Water stains on hardwood floors
May 17, 2018 6:44 AM   Subscribe

I’m considering buying a condo. I like the floors, but there are some water stains where a previous owner left potted plants sitting on the floor. Is this something that’s fixable with refinishing, or am I looking at having to either live with it or install new flooring?

(It’s wood laid over concrete, so there’s no larger concern that the structure itself is damaged.)
posted by Blue Jello Elf to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Refinishing will usually get most of it out unless it's a very deep stain. Unfortunately a wet potted plant sitting in place on wood like that for years probably means it's a deep stain. You'll always see a faint trace of it being there.

If it's real hardwood and not Pergo or "manufactured" flooring there's also the option of replacing just those boards before refinishing. A skilled refinisher can blend the stain to make it match up, but again it may never be a 100% match.

If you like the condo I would say get a negotiated offer in place (without mentioning the stain), then get an estimate from a flooring pro and try to get that price deducted from the offer as a post-inspection problem you found. The seller will call it a "stain", you call it "damage", which is what it is.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:55 AM on May 17, 2018

In my experience flooring companies have refused to refinish just part of even a hardwood floor. They will only do an entire floor because it is so difficult to match finishes it's not worth the hassle to them. So get estimates.
posted by Gnella at 8:58 AM on May 17, 2018

If the stains cannot be sanded out, you may be able to hide them fairly well by having a dark stain put onto the floor during refinishing. That would require refinishing and staining the entire floor, though.
posted by BlueJae at 10:21 AM on May 17, 2018

JoeyZydeco has it. If this is real hardwood and not some kind of unique/odd-size/exotic wood that nobody can find, it's patchable. A flooring installer can pull the damaged boards and install new ones.

The patch will not match perfectly and it may get more noticeable with age (or it may get less noticeable, hard to predict) but honestly I've seen it done many times and you'd have to be looking for it to notice it. Get a good installer though, somebody who's been doing this for a while and has Seen Some Shit. Figuring out how to blend in a patch effectively takes experience.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:17 PM on May 17, 2018

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