dented wood floor|sanding wood floor fixes scratches

How to fix dents in hardwood flooring

February 12, 2020
Hardwood flooring is known for being more durable and longer-lasting than softwood floors or laminates. Indeed, that’s why so many homeowners are ready to invest in a floor they know will last for many years.
However, even the sturdiest hardwood floor isn’t totally indestructible. Accidents can happen, and dents, gouges and scratches can appear – especially if there are children or pets at home or when you have to move heavy furniture. Such blemishes can be unsightly, running the unique aesthetics of a well-installed hardwood floor. They might even undermine the integrity of the floor, so it’s a good idea to tackle such blemishes as soon as they appear. Luckily, if done in time, it doesn’t take much time or effort to remove dents and gauges and get your floor looking as good as new again.

How to fix dents in prefinished hardwood floor

However tough your hardwood floor, you might be surprised how easily dents can occur. Even a bounced baseball or a dropped plate can cause a dent. If that happens, you’ll want to take action and get the wood back to its original shape and form.

Heat and moisture are key here and can help remove dents easily. To begin with, make sure that the dent is clean and there are no pieces of wood or even splinters missing from your prefinished floor. If there aren’t, go ahead and place a dampened towel over the offending dent. Then place a steamer on top of this. The wood underneath should, slowly but surely, start rising up. Keep dabbing at the wood with the hot steamer until it’s back to the original level and looking good as new. Somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes is usually enough to remove dents in wood. If the dent is simply too deep to fix this way, you may need to replace the board with a new one.

How to fix gouges in hardwood floors

Gouges are more serious than dents. Here, the wood fibres are broken or frayed. This can happen if you drag a heavy piece of furniture over a hardwood floor, for example. But however it happens, a gouge can look very unsightly, making even the best hardwood floor look old and unloved.

To fix a gouge, you will need to fill the offending wound in. Go to your local DIY store and pick up some wood filler – the trick here is to find a product that matches the colour of your floor. Slowly apply the filler to the gouge and then leave to dry. Once dry, you can sand over the patch to make the repair as invisible as possible. For smaller gouges, you might even want to try filling in the scar with a brown crayon and then wiping away any excess wax. But for bigger wounds, only specialist filler will do the job.

How to get dents out of finished wood

Even the smallest dent can ruin the look of a finished wood surface. Thankfully, most such blemishes are easily fixed. However, you will need to take extra care to keep the finished wood surface looking as good as new.

Slowly, you want to add just the right amount of water to the dent. A pipette or even the head of a matchstick can help you transfer water into the dent. Don’t be alarmed if the varnish or other finish starts turning blue. This is what is known as “blushing” and doesn’t actually harm the integrity of the finish. Dab away any excess water with a dry cloth and then a damp folded cloth over the water-filled dent. Press a hot iron onto the cloth. When the cloth is dry, remove the heat and check the dent.
If the dent is still there, repeat the process. Eventually, the moisture from the cloth will penetrate the fibres of your finished wood, bringing it back to its original shape.

How to fix scratches on wood floors without sanding

Minor scratches may not ruin a floor, but they can look bad. Fortunately, they can be easily fixed without having to sand the affected area. Before you do take action, you need to clean around the scratch. Use a dry cloth to get rid of any grime or dust. You may also need to use a wax removal solution if your hardwood floor has a wax layer on the top.

There are several ways of getting rid of minor scratches. Blending pencils are great for making marks caused by pets’ claws disappear, for example, though you need to get the colour match exactly right. Similarly, finish restorers can be a good option if there are multiple scratches spread across a large area of floor. Alternatively, try mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil and then dabbing this onto the offending scratch. Return to it a few hours later, rub the solution out and your floor should be looking like new.
sanding wood floor fixes scratches

How to fix scratches on hardwood floors

If a blending pencil or solution won’t fix the scratches in your hardwood floor, then you may need to get sanding.

Sanding and refinishing usually takes at least 1mm from the surface of a floor. That’s why this method is only recommended for thick hardwood floors. For small damaged areas, a patch of sandpaper or a piece of steel wool will usually do the trick. Lightly rub over the affected area, dabbing the scratches with a clean, dry tack cloth as you go. You may need to sand away at the area around the scratch to ensure your floor looks consistent after the repairs.

How to fix scratches in hardwood floors from a dog

Depending on the size of the dog, claw marks can cause significant damage to a hardwood floor. In particular, restless pets can cause deep scratches to a floor. Again, however, these can be easily fixed using the methods outlined above.

If you want to keep both your dog and your floors looking like new, prevention is often better than cure! Be sure to give your pets a proper nail trimming session every so often. You may also want to train your dog to not be so active indoors. If that doesn’t work, then investing in proper floor defences, like wax coatings, can keep hardwood looking as good as new, even with four-legged friends running about the house. For more advice on hardwood floor dent repair, get in touch with us at ESB Flooring today.
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