How to Fix Scratches on Hardwood Floors

Wood flooring is extremely popular and for good reasons. It is fashionable, durable, and looks awesome…except for when it gets scratched. While some hardwood floors are designed to look rustic, with scratches adding to the effect, many types are not.

Moving furniture across your floors, walking on the floors with high-heel shoes, and other abusive actions can wreak havoc on your beautiful floors. Soft wood scratches even with daily with normal wear and tear. If you have scratches on your hardwood flooring that don’t belong there, you can easily fix them.

Prep the Surface

No matter the size of the scratch you’ll be repairing, always clean the floor before embarking on the job. Sweep or vacuum it and then mop. Allow the flooring to dry thoroughly. If you sand during the process, sweep or vacuum and mop again before continuing. If you fail to clean the floor well, you’ll have dust or sanding specs embedded in the stain and urethane…for the life of your floor.

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Removal of Light Scratches

Removing light scratches that are not much more than surface deep is a breeze. Some light scratches don’t take much more than a “spit and shine” approach. Simply take a cloth that has been moistened with water and rub gently.

If that doesn’t solve the issue, you can rub steel wool very lightly across the surface, being careful to go with the grain. Add a tad of furniture polish (like Old English), stain marker, Sharpie marker, or light stain if any of the finish rubs off along with it.

Removal of Deep Scratches

When your floor is deeply scratched, raw wood on it may be exposed which is not good for it. The color can become stripped away and serious damage can occur. To repair the floor’s damage, you will want to stain it with a marker or small area of stain. Graining pencils also come in handy to hide any raw wood that shows through. Interestingly, you can even rub the surface with a real walnut to repair the damage because it will color the exposed area in. Do be sure the walnut is a lighter shade than the flooring is or it will stand out too much.

After adding the color back to the flooring, if it is sealed with a urethane finish, be sure to add that on top. Don’t forget to match the sheen with what is already on the floor if possible – satin or glossy.

Removing Gouges

Gouges are the worst. They stick out like a sore thumb. But, they too can be fixed. If an entire chunk of your floor is missing, you will want to fill the divot in with a wood putty. Then, sand the area with a sander (a palm sander is ideal). Stain the area and finish it off with urethane so that it blends in with the rest of the flooring.

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To DIY or Not to DIY?

To do the job yourself or not…that is the question. If you are confident in your DIY skills, there’s no reason you can’t do the job yourself with the instructions above. But, if you doubt your ability, it’s wise to go ahead and call a professional who is highly skilled in wood flooring repairs.

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