How to Repair Scratched Hardwood Floors

Wooden Floor
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Hardwood floors are one of the most commonly used flooring materials, and can be found in almost any home. More than likely, you will run into hardwood floors in one of your homes. It’s best to know how to respect and care for this beautiful, rich-grained material.

Maybe just as commonly found are scratches in these floors. Some scratches can add character to your hardwood floors, while others you can’t stand to see. From light surface scratches to deep scratches, let’s see what you can do to repair these easy fixes.

Tools and Supplies

  • Soft cloth
  • Water
  • Hardwood floor cleaner
  • Hardwood floor stain marker
  • Protective coating
  • Fine steel wool
  • Wax wood repair stick
  • Mineral spirits
  • Scouring pad
  • Polyurethane coating
  • Putty knife
  • Wood filler

Light Surface Scratches

  1. These kinds of repairs are easy because only the top layer of protective coating of your hardwood floors was scratched. If you don’t have a lot of experience with hardwood floors, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals. On average, you’ll find hardwood floor repair prices around $3 to $4 per square foot.
  2. Take your soft cloth and hardwood floor cleaner. Remove any dirt or dust so you don’t seal them in later.
  3. Now that your hardwood floor is clean, take another soft cloth and dampen with water. Wipe down the area again to be sure it is cleaned.
  4. Allow the scratched area to dry.
  5. Once dry, apply a new layer of protective coating. This can be a sealant, shellac or any other kind of polyurethane varnish.
  6. After applying the new protective coating, let the area dry overnight.

Minor Scratches

  1. Start this repair by cleaning the scratched area with a soft cloth and hardwood floor cleaner. Wipe the area of all dirt and dust so you don’t seal it in later.
  2. Take your fine steel wool and rub over the scratched area, make sure you are rubbing with the grain of the wood.
  3. Pay special attention to the edges of the scratched surface. Blend the areas by lightly rubbing the steel wool against the edges.
  4. Now that the area is cleaned and buffed, take your wax stick and rub over the scratched area.
  5. Give the wax filler 10 minutes to set and dry.
  6. Take your soft cloth and buff the area, going back and forth.
  7. Once this is complete, look over the repaired area and clean with a soft cloth if you see any excess filler or dust.

Deep Scratches

  1. Repairing deep scratches in hardwood floors is a little more complicated. This project will require a more of your time and needs a little extra attention. Sometimes, if your deep scratch or gouge seems too big, it’s best to just refinish your hardwood floors. This will guarantee a fix and blend the entire surrounding flooring perfectly.
  2. Now, take a soft cloth and dampen with clean water. Wipe down the same area and clean off dirt or dust. Let this area dry completely before moving forward.
  3. If your hardwood floors are coated with polyurethane, you need to remove this layer so that you can fix the scratch completely. If your hardwood floors do not have a polyurethane coating, then you don’t have to worry about the next step.
  4. Dampen your scouring pad with the mineral spirits and gently rub down the scratched area.
  5. With the scratched area clean and free of debris, apply a small amount of wood filler to the scratch and fill in the crevice.
  6. Don’t worry if there is extra filler, this will be removed soon.
  1. Let the filled in area dry for 24 hours. Once the filler is dry, take a putty knife and smooth out the surface, blending it in with the surrounding floor.
  2. With the scratched area filled in and almost finished it’s time to seal the area. Apply a thin layer of protective coating. Again, this can be sealant, shellac or a polyurethane coating.
  3. Let the protective coating dry for 24 hours without any foot traffic or contact. If you want the best results, add two coats and let dry for an additional 24 hours.