Scratches and imperfections on hardwood floors can detract from the beauty of the wood and increase the risk of further wear and tear. In this guide, we’ll explore effective ways to clean scratches and keep hardwood flooring in pristine condition.
Hardwood floors are renowned for their stunning, rustic aesthetic and they make a fabulous addition to almost any room in both contemporary and traditional homes. While hardwood floors are hard-wearing and durable, they can succumb to scratches and the effects of heavy traffic. If you’ve spotted a scratch or scuffs on your floor, here is a step by step guide to follow:
Before you begin
Before you start trying to repair scratches and polish the surface, it’s beneficial to ascertain what kind of finish you have on your floor. There are multiple types of hardwood finishes used for wooden floors, including water-based polyurethane, oil-based polyurethane, wax coating and varnish. Once you’ve identified the type of finish, the next step is to inspect the scratch. There are different levels of wear, and the depth of the scratch will impact the repair method. Superficial scratches, which only penetrate the coating, are easier to clean than deeper scratches.
The final step before targeting scratch involves cleaning the floor. Often, marks in the wood or the surface of the floor are exacerbated by dirt and dust. Brush the floor to remove any loose debris. Using a cloth or a rag, gently clean the floor using a product that is suitable for hardwood flooring. Try to avoid using wax or paste at this stage, as you don’t want to fill or seal the scratches yet, you only want to eliminate dust and clean the surface.
Cleaning minor scratches
Minor scratches, also known as fine scratches, are often caused by dragging chairs across the floor or sliding storage boxes or crates from one side of the room to the other. Fine scratches are shallow, and this means that they can often be addressed by sanding the surface by hand and staining to colour match. Rub the wood, going with the grain, rather than against, to protect the floor. Buff the scratch and try to blend the edges to create an even aesthetic. Once the scratch has disappeared, use a resin-based colour, which is designed especially for hardwood floors. The colour should be as close a match as possible to the natural shade of the wood. When you have applied it and left it to dry, rub the affected area and remove any debris.
Tips for removing deeper scratches
Deeper scratches penetrate the wood, as well as the finish, and they are often caused by energetic dogs running around and clawing at the floor and sliding heavy pieces of furniture across the room. If your floor is scratched in several places, and it requires a refresh and some serious TLC, it may be best to sand the entire room. If there is an isolated scratch, the best course of action is to buff, fill and colour the damaged area.
Before you fill the crack, brush the floor and clean the area thoroughly. Take a small amount of wood filler, and carefully fill the crevice, taking care to stay within the lines of the scratch. Smooth the filler and remove any excess. Leave the filler to dry. This will usually take 2-3 hours. Once the filler has dried completely, sand the newly-filled scratch by hand. The final step is to stain the area to ensure a flawless finish.
Taking care of hardwood floors: How to avoid scratches
Hardwood floors look spectacular, and this is why they are a popular choice for home and business owners. If you have a hardwood floor, it’s hugely beneficial to look after and maintain the wood to prolong its lifespan and prevent unsightly scratches and patches of wear. Here are some top tips to avoid damage:
- Clean up spills as quickly as possible
- Avoid walking on hardwood floors with heels (it’s best to go barefoot or wear slippers)
- Lift furniture rather than dragging or sliding tables or chairs across the floor
- Use furniture pads to prevent damage caused by heavy pieces, such as sofas. The pads will help to protect the surface.
- Sweep your floor daily to eliminate dust and dirt
- Try to discourage cats and dogs from scratching at the floor or running wild in rooms that have hardwood floors
- Choose a hardwood floor with a protective, hard-wearing finish, such as oil-based polyurethane, if you’re laying a new floor in an area where traffic is heavy.
- Take wet shoes off before entering living spaces: if you’ve been for a walk or you’ve arrived home from work in the rain, remove shoes at the front door. Moisture can create cracks in the wood and contribute to warping. Tiy can read our detailed guide on how to protect your floors in winter.
- Apply wax or varnish to enhance protection.
- Keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Temperature changes can cause the wood to expand and contract.
Replacing a hardwood floor
If you’ve moved house and inherited an old hardwood floor, or your floor has seen better days, you may be wondering whether it’s best to attempt repairs or to replace your flooring. Carrying out running repairs can extend life expectancy, but in some cases, where damage is widespread or severe, it may not be possible to restore the floor to its former glory, and it might make better financial sense to buy a new hardwood floor. If you’re looking for incredible offers on high-quality hardwood floors, why not get in touch with Ottawa Diamond flooring? We have many years of experience in providing clients in Ottawa and beyond with beautiful flooring. Whether you’re desperate to bring your old hardwood floor back to life, or you’re exploring new flooring options, we’re here to help.