How to Fix Scratches in Hardwood Floors, Gouges and Dents

It’s not a surprise to find scuff marks in your hardwood floor, especially when you have a pet. A dog with long claws can accidentally scratch your treasured wooden floor.

Luckily, if you know how to fix scratches in hardwood floor, which we at WFC Wood Floor Cleaner have lots of experience with, it will take you a couple of hours to restore the beauty of your floor.

Apart from pets, scratches on a wood floors can be caused by high-heel shoes, dragging of heavy furniture such as sofas when cleaning, as well as by normal grit and dirt debris.

Scratches make a wood floor lose their shiny luster and appear dull. Deep scuff marks damage the protective seal, exposing wood to moisture and liquid spills.

Timely fixing of scratches, dents and gouges in a hardwood floor is important. While it is possible to fix small and light scratches on your own, you may also contract a professional expert.

Repairing deeper or multiple scratches may be a challenge and may require an entire floor to be sanded and refinished.

Before you take on the process of fixing scuffed hardwood floors, assess the nature of the scratch. Find out if it is a light, moderate, or deep scratch.

Light scratches only affect the top protective surface and are the easiest to repair.

Moderate or medium marks cut through the finish and reach the wood.

Deep gouges are more pronounced into the wood and hard to fix.

So here’s what to do

What you will need

  • Commercial hardwood cleaner such as bona
  • Protective finish such as polyurethane
  • Hardwood floor stain marker
  • Soft cloth or a towel
  • 150–grit sandpaper
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Soft steel wool
  • Mineral spirit
  • Scouring pad
  • Wood putty
  • Wax stick
  • Dust mop
  • Brush
  • Water

Fixing light surface scratches

  1. Using a dust mop or a broom, clean the floor to remove dust and debris.
  2. Take a soft cloth and soak it with your favorite hardwood cleaner and wipe any sticky dirt or grime.
  3. Dampen another cloth with water and mop the area to remove cleaner and let it dry completely
  4. Once dry, use a soft bristle brush to apply a protective sealant such as polyurethane or shellac. It will be ideal if you use the same sealant used on the rest of the floor.
  5. Allow the area to dry for at least 24 hours before allowing human or pet traffic.
  6. If the marks are still visible, use a matching stain marker to conceal the scratches.

A fix for minor or moderate scratches

  1. Dust the area to remove all the dust and any small debris.
  2. Using a hardwood cleaner and a soft cloth, clear all the dirt, grime or oil from the area.
  3. Use a damp cloth to remove the cleaner and let the area dry completely.
  4. Once dry, take your fine steel wool and rub the scratch. Remember to rub with the grain of the wood and try to blend the edges of the scratched area with the rest of the surface.
  5. Use a dry cloth to mop the buffed area to remove the fine dust created while buffing.
  6. Take a matching colored wax stick and rub the filler over the spot and allow 10 minutes to dry.
  7. Use a soft cloth to rub the spot so that excess wax filler can be removed.

Filling gouges/ deeper scratches

  1. Clean the area to remove dust and dirt, and allow it to dry completely.
  2. If the wood floor has a protective coating, sand the area using a fine grit sand paper to remove it.
  3. Apply some mineral spirit on a scouring pad and gently rub the scratched area. Ensure it’s clean and dry.
  4. Using a putty knife, apply the wood filler (putty) and completely fill the gouge and let it dry for 24 hours.
  5. Once it has dried, take your 150–grit sandpaper and smooth the area to blend with the rest of the surface.
  6. Wipe clean the area to remove dust, then apply a protective coat or sealant. Use polyurethane if that is what has been used on your floor. Let it dry for 24 hours and apply another thin coat.
  7. After a day or two, the floor will be ready and you can allow in traffic.

How to Prevent Hardwood Floors from Scratching

You can take various measures to protect your wood floor from scratches. To begin with, there are various types of hardwood floors best for dogs.

They are made from wood species which are resistant to scratches and dents. Their Janka ratings are high, and thus are recommended for surfaces with high traffic and homes with pets and young kids.

In addition to that, the following tips will help in keeping your floor from dents and scratches:

  1. Sweeping regularly with a soft bristle broom or a microfiber dust mop helps remove grit and debris that acts as a sand paper on your floor.
  2. Groom and train your pets so that they can co-exist with a wooden floor; let the pup’s claws be cut short, bath it well, and make it comfortable.
  3. Place mats at the entrance and encourage everyone to remove their shoes before going in.
  4. Place protective pads under the legs of your furniture and avoid dragging them on the floor.
  5. Utilize area rugs and covering areas with high traffic such as the children’s play room.
  6. Take the initiative to repair scratches immediately when you discover them.
  7. Avoid pushing or pulling heavy objects such as furniture across the floor.

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