Hardwood floors are a wonderful aesthetic addition to any property, but they require timely maintenance. Even though hardwood floors are known for their robustness and endurance, the appearance of dents and scratches is inevitable after some time.
Depending on the severity of the scratch, sanding and refinishing is not your only option to remove them. Minor hardwood floor scratch repair is fairly easy but more significant damage will require using a combination of techniques such as screening and polishing, or even floor replacement.
When it comes to comprehensive repair solutions, it is vital to know what type of flooring you have. First of all, you need to find out whether you have solid or engineered wood flooring.
The main distinction between these two types of flooring is that solid hardwood has one solid layer, usually made of a hardwood species, whereas engineered wood can contain a top-quality plywood layer coated with a thin layer of hardwood. Determine which kind of flooring you have installed by looking at the outer, unfinished edges of a flooring board . Once you know what kind of flooring you have, it’s time to look at the damage that needs to be fixed.
Basic Hardwood Floor Repair
Markers and stains, natural solutions and fillers are some of the easiest solutions for hardwood floor scratch repair. Light and subtle scratches can easily be filled in with matching floor markers and stains. The idea here is to fill in the scratch, so that the exposed wood doesn’t stand out.
Even though many products claim they have proprietary technologies to help remove and fix scratches on wood floors. Still, in reality, all these products accomplish is masking the appearance of blemishes on hardwood floors for a temporary period of time.
What these products are useful for is cleaning the wood.
Quite often, what looks like a scratch on hardwood floors is dirt, scuff marks from shoes or superficial scuffs from furniture. If this is the case, the floors are not really scratched, but the flooring finish is just dirty and needs something a little more than water and sweeping to remove the grime.
Natural solutions and fillers are some of the easiest methods for repairing scratches on hardwood floors. Light and subtle scratches can be easily filled with suitable markers that will make them unnoticeable. Despite the fact that many products claim they have proprietary technologies to remove and repair scratches on hardwood floors, in reality they can only enhance the appearance of imperfections in wooden floors for a short period of time, as their main purpose is removal of stains from the surface. What looks like a scratch on hardwood floors is often dirt, shoe prints, or scratches from furniture. If it is the case, it will take more than water and sweeping to remove the dirt.
Deeper Hardwood Scratches Repair
Deeper hardwood scratches are more difficult and require more experience and understanding of flooring repair concepts. Common methods include screening, resurfacing and replacing. If your flooring is riddled with light, shallow scratches, screening could be a solution, but only if your floors have never been waxed. How can you tell if your floor has a waxed finish? Dampen a cloth with some paint thinner. Choose a small, discreet area of the floor and wipe the area with the cloth. If the floor has been coated with wax, the existing finish will wipe off.
Once you have determined there is no wax finish, use a floor polish as a sander to remove the top polyurethane finish, and then the floor is refinished with a fresh coat of polyurethane. If your floor has wax, it is possible to remove it and then screen the floor, but this is best left to a professional because any leftover wax will ruin your finish.
If screening is not an option, resurfacing is the next possible solution. This repair is not typically recommended for engineered wood; if you sand engineered wood too much, you can damage the boards, making them irreparable. This is especially true if you do not know the history of your flooring or if it has been resurfaced in the past. To resurface wood flooring, you begin by using a drum sander to sand the existing floor down to the bare wood while maintaining an even level of the floor surface. Next, you apply a suitable stain and finally a polyurethane coat to finish. For more detailed information on this process, take a look at This Old House’s guide to refinishing wood floors.
The last option, when all else fails, is replacement. Sometimes, wood becomes so damaged and warped that repair is simply not an option, and a partial or complete replacement becomes necessary. This often is the case with severely damaged engineered wood, wherein the thin layer of wood is too thin for resurfacing.
At JJ Hardwood, we only consider two solutions as viable options for fixing unsightly floor scratches.
If we have a client with minor scratches on the floor, we will send in our wood restoration expert. This team member has worked for decades repairing floors and high-value furniture with reference-level results.
If our restoration expert believes that his methods will not be the best solution, The floor will need to be sanded and refinished; that’s the only way to rid a beautiful hardwood floor of ugly scratches.
By taking preventative measures to protect your hardwood flooring, you can avoid significant damage that requires professional servicing. For example, have guests remove hard-soled shoes or heels in the guest room, use furniture pads, and lay rugs and liners in areas with high foot traffic.