How to Fix a Scratch on a Hardwood Floor

How to Fix a Scratch on a Hardwood Floor

How to Fix a Scratch on a Hardwood Floor

The particular remedy that you use for scratches on your hardwood floor depends on a number of factors — how deep the scratch is, the finish on your floor, the stain on your floor (if any) and whether the scratch has penetrated it. Here are tips for fixing scratches on your hardwood floors from superficial to “what in the world did THAT?” Keep in mind that you should always test any fix on an inconspicuous bit of flooring to make sure that it does not damage your floor more.

Household Fixes for Superficial Scratches

For the most superficial of scratches on a floor that is not finished with polyurethane, you can try this traditional fix for repairing scratches in wood furniture:

1. Rub a shelled walnut over the scratch if it is so superficial that it barely scratches the wood.

If the scratch is through the finish and mars the wood, try this:

1. Mix one part olive (not virgin) or vegetable oil with one part lemon juice.

2. Rub the mixture firmly into the wood with a clean, lint-free cloth, rubbing in the direction of the scratch until it disappears.

For slightly deeper scratches, you can try this one:

1. Using a crayon the same color as the wood, color in the scratch.

2. Scrape away excess wax with the flat edge of a single-edge razor blade held at a 45 degree angle. Scrape away from you and keep the blade flat against the floor.

3. Wax the floor.

Again, those fixes are not for polyurethane finished floors, which should never be waxed. For those, you can try these simple fixes for superficial scratches:

If the scratch has not penetrated the finish into the wood:

1. Sand the scratched area lightly with 320-grit sandpaper to feather the edge.

2. Use a rag to smooth on two or three light coats of polyurethane, allowing it to dry completely between coats.

If the scratch has penetrated the finish to damage the wood:

1. Use a polyurethane touch-up kit purchased at your hardware store.

2. Fill scratch with filler.

How to Fix a Scratch on a Hardwood Floor

3. Stain if necessary.

4. Finish with two or three light coats of polyurethane.

You can purchase a hardwood repair kit at your local hardware store to keep in your toolbox. It consists of several sticks of colored wood putty that look just like crayons. When you get a scratch, you simply pick the color closest to the wood stain color, rub the putty stick over it and buff with a soft cloth. The scratch will virtually disappear.

Deep Scratches and Gouges

Again, the best solution for repairing deep gouges and scratches in your hardwood floors depends on the overall condition of the floor and the extent of the damage. If your floor is in generally excellent condition and the gouge only affects one or two planks of wood, your best option is probably to replace those planks.

If the damage is more extensive, or if the rest of the floor is starting to show wear and replacement boards would stand out, your best option may be to screen and refinish your hardwood floor. Before you decide to do this yourself, there are some things to consider:

1. Screening and refinishing is one step removed from sanding the floor down and restaining and refinishing. You will use an abrasive screen on a floor buffer to sand away the existing polyurethane finish, remove all the dust, and then apply a new coat of polyurethane.

2. While you don’t penetrate as deeply with a screen, you will still kick up a lot of polyurethane dust. This is a DIY job, but only if you are an experienced DIYer.

3. If you decide to do this yourself, be aware of all safety and health precautions and take them. You will need to work wearing a dust mask, and you will have to shield the rest of the house from the dust created by screening the floor.

If the scratches have penetrated the finish and gouged the wood, you may have to refinish the entire floor. Like screening and refinishing, this is only a DIY job if you are an experienced DIYer. If it is within your budget, sanding and refinishing a hardwood floor is a job for the professionals.


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