How to fix scratches on hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are definitely a reasonable choice for flooring, but they also have their enemies. New scratches are likely to appear from time to time. These can ruin the appeal of your beautiful wood floor.

Scratches can be caused by moving and dragging heavy furniture or appliances, or even by your pets’ toenails. However, light scratches require a different repair approach than deep scratches. See below what professionals advise.

Inspect the scratched area of the floor to determine the depth of the scratch.

Fixing surface scratches (if only the protective coating is scratched)

These are the easiest to fix because only the top protective coating has to be repaired.

First, clean the affected area using hardwood floor cleaner and a soft cloth.

Rinse with plain water and allow the area to dry.

Finally, refinish the board.

Removing light scratches (if the scratch penetrates the surface of the wood under the protective coating)

For removing light scratches you will need fine steel wool.

First, clean the surface using the above mentioned procedure.

Use the steel wool to gently rub the scratch. Be sure to follow the grain of the wood or you’ll leave more scratches on the floor.

To smooth out the damaged area after rubbing, rub with mineral spirits.

Finally, refinish the board.

Repairing deeper scratches

Deeper scratches require some sanding. Use lightweight sandpaper to sand along the grain of the wood.

To smooth out the damaged area after rubbing, rub with mineral spirits.

Then you’ll need wood filler that matches the color of the wood. Use a plastic putty knife to apply the filler onto the scratches. After filling the scratches let the filler dry.

Once again, sand to remove the excess filler and wipe up the dust.

Once the area is clean and dry, apply a new layer of the protective coating. Refinish the board with varnish, polyurethane, or a similar product to match the rest of your floor.

Sanding and refinishing is a smart method for repairing scratches, dents and gouges that are less than 1/8 inch deep. For deeper scratches consider replacing the boards and sanding and refinishing the whole floor.

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