Simple Hardwood Floor Restoration
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated July 19, 2021)
There are times when you instead of replacing your entire hardwood floors, all you need to do is some minor touchups. This kind of simple hardwood floor restoration isn't all that hard, though you do need to make sure that you have the right tools, and a fairly steady hand. Simply follow these instructions and you should have no problem with getting your flooring looking its best again.
- How bad is it? Look at the damage on the floor, and see how bad it is. Most minor scratches, which are scratches that are less than six inches in length, and no more than 1/8 inch in depth, are easily fixed. Anything larger than that, you may want to look into replacing that section of flooring, or taking more in depth restoration measures.
- Light scratches need steel wool. Light scratches can be described as a scratch or divot that appears to be surface damage only. For example, can you look at the scratch, and it simply looks like some of the surface wood or sealant came off? If so you have a light scratch. Grab some fine steel wool, and rub it lightly over the scratch in the same direction as the grain. If you rub against the grain, you can easily find yourself needing to make more repairs. Continue to rub the area until it is smooth to the touch.
- Deep scratches need sandpaper. For deeper scratches (which are up to 1/8 inch deep) you will need to use some lightweight sandpaper. Once again, lightly rub the sand paper in the direction of the grain or you will end up with a larger project. Keep sanding the area until it has become completely smooth and even to the touch. You are simply smoothing out the rough edges of the scratch, so don't get too carried away.
- Apply some mineral spirits. Begin preparations for filling and sealing by making sure that you pick up all the loose fine dust that is left over from the sanding. The easiest way to accomplish this is with the help of some mineral spirits and a soft clean rag. Apply the spirits to the rag, and then rub it over the sanded area.
- Fill the scratch. Allow the mineral spirits to dry, and then it is time to fill the scratch. This should only take about five minutes worth of work. Get some premixed wood filler that matches the color of your hardwood floor. Once you have that, put some onto a plastic putty knife and then fill the scratch. Be sure that you are holding the plastic putty knife at an angle to get as much filler into the scratch as possible. Do not use a metal putty knife, or you can easily create new scratches that will need to be repaired.
- Sand the scratch. Once the filler has dried to the touch (should be no more than an hour) it is time to sand the area smooth. Use some lightweight (about 180 grit should do the job) and sand away the excess filler. Do not press to hard, or sand too much or you can find yourself with a bigger mess to repair.
- Seal it. Seal the now restored area of your floor to help protect it against the elements and daily use. Use either a varnish, polyurethane sealant, or some other product that will do the job, and match the rest of your floor. Put everything away, and you are now finished.
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