Hardwood flooring is immensely popular because it provides every home or office with a warm, classic look. The flooring is inviting and easily customizable. You can clean it easily or even upholster it with a rug. Part of that is due to its durability; a well-maintained hardwood floor will last you for decades. Some floors in historic homes are over 150 years old. However, that durability does not come without some maintenance headaches. The hardwood will get scratched from time to time. If you move a heavy bookcase, put furniture down without furniture pads, or just let dirt get kicked around, the flooring can sustain scratches. If you’re repairing it yourself, the scratches need to be fairly light. Here’s how to do it.
For Very Light Scratches
For very light scratches, you’ll want to use some steel wool. This is the same kind of wool that you might use for buffing jewelry or cleaning a particularly stubborn dish. The steel wool will act as a very gentle sander. Do not use so much pressure that you might scratch the wood. Also, make sure you sand with the grain of the wood. If you sand perpendicular to the grain, you’ll just create a whole new set of scratches. Very light scratches are often in the finish more than they are in the wood. Steel wool will polish the finish back to a shine.
For Deeper Scratches
If the scratches in your floor reach down into the wood, you’ll need to actually some sandpaper. You don’t want to use a heavy grit sandpaper that is used for actually shaping wood. Instead, you’ll want a very light grit such as 220. Again, sand with the grain and do not use too much pressure. You can quickly smooth out scratches that way.
If you moved that heavy bookcase without thinking and left deep gouges in the floor, you’ll still be able to repair it. You will want to sand around the area to remove any finish around the scratch. Then, you’ll want to apply a premixed wood filler as close to the original color of the wood as possible. It doesn’t have to be exact you’ll be refinishing the floor, but closer is better. Be sure to apply the wood putty with a plastic knife so you don’t create more scratches. Sand it smooth with a very fine grit sandpaper.
Finally, for all of the scratches that actually penetrate into the wood, you’ll need to clean the floor with some mineral spirits. Then, you want to seal it with a polyurethane or a varnish. Your floor should look close to new after that. If these methods do not work, you might need a wood floor refinish.