How to Fix Scratches on Hardwood Floors

Your gorgeous hardwood floors can remain as lovely as the day you installed them with proper care. That proper care includes removing scratches on hardwood floors. For most scratch removal, you won't need a professional flooring expert, but if you try everything listed herein and the floor still shows scratches, hire a pro to install new flooring. Read on to learn how to fix scratches on hardwood floors.

Examine Your Floors Before Attempting Any Fix

Examine your hardwood floors to determine the type of finish the installer used. Your floors will use one of five types of finish:

  • Water-based
  • Oil-based
  • Wax-based
  • Varnished
  • Stained.

The type of finish influences how you'll repair the scratch.

Repairing Minor Scratches

Start by cleaning the floors. Using a microfiber or soft cloth, clean the scratched area with a hardwood cleaner like Bona Hardwood Cleaner Spray or Murphy Oil Soap. This cleaning prepares the floor for scratch removal.

With a recently finished or refinished floor, address minor scratches by treating the scratched area with a mixture of equal parts olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Use a cotton swab to dab the scratch remover onto each scratch. Let it sit for a day, then rub it off using a microfiber or soft, clean cloth. This quick fix lets your floors look good while you find a more permanent solution.

The three options to create a more permanent solution to the problem all require supplies you probably don't have. While the oil and vinegar solution buys you time, order the supplies to fix it permanently.

  • Buff the scratches using fine-grit sandpaper. Follow the sanding with an application of pure, natural oil such as coconut or walnut. Buff it in the wood using a clean microfiber cloth.
  • Purchase a blending pencil set and use the pencil that matches the wood's color to fill in the scratches. Although blending pencils resemble crayons, they're not. This fill-in process won't work using a child's crayon; you can find these blending pencils at From The Forest.
  • For otherwise undamaged wood, use a finish restorer to address light scratches or a finish that has faded.

These options work well to cover the light scratches created by twigs on the bottoms of shoes or from heeled shoes. Try these solutions on any scratches on the hardwood before moving to the solutions for medium or heavy scratches.

They can often solve the problem without using a filler or needing to sand the floors. You can try a more complex solution if they don't mask the scratches. Next, let's consider medium scratches.

Repairing Medium Scratches

Repairing medium scratches starts with comprehensive cleaning, too. Once the floor dries, you'll have two options for repairing the scratches.

Match the finish and apply a re-coat on the scratched area only. This spot application of topcoat saves you from needing to refinish the entire floor. With stained wood with no finish applied, apply stain only to the scratched area.
Wide gouges or deeper scratches, such as those caused by an animal with sharp claws, call for wood filler. Fill in each gouge, then stain and refinish the damaged areas.

Now, let's cover what most people think when someone mentions scratch repair on hardwood flooring - sanding.

Repairing Serious/Heavy Scratches

Hardwood floors with many noticeable scratches throughout need sanding. This procedure works on real hardwood floors but not bamboo or cork. You can use it on thicker engineered wood floors. The top wood layer must measure more than one millimeter because sanding typically removes about one millimeter of wood. Unless you own a floor sander, you'll need to rent one or hire a professional flooring restorer.

Perhaps your hardwood floors look good, but the floorboards in front of the door or the center of the room feature many scratches. Purchase a few matching boards from a flooring store that specializes in wood and replace the damaged floorboards.

Choosing the Right Sander

Theoretically, you could use either a random orbital sander or a drum sander to refinish a hardwood floor. Drum sanders work faster to uncover the wood under the finish/varnish. They require lots of experience to use properly, making them a bad choice for anyone new to refinishing floors.

Using a random orbital sander takes longer, but you're less likely to damage the hardwood. They offer an easier-to-use operation for the inexperienced floor refinisher.

A palm or hand sander could offer the best solution if you only need to sand a small area, such as a closet or small hallway. Although they take some upper body strength to use, they allow for precision. Using one on a small project can save you rental money and help you ensure that you don't remove too much wood.

Shop Flooring Experts for Your Supplies

Whether you need hardwood flooring scratch concealer, or new floorboards, shop at From The Forest, a hardwood flooring specialty store. Our online store offers natural hardwood, engineered hardwood, floor molding, and trim. Instead of trying to match your hardwood flooring to our inventory, request samples of the colors that suit your floors best.

Once you find the closest match, place your order. This process takes a little longer but ensures you get as close to a perfect match for your existing flooring as possible.

Wherever you reside, have your supplies and materials shipped to you so you can remove the scratches on your hardwood floors—all orders of at least $100 ship for free. You can have your wood and supplies in one to five days.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.