Making spot repairs

For a Water Stain on a waxed floor, rub the wax lightly with No. 1 (medium grade) steel wool, being careful not to rub through the wax. Then reapply the wax with a solvent-based wax. If the stain remains, remove all the wax on and around the stain with floor-wax remover and clean with No. 1 steel wool and mineral spirits. After the floor dries, apply more wax and buff to a high sheen. For a shallow burn mark on a polyurethane floor, scrape it up with an extremely sharp chisel or scraper. Then apply a dollop of oil-based polyurethane. A burn mark that has gone through the finish must wait for a full-floor drum sanding, and it must be sanded out by hand. For a burn on a waxed floor, try No. 1 steel wool moistened with soap and water. Let the floor dry thoroughly and rewax. Any burn that has gone through to the wood needs to be sanded out by hand when the floor gets drum sanded. For heel marks and deep scuffs on a polyure-thane floor, see if the scratch has penetrated the finish by wetting it with your finger. If the wood darkens along the scratch, it has penetrated completely and you must apply more polyurethane. You can sand and spot-apply polyurethane, though you risk an obvious patch. The alternative is to screen and recoat the entire floor. To get rid of heel marks and scuffs on a waxed floor, polish the mark with 000 (extra fine) steel wool and hardwood-floor cleaner. Wipe the floor dry and rewax. Water stains on a polyurethane floor indicate that water has gotten beneath the finish and into the wood, a difficult problem to fix. First, try a hardwood-floor cleaner (about $4) and buff with a clean cotton rag. If the stain remains, you'll have to sand off the polyurethane and perhaps sand the wood itself. You can spot-sand down to bare wood with 100-grit sandpaper, and spot-recoat with polyurethane matched to the gloss of the existing finish (use an oil-based polyurethane to patch an existing oil-based finish, and a water-based poly to patch an existing water-based finish). However, expect the patch to be a different color and sheen than the surrounding area. Consider screening the entire floor or a discrete section. Water stains on a waxed floor often are just on the wax surface. Start by rubbing the wax lightly with No. 1 steel wool, being careful not to rub through the wax. Then reapply the wax with a solvent-based wax. If the stain remains, remove all the wax on and around the stain with floor-wax remover and clean the spot with No. 1 steel wool and mineral spirits. Then let the floor dry and apply more wax. Buff to a high sheen. Pet stains are tough to remove from a hardwood floor, especially if the stain is old. Try a hardwood-floor cleaner or mineral spirits, but you'll probably have to sand the floor. Some stains are so deep you may have to replace the flooring. For an oil or grease stain on a waxed floor, try trisodium phosphate (TSP). Buff the wax with a clean cotton rag. On a polyurethane floor, wipe the stain with mineral spirits. Then dry with a clean cotton rag. Wax buildup can look cloudy, so remove it with wax remover or mineral spirits (the fumes are flammable, so extinguish all open flames such as a pilot light). Use 00 (very fine) steel wool and cotton rags to pick up the old wax. Seal the used cloths in a metal can and dispose. Scrape up chewing gum, crayon or candle wax after you freeze the material by placing ice in a double plastic bag on top of it.

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