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We had a customer with a very challenging floor.

What should have been a one-day sand took three days of excruciating work. But the customer was a trooper and didn't cut any corners; he followed our advice and he managed to truly save that floor. On the morning he was scheduled to apply his finish, he called us to complain that his floor was covered in a waxy residue. We asked if he had done anything to the wood overnight and he admitted that he was worried about the dust left on the floor and went to the hardware store in search of a solution.

It is an unavoidable truth of hardwood floors that gaps will eventually open up between the boards, parallel to their long sides. Keeping the humidity constant in your home can help to limit the swelling and shrinking of your boards, but in older homes, those seasonal gaps may have become permanent. How do you cope with those?

Q. I'm sanding a floor from the 1910s where an old rug had been tacked down in the middle of the floor. There was no finish at all under the rug, but there was a coating of some kind around the edge, along the walls. The problem is that the area that was under the rug is much darker than the perimeter and no matter how much I sand, I can't get it to lighten to match the edge. Why can't I sand that wood clean?  Buddy W. New Jersey

Q. Is there an easy way to remove this layer of black stuff on my hardwood floor?