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How to Fix Scratches on Your Hardwood Floors

Classic and pristine, hardwood floors that are beautifully kept make a great characteristic of any home. Unfortunately, over time, it’s natural for your hardwood floor’s opulence to fade. Scratches, nicks, and even gouges can destroy its beauty and luster. Don’t feel bad; again this is a natural occurrence, and we’re here to help. We’ve got a few methods to manage these imperfections. Here are some of our best techniques to treat – and even prevent – damage to your hardwood flooring.

Treating Light Scratches

Does your floor have a protective coating? Light scratches in your floor’s protective coating are simple to fix. Use floor cleaner and protective finish to repair them. All you have to do is clean the scratch using damp cloth dipped in the cleaner, allow it to dry, and then apply shellac or your preferred protective finish.

Light scratches in the wood itself can usually be treated by lightly rubbing steel wool along the wood grain. Avoid rubbing in a manner that goes against the grain. Once completed, you can rub a wax stick into the scratch, filling it with a complementary color that will allow it to blend. Let the wax harden for a little over 10 minutes, and then finish your repair by buffing with a soft cloth.

Treating Deep Scratches and Gouges

Treat deeper scratches with lightweight sandpaper. As with steel wool, you want to rub the paper in a manner that goes along the grain instead of against it. Once completed, smooth the area out by rubbing mineral spirits over it. Doing so will help you pick up the fine dust.

Apply a premixed wood filler to the scratch with a plastic putty knife. It’s important to make sure you use a plastic putty knife to avoid scratches, as well as a filler that matches the floor color.

Cautionary tip: Wood putty is not an acceptable product to use for hardwood floors. It will not color evenly after drying, which will leave an obvious and ugly patch to look at when finished.

Once the filler has dried, use 150-grit or 180-grit sandpaper to remove excess filler and dust, and then refinish the area. You can use varnish, polyurethane, or a comparable product that’s designed to carefully match your floor.

Be careful to avoid using a foam roller or brush, especially when applying polyurethane. Foam rollers create air bubbles in the finish, which makes for an unsightly result. It’s better to use a natural bristle brush or a lambswool applicator.

Preventing Hardwood Flooring Damage

Since great offense is the best defense, let’s discuss preventative maintenance. Here are some ways to handle your hardwood floor with care before any damage threatens to mar its beauty.

Use furniture pads.

Furniture protection pads offer different levels of protection at various price points. You place them on the bottoms of your chairs, couches, tables, and other furniture to prevent them from grinding scratches, dirt, and debris into your floor.

Tap-on pads are highly secure. They attach to furniture legs with screws or small nails. Install with care to prevent nail exposure from destroying the floor.

Self-adhesive pads are peel and stick, making them really easy to use. You can find them almost anywhere, but they won’t last as long as tap-on pads.

Slip-on pads are designed to cover chair legs. They’re often made of rubber or soft plastic, and don’t have adhesive, which leaves them open to potentially scratching your floor.

Consider where your furniture is.

Where your furniture is placed will also assist you in determining how to protect your beautiful flooring. High traffic areas with heavy pieces of furniture that may be moved around and used a lot should definitely be outfitted with the appropriate padding. If you have a room where children will run and play often, purchase a rubber pad to restrict movement. Sometimes, old pieces of carpet under furniture have also been used for preventative application.

Trim your pet’s nails.

Who doesn’t love having their friendly pets around? Make sure your cat or dog has their nails groomed on a consistent basis. Doing so not only keeps them in good health, but keeps them from carelessly (though unintentionally) adding extra damage to your flooring.

For a floor less noticeable of scratches, try handscraped wood flooring. This type of flooring is great for kids and pets, too, because it hides scratches. Visit worldfloorsdirect.com to learn more.

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