each generation had fods n puppies (puppies pee!). So hold on to your hat: 1st I sanded with a BIG sander rented from Home Depot, then sanded with a hand held sander with 80 then 100, then 120 grit. Last i hand sanded with 220 grit. People said you don't need to go over 100 but my floors are like glass. Then i scrubbed the spots hard with amonia after vacuuming, of course. Then mopped, dried for a day. Went over whole thing with a rag wet with alcohol changing it out when nec. Finallt, I bought oil based Spar urethane by Minwax (yes, you can stay at home during this phase even though folks say you can't). I ended up with 3 coats lightly sanded in between and the floor has character, is gorgeous, and will last a LONG TIME. Notice I didn't use any stain. Well, good luck.
  • Tamara Goetten Tamara Goetten on Jun 30, 2015
    All the above are great ideas, but if they don't work and the stains won't go one of my friends that is a home builder and remodeler said what you should do is find a stain that matches the darkest spot and stain the floor and you will not realize the spot was there.
  • Jill Urish Jill Urish on Jul 01, 2015
    Good luck. I have the same problem. Also have dots on the wood from the padding underneath. I'm trying to get a professional to give me an estimate, but no luck finding anyone to do it. All else fails I will just carpet the room again.
  • Marcy Wilder Marcy Wilder on Jul 01, 2015
    Sand it down and then stain it a really dark stain. That is what Nicole from Rehab Addict would say.
  • Linda Linda on Jul 01, 2015
    Our's looked even worse but after sanding, using a dark stain and 3 coats of a satin urethane finish, it looks great.
  • That was the same thing we ran into when we moved into our home six years ago. We sanded it down, stained it dark walnut. They look terrible now, but after it was first done, it was good.
  • There is no saving this floor. If you stain it dark the pet stain even after staining will be more pronounced. Pet stains do not sand out I tried. You might want to think about check the subfloor to sure there is no rot. If the subfloor is sound, I would prime and seal floor and paint it
  • Roxanne Fischer Roxanne Fischer on Jul 01, 2015
    Wood bleach. Jeff jewitt explains on explains the different wood bleaches, then sand, stain etc
  • Kristin Topping Kristin Topping on Jul 02, 2015
    It is always exciting to keep your floor looking like new whether it is Wood or laminate, you will want to make sure you take care of it. If you have pets at home, you know the importance of choosing the right type of flooring. One of the biggest problems with pets is their nails. If you do not keep them trimmed, they could scratch alaminate or hardwood floor. In my opinion, you should talk to an expert at your local flooring company to find out more about the right floor for your home with pets.
  • Betty Miller Betty Miller on Sep 09, 2016
    Looks like these might be old timber hard wood but if recent( last fifty years )may not clean up.. Rent a sander and see if the stains sand off. If they don't replacement is the answer. My opinion.
  • Deb Comstock Deb Comstock on May 17, 2019

    I have this issue and checked on line. I have had great results with peroxide and white paper towels. Use several layers of white paper towels and cut them to the shape of the stain. Spray the layers until wet, but not soaked or dripping. Put it carefully on the stain, matching the shape. Let it sit overnight. Respray if it gets dry but not sopping. Dry any over spray on the non-stained areas. Remove the next day and sprinkle with baking soda to completely dry if stain is removed. If not, repeat and then use the baking soda. It is not perfect, but if works amazingly well and it non toxic.


    • Idyllic Pursuit Idyllic Pursuit on Jun 20, 2020

      Hey, I wanted to let you know that we tried this method and it worked! I can't even see the stains anymore!! Thank you!!

  • Azee Azee on Aug 22, 2019

    You can save it.

    You have to sand it/refinish.

    You can choose a darker stain or weather the sanded floor with a tea made from steel wool steeped 36 hours in white vinegar in a glass jar (strain it through a paper towel then wipe it on with a soft rag (like water popping, moist not wet or puddled and let it dry).

    Moisture is difficult since it darkens wood.

    Some people pay a lot for custom weathered floors, but pet rings are different = acidic (which is why vinegar steel wool stain would match it best).

    Then, Bona HD once you like the weathered result (it is beautiful - neutral grey tones, natural grain enhanced).

    Or, I’d call a professional.