Scratches will seriously ruin the appeal of any floor and when you realize how delicate wood floors are, it’s no surprise that they get damaged so easily by lots of things. The majority of scratches are caused by moving furniture and pets but sometimes you can discover them seemingly out of nowhere. Even if you are trying to be really careful with your floors, those pesky scratches can inevitably appear.
The last things anyone who owns a wooden floor wants to see are scratches and dents but they are often hard to avoid. From time to time, you can expect to find some really ugly scratches and some could be more difficult to deal with.
To restore the natural look of wooden floors there a few things you can do and these methods aren’t incredibly complicated. It all depends on the severity of the scratch. There are different ranges of scratches and they all need a particular fix. In this article, you can find the simplest ways to remove scratches from your beautiful wooden floors. Although wooden floors are built with durability in mind, accidents can still happen and it’s important to take care of even the most minor scrapes to preserve the look for longer.
1. Concealing with a wood staining marker
The first thing that you can try is to conceal the scratch with a wood staining marker. This can work really well for shallow scratches. Stain markers come with a large spectrum of colors and you’ll find them in various home department, hardware, and paint stores. The process starts with wiping the scratched area and then applying a soft rag that’s been dampened with water. This is for cleaning the surface and to remove the excess dirt and debris. The scratch has to be spotless too.
Before you use the marker, it’s important to test it on an area that you consider inconspicuous to see how well it matches the wood. Some markers aren’t exactly suitable for certain floors so only use it if it looks like a good match. After you made the test you can apply the marker by simply running the tip over the scratch a few times. If the area appears a bit too light you can go over it again and rub off the excess.
The final step is the rubbing of the stain into the scratch. Press a soaked clean rag in some mineral spirits and then apply it to the wood concentrating on the scratched area. Following the grain of the wood, remove any residue left by firmly rubbing the stained area.
2. Protective coating
This method is intended for fixing those scratches that are more superficial. Cleaning the scratched area is essential for this method to work. With the help of a damp microfiber cloth and a bit of hardwood floor cleaner, remove any contaminants, like dust particles for example, from the area. Dampen another small cloth with water and use it to rinse off the cleaner from the scratched area. Before you move on, let the area dry well.
Now that your scratched area is fully dry, take a small tipped brush and carefully apply a thin layer of protective finish to the damaged area of the floor. Ideally, you have to find out what type of finish was used for your floor and try to find the same at your local hardware store. Some of the most common are shellac, a sealant or some type of polyurethane varnish.
For this process, you will first need to clean the scratched area. As with the previous methods, use a soft rag and a little amount of hardwood floor cleaner to wipe the scratched area and remove any dust and dirt. After you rinse with a damp cloth moistened with water and eliminate all traces of the cleanser, just let the area dry completely.
To fill in the scratch you need a wood wax stick which can be found at paint, home department, or hardware stores. Rub it firmly over the scratched area and, if necessary, use a plastic tipped putty knife to ensure that the wax goes down right into the scratch. Wood wax is usually clear but they can be found in different shades resembling common wood shades. After the wax is applied, let it dry for at least 10 minutes and to harden well it’s recommended that you leave the wax alone for longer, like for a couple of days.
The final step consists of buffing the scratch and this is done after you left the wax to dry at least a full day. Using a clean cloth, rub back and forth over the affected wood area. By buffing the wax, the scratched zone will be smoother as the excess is removed and the natural shininess of the floor is restored.
4. Use wood renewal products
By coating floors with a special product formulated to rejuvenate the beautiful look of the wood, you can easily treat some minor scrapes. To achieve the best results you need to thoroughly clean the floor before application and allow enough time for the finish to dry. It’s highly recommended to keep applying the product every few months to maintain the floor in perfect shape but avoid this method on wood laminate floors.
If your scratches are pretty deep, simple methods may not be very effective. This is where sanding comes in. If you feel up to the task and you really want to renew your scratched floor, then this method can work wonders.
As always, the first thing that has to be done is a good cleaning and rinsing using a soft cloth and some hardwood floor cleaner. Let it dry completely. Before you go over the next step, you have to evaluate your floors and see if they’re coated with a layer of polyurethane. This is important because you will have to remove it to fix the deepest scratches and gouges. There’s no need to worry about it if your floor doesn’t have this coating.
The next step is rubbing mineral spirits over the scratched surface and this is done by using a scouring pad dampened with mineral spirits. Gently rub the area and then wipe over it with a clean cloth and let it dry completely.
The scratch has to be filled with a bit of wood filler and you need to get the most similar to your particular hardwood floor. With the help of a finger, place the filler into the scratch or gouge and make sure you spread the filler evenly to remove air bubbles. It doesn’t matter if you go overboard with the wood filler as any excess can be removed later. A full day is needed for the wood filler to dry completely.
After allowing the filler to dry you can wipe off any excess filling by dragging a putty knife over it to smooth out the area. This also helps to push the wood filler better into the scratch. Be sure to move in more directions to make all the edges flat and even.
Using a small pad of fine grit sandpaper, gently sand the area that surrounds the scratch where you can find the spread excess wood filler. You’ll need about 220 to 300 grit sandpaper. No matter which way you sand, you must be careful to do it very lightly. Excess filling needs to be removed and you can take it out with a damp cloth but not one that’s too moist.
Finally, seal the patched area by coating it in the same sealer used on the rest of the floor. Apply a very thin layer and using a small bristle brush and allow the sealer time to dry before you start again to use the surface. A day should suffice and for best results, you can apply two coats of finish.