Q: I have a house built in 1950, and all the wood floors are original, with no polyurethane on them. Water comes through the screens on my breezeway, and this has darkened the floor to black.
I tried sanding it in small areas, but the resulting color is much lighter than the original.
Is there any way short of sanding the whole floor to remove the black and get down to the original wood?
A: In the 1950s, bare hardwood started getting a highfalutin new treatment: waxing and buffing to a shine. It was a nice finish, but relatively soft and prone to damage – and to mold, like your floor, because yours got wet.
This treatment was short-lived because it required the floors to be stripped of wax and new wax to be applied and buffed.
Ordinary varnish is the way to go, but today it is polyurethane-based.
Treat the black mold (it might be black from wear, not mold) with one part bleach and three parts water. Let dry, then sand the breezeway floor and apply two or three coats of a water-based polyurethane varnish.
If the other floors look OK, leave them alone. If not, give them the same treatment.
Caring for granite
Q: We moved into a new condo several years ago that has granite countertops. My husband and I used glass cleaners to give the top a shine. We then found out that what he used destroyed the surface of the granite and has left it looking dull. We have tried granite-cleaning products without much success. Should we just seal it as is, or should we try to restore the shine first?
A: Sorry, you did virtually everything wrong concerning granite. Have a granite dealer come over, strip it and then seal it.