Hi there, Kate,
First of all, I am so sorry. I applaud you for staying out of the home; it is obvious that you really know your stuff!
- My first question would be, what brand/product was used?
- Secondly, i would suggest not sanding it, but covering it with AFM Safecoat's Hard Seal. This product is made specifically for this type of situation and will seal in existing offgassing on the floorboards.
When you mention high VOCs, I wonder if you would be willing to read an article called "The ABCs about VOCs" that gives the facts of VOCs.
- Unfortunately the term "low-VOC" has become one of the most-used greenwashing terms in the history of Green.
- After you read this article, you will have a better understanding of what to look for.
If you choose to pull the floorboards out and sand them, please do so outside the home.
I would recommend AFM Safecoat's Durostain to re-stain with.
For more information:
Read "How do you remove or encapsulate non-green wall and floor finishes?" a Q&A answered by Steve Rush.