Hardwood floors are unsurpassed in beauty and warmth. However, in a house that gets a lot of action from a large family, entertaining, or even pets, scuffed wood floors are inevitable. The good news is that even deep scratches can be removed or covered and masked effectively! Learn how to fix scratches in wood floors with these step-by-step hardwood floor scratch repair tips and tricks.
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Step #1: Determine the Depth of the Scratch
If the scratch is superficial, a homeowner can hide scratches in wood floors with these special kinds of markers. They come in a wealth of colors that can match, and therefore conceal, a great variety of hardwood floors.
Looking for a quick hack to freshen up mildly-damaged or worn wood on floors without refinishing? Here’s simple wood cleaner (and other related recipes) that are homemade. Make sure to read the full article to learn the proper way to use these cleaners without ruining your wood floors. (via Abbotts at Home)
Larger scratches will require other methods of filling, which we’ll cover soon.
Step #2: Clean Out the Scratch
Before applying the marker, first, dampen a clean cloth in water, and clean the area around the scratch. Make sure the fabric isn’t sopping wet, or it may warp the wood. Be especially careful to clean out all the dirt in the scratch itself.
Cleaning Deeper Scratches
One way to clean scratches that have penetrated the sealant that protects the floor is to wipe the hardwood with this kind of cloth and a dab or spritz of hardwood floor cleaner (this one's non-toxic). Make sure to clean dirt and dust in the scratch out thoroughly; otherwise, they’ll be stuck permanently after the scratch is repaired.
After the hardwood floor cleaner has been applied, dampen a clean cloth with plain water, and wipe away the cleanser. Allow the area to dry.
Once all the dirt is out, you may be able to use something simple to fill it in. Believe it or not, some people have used a walnut to fix deep scratches in wood floors. (via Brit + Co)
Another way to remove a scratch that is not very deep is to clean the scratch, add hardwood floor cleaner, rinse it with a cloth dampened with plain water, and let it dry. When the area is dry, take a wax stick, and rub it over the scratch to fill it in.
Like wood staining markers, wax sticks come in different colors or can be clear. Make sure the wax is deeply embedded in the scratch, and let it cure for at least a day. After that, it can be buffed and sealed.
Step #3: Test Your Marker in an Inconspicuous Location
Before applying stain, use your marker in an inconspicuous place on the floor that no one usually looks at (closets are always a great place to start). See if the color of the marker matches the color of the hardwood. If it is, then the marker can be used to mask the scratch.
Try keeping an array of wood markers and crayons on-hand to make sure you’re always ready to quickly cover up new, smaller scratches. (via House Logic)
Step #4: Clean and Repair Gouges
Sometimes a hard floor suffers a deep scratch or gouge. The initial stages are the same as for a shallow or superficial scratch. The area should be cleaned with a cloth dampened with a jot or two of hardwood floor cleaner, then rinse away the soap with a dampened cloth until the area is immaculate. Allow the area to dry thoroughly.
When the area of the gouge is no longer wet, the sealant finish over it will need to be removed before the deep scratch is repaired. Add some of this stuff (I like that this version is odorless) to one of these pads you probably have around the house, and rub it into the gouge. Remove the excess spirits with another cloth, then allow the gouge to dry again.
This step requires wood filler that’s the color of the floor. It is not the same as wood putty. In fact, wood putty shouldn’t be used to repair a deep scratch because it’s difficult to find wood putty that match the color of most hardwood floors. Plus, it doesn’t take stain well.
What to do When You Come Across Rotten Wood
When you come across rotted wood, you should replace it to prevent the rot from spreading. But if that’s not an option, you can fill rotted wood in areas of your floor yourself as long as they’re not too big and haven’t penetrated the entire floorboard. (via Facts Facts)
Step #5: Sand the Wood Filler
Rub the wood filler in with a finger. Make sure it is tamped down well to avoid air pockets. Let the filler dry for about a day then carefully use a putty knife to smooth it out and take away the excess. Make sure that the filler is level with the edges of the gouge.
After that, lightly sand it with a sandpaper (this kind is waterproof). Move the sandpaper in tiny circles or in the direction of the grain. Or if sanding large areas by hand, then consider an ergonomic tool like this.
Step #6: Lightly Stain the Scratch
Use your marker or another product of choice to stain the scratch lightly. Then, put a dab or two of mineral spirits on a clean cloth, and rub the stain into the wood. Make sure to follow the grain of the wood. This method is better than forcibly staining the scratch with the marker because if the user isn’t careful, the stain can make the scratch darker and more noticeable than it already is.
You can use many of the same methods of hardwood floor repair to fix scratches on furniture too. (via Family Handyman)
Step #7: Apply Your Sealant
Wet a clean cloth, wring it out until it is nearly dry, and use it to wipe away any leftover filler around the gouge. Use your finger to make sure the filler is completely cleared away but avoid the gouge itself. Afterwards, apply sealant over the repaired patch. Give it at least 24 hours to dry then apply another coat, and let it dry for another 24 hours.
You could use a small foam roller to apply the sealant, but because that may leave air bubbles behind, you might actually want to use this softer stuff.
To avoid the use of harsh chemicals, you can create your own DIY sealants at home. Be sure to check with a professional to find out the long term effects of using ingredients not typically intended for wood floors. Find three all-natural recipe that use ingredients you might have in your kitchen. My favorite is recipe 3 because it’s just one ingredient. (via Everyday Roots)
And then you’re floors should look great again!
Now that you know how to fix scratches in wood floors, you can make scuffed wood floors beautiful again. No matter how shallow that just need a quick cover up to hide them or deep that require more effort to repair or get rid of them, you have the knowledge to remove unsightly blemishes with these hardwood floor scratch repair tips and tricks.