Mats or small rugs at doorways and entrances into your home can help preserve the finish on your hardwood floors. However, scratches are inevitable and most minor imperfections are easily removed with a little floor polish and a light buffing. With this being said, what do you do with deeper scratches-- those that penetrate the protective coating and cut into the wood?
You should not just leave them, or just cover them up. They need to be repaired as soon as possible. Scratches in the hardwood floor coating can be removed, but scratches that cut into the wood can fill with dirt, or change in color so drastically they become a permanent eyesore. Here are three simple steps to fix those ugly scratches in your pristine hardwood floor.
3 Steps to Fix a Scratch in Your Hardwood Floor
Again, minor scratches that do not penetrate all the way past the protective coating on your hardwood floor can be removed by lightly puffing the coating, then applying a light layer of protective coating back over the scratch. Scratches that go deeper and mar the actual wood need extra steps to repair properly though.
Step 1: You begin by cleaning the area around the scratch using a hardwood floor cleaner. You only need to clean a few inches outside of the actual scratch, concentrating most of your effort on the scratch itself. Always use a motion that follows the grain of the wood. Never clean, sand, or use steel wool in a cross-grain motion on hardwood floors. All you'll do is make more unsightly scratches.
Step 2: Using a light grade of steel wool, gently begin to buff the scratch with a steady motion in the same direction of the scratch. Again, never use a motion that cuts across the grain of the wood. Most of the time, you will only need a very small piece of steel wool to accomplish the job.
Buff until the scratch is removed and the area smooth to the touch. You can make sure the scratch blends into the rest of the floor by gently buffing just outside the scratch, using a feathering technique. The objective is to gently blend the scratch into the surrounding wood grain.
Step 3: Next apply a light coat of clear wax using a wax stick or a non-colored paste wax. Fill the area using a smooth back and forth motion. Allow the wax to dry for about a half an hour, then use the same back and forth motion, briskly, to buff out the wax. In a few moments, you'll step back and be unable to find where the scratch was.
These steps will safely fix scratches that haven't gouged too deeply into the wood, or been left unattended, filling with dirt and changing color. Most deep gouges and neglected heavy scratches should be addressed by a hardwood floor installation service. If you keep the minor scratches attended to as they happen, you can avoid a more involved repair job.
For more help on fixing your hardwood floors, schedule an appointment with a company like J Brothers Flooring.