My house was built in the 1920's. Under my carpet is beautiful 2" red oak plank floors. I plan on refinishing in my entire house over the next couple years. I have my first child (a little girl) on the way and figured I'd start with her room.
The problem: The outside of the room (2' or so around) had at least 1 (if not 2) layers of varnish and a coat of paint on it. I rented a large orbital sander (4 pads) and got to work. The paint would gum up all over the pads in 10-20 seconds. After blowing through 8 pads in no time, I decided to use paint stripper instead. It worked great. 10 minutes after spreading it on, the paint came right up. after getting all the paint up and letting it dry, I noticed a significant difference in tone from the once painted area to the rest (see attached photo). The middle square of the room is nice red oak and on the outside, it almost looks bleached. Whether from the strength of the paint stripper or the protection over the years from the layers of paint and varnish, there's an obvious outline where the transition is. I figured it would go away with a few passes with 36 grit on the floor sander. I went over the entire floor with 4 passes with no difference showing. Next I spread the paint stripper on the middle part of the floor where it's darker and left it sit for 10 minutes or so and wiped it up. Still nothing. I'm afraid to keep sanding because i don't think I'm too far from hitting tongues and grooves. As of now, I intend to use a medium-dark tinted poly to try to get it to blend. I wanted to go clear and would love to find an alternative to going darker. I don't think I'll be able to hide it completely either way. The other 2 rooms that I pulled some carpet up are the same. Has anybody ever found a solution to this craziness?