Scratch-free hardwood floors possible

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Q: I have older hardwood floors, and I want to remove scratches and lighten the color. I would also like to redo the paneling in my den. Do you have any ideas on how to do this? --Marsha H., via e-mail. A: Removing the scratches and changing the color of your hardwood floor will require that the floors be sanded and refinished. The basic process is as follows: All of the furniture is removed; the floors are sanded down far enough to remove the scratches and the original stain color; the sanded wood is thoroughly vacuumed and wiped to remove dust; new stain is applied and allowed to dry (the wood can also be left its natural color, with no stain); then two to three coats of clear finish are built up, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next one. For the least hassle and the best overall results, I would recommend that you have a pro come and do the refinishing. However, if you're patient and ambitious, you can certainly do the work yourself. All of the sanding equ...