Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to a home, they look warm and inviting and increase the value of the home. Unfortunately they are not immune to damage. Scratches, nicks and gouges can occur from dragging a heavy object across the floor, moving furniture without protecting the floor, high heel shoes and dirt left on the surface. One of the biggest offenders is small bits of grit and dirt because when you walk on it, the dirt slowly etches away at the surface leaving fine lines and scratches behind. Always clean your shoes on a mat or remove them before walking on a wood floor. The techniques for repairing the scratches will depend on the depth of the scratches.
Light Scratches on Wood Floors
There are several methods of repairing or covering light scratches, choose the one that is easiest for you.
Use a wax stick. Rub the wax stick across the scratches to lightly fill and hide the fine lines. Wax sticks are almost like crayons used to color and fill light surface scratches. They are available at hardware stores and home improvement stores.
Use a scratch cover pen or liquid scratch cover which are both generally made for covering scratches on wood furniture, but they can be used for hardwood floors also. Apply the scratch cover in thin light coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before adding the next. The idea is to slowly build the color to match the floor.
In a pinch, use shoe polish. Dip the corner of a clean soft cotton r flannel rag into the shoe polish and apply to the scratches. Use cordovan shoe polish to cover scratches on cherry wood floors, use brown shoe polish to cover scratches on mahogany wood floors and use tan or natural shoe polish to cover scratches on oak wood floors.
Make a thick paste of instant coffee and water to cover scratches on darker wood floors. Slowly add water to instant coffee while stirring continuously, apply to the scratches.
For oak wood floors, make a 50-50 mixture of iodine and denatured alcohol and rub it into the scratches.
Deeper Scratches on Wood Floors
Use an extra fine steel wool dipped in floor wax and rub scratches off the floor. Rub lightly in the direction of the wood grain. Stop rubbing as soon as the scratch disappears. Use a scratch cover if necessary to restore the color.
Deep Scratches, Nicks and Gouges on Wood Floors
Use a fine grade sandpaper and sand the area down so that it is flush with the rest of the floor or rough edges are smoothed away. Use a tack cloth to pick up sawdust and dirt. If the color of the sanded area is the same as the rest of the floor, use a small paint brush and paint shellac in layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before adding the next. Continue to layer the shellac until it is even with the rest of the floor.
If the color does not match or the damage is too deep, sand the nick, gouge or deep scratch to smooth it out, use a tack cloth to remove dust and dirt. Fill in the damage with wood filler. Firmly press the wood filler into the nick, scratch or gouge with a flexible putty knife, add a second layer of wood filler so it is just above the surface of the floor. Allow the wood filler to dry completely. Use a fine grade sandpaper to sand and smooth the patch so it is even with the existing floor. Apply a match scratch cover or stain to blend and match the color to the wood floor. Allow it to dry completely then add a coat o floor wax.
You can also make your own wood filler by mixing sawdust with wood glue to form a thick paste and follow the same directions as for using wood filler.
Match the lightest color of the floor when applying any type of scratch cover or stain.
If possible, bring a piece of flooring with you to match the color.