scratches on wood floors, you need to know what you’re doing to properly repair the damage that’s been done. Scratches come in all shapes, sizes, and depths, so it’s good to know how to handle whatever life might dole out to your wood flooring. From wood floor cleaning to wood floor refinishing, we’re going to walk you through the crucial steps needed to restore your floor no matter how bad those scratches get.
Determine Your Flooring Finish
There are many types of floor finish out there and if you are going to repair any form of damage, large or small, you need to know what you’re working with first. You may have a wax coating, a varnish, aluminum oxide, stain, or polyurethane of the oil or water-based variety. If you’re not sure, which one you have, contact your flooring installer and ask them what type of finish is on your floor.
Fixing Light Scratches
The shallow scratches you see on your floor are mostly in the finish. So, you’ll need to repair those accordingly by first cleaning that area with some hardwood cleaner on a soft, dry cloth. When you’re done apply some water to another rag and wipe the area clean of any residual cleaner. Allow it to dry fully before you proceed. From there you’re going to need to fill the scratch with some wax. Get a wax stick and use it fill the scratch completely. After you’ve filled the scratch in with wax, get another soft cloth and firmly buff the scratch. Keep buffing firmly until the scratch has faded from view and the natural shine of the floor has returned. That way you know the excess wax has been removed and the floor’s appearance has been restored.
Fixing Minor Scratches
So, what’s the difference between a light scratch and a minor one? In the case of the former, the scratch has only penetrated the finish. As for the latter, the scratch has gone through the surface of the wood itself, beneath the protective coating across it. Cleaning is the same as in the previous scenario. Grab your wood cleaner and get to work cleaning the entire area surrounding the scratch and removing any debris or dirt. These will interfere with your ability to properly repair the scratch. When you’re done with that, go get some steel wool. Wait, what? That’s probably what you’re saying to yourself out loud at the moment, but trust that this is going to make sense. You’re going to rub the scratch with your steel wool, but just make sure you are rubbing with the grain of the wood and not against it. Doing the opposite will only make the scratch worse, as you might imagine. Now you’re going to buff the scratch and use the steel wool to do it. It’s okay, keep going. I know it feels weird but keep buffing until the scratch is no longer visible. From here, you’re going to continue using your steel wool to blend the edges of the area you’re working on. Feather gently and do it sparingly to prevent the affected area from getting larger and more visible. Okay, now you’re done with the steel wool. Go get your wax stick and cover all of the scratches on the floor with it. Don’t miss any areas and don’t get too liberal with it. Just enough to cover and fill every scrape and scuff on the floor. Leave it there. Let it remain for about 10-15 minutes. Give it time for all the wax to get in there and set. After that time has passed, go get your paste wax but ONLY if the finish of your floor is anything but a glossy polyurethane. Do this right after you apply your wax stick to your scratched flooring. Using this will reduce the visibility of the damage even more. After you’ve done this, give it another buff to fully restore the luster of your floors.
Refinishing the Entire Floor
Sometimes it makes sense to just give the whole floor a new finish. This will require you to sand the surface to eliminate all of the scratches and scrapes that have gotten on there over the course of time. Just be sure you have a real wood floor. If it’s engineered with a real wood surface, be sure you’re sanding it for the first time as you can only sand an engineered floor just once or twice before you sand it off completely.