Smelly Wood Floor


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Old 05-04-11, 01:44 PM
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Smelly Wood Floor

The hardwood floor in my apartment was scraped, sanded & polyurethaned about 20 years ago. With very low traffic in the apartment the floor held up very well until fairly recently. Now I notice when the weather is warm there is an odor from the floor. I don't know what causes it but know it's from the floor. After years of washing it (with Murphy Oil Soap mixed in water) the floor is no longer fully sealed; there are some narrow spaces between some of the boards.

My questions:
1) How can I get rid of the odor?
2)Can anything be done to refinish the floor short of going through the sanding process again?

Any suggestions are much appreciated!
 
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Old 05-04-11, 02:37 PM
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You'll probably need to identify the source of the odor before you can successfully get rid of it.

A light sanding, removal of the dust and a fresh coat of poly will often rejuvenate an old floor. A lot depends on how bad the existing finish is. Floor wax might work but it would have to be removed before any poly could be used.
 
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Old 05-04-11, 03:12 PM
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I've smelled the same odor in other apartments where the floor wasn't finished, so I assume it's from the wood, products that seeped into it, or something used to treat it when the building was built. I know shellac was used on the floors in the past. When sealed, there's no odor.

Sanding can't be done unless I move out. Hoped there might be some other way to seal the floors. Oh well, thanks for responding.

Regards,
CityGal
 
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Old 05-04-11, 04:18 PM
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Just a thought. Red oak (if that is what the floor is) will smell like cat urine in a raw state. So it is possible some of the floor has worn to the wood and is exuding that smell.
 
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Old 05-04-11, 04:50 PM
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Thanks, Chandler. Yes, I believe it is the raw wood that smells and not a pleasant odor at all!

So what can be done to eliminate it, short of redoing the whole sanding proces? Would putting more polyurethane coats down do the trick?

Regards,
CityGal
 
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Old 05-05-11, 03:11 AM
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You can't just apply poly to the floor but you might not need to sand it all completely down to raw wood. A scuff sanding should allow the new coat of poly to adhere to what's left of the existing finish. The poly will seal the wood if that's what is emitting the odor.
 
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Old 05-05-11, 06:46 AM
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Ok, appreciate the advice.

Regards,
CityGal
 
 

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