Home Improvement

How to Remove Scratches From Wood Floor

Scratches are the worst nightmare for everybody who has wooden floors in their home. Fear not, though, as there are quite a few methods you can use to rid your floor of the dreaded scratches, scuffs and marks without resorting to drastic measures.

So, if you:

  • Can feel scratches when you run your fingers across the surface;
  • Want to remove the scratches from your floor without having to sand it;
  • Don’t want to replace the floor because it’s the original one and you love it;
  • Don’t know where to even start from.

Then, read along!

How to remove scratches from wood floor

Your wood floor can sustain more than one kind of scratch and each will require its own set of troubleshooting methods. So, let us start from the lightest of scratches and gradually move to the heaviest ones.

How to remove surface scratches from your wood floor

A superficial scratch is pretty self-explanatory, as you have already guessed. It’s only on the floor finish and doesn’t penetrate the wood surface. These are the easiest to remove and there are a few ways you can go about them. If the first method doesn’t give you the desired results, then try the others. This is how to remove surface scratches from a wood floor with a…

DIY solution

You probably already have these at your home, so try them and see what happens.

  1. Mix a solution between apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
  2. Apply on the scratched surface.
  3. Leave for several hours.
  4. Wipe away the mixture.

If that fails, run to your local hardware store and purchase some varnish.

Varnish

Make sure it’s polyurethane varnish that you buy. This liquid coating is meant to protect floors and wood furniture. It also dries clear.

  1. Apply a hardwood floor cleaning product on a soft cloth.
  2. Clean the scratched surface. Make sure even the smallest dust particles are gone.
  3. Apply a new protective layer of polyurethane varnish over the scratched area.
  4. Give the spot time to dry naturally. If you leave it overnight, it will be just fine.
If your floor has a wax finish, do not apply polyurethane varnish over any part of it. Instead use the same finish as the original.

Marker

If polyurethane varnish fails, buy a wood marker and make sure to test it out on an inconspicuous spot first. Then, when the scratched area is still clean, paint it with the marker. If you find a wax stick instead of a marker, go for it. It’s a good alternative and will give you the same result as long as it’s the right colour.

Paint

If the marker doesn’t work out as planned, or you bought the wrong colour, then try paint as a last resort. Make sure the type of paint you purchase is the same as the one on your floor. For example, if it’s gloss, buy gloss paint.

  1. Follow the direction of the wood grain
  2. Apply the paint over the scratch with a flat brush
  3. Wait about 12 hours for it to fully dry
  4. Apply a second light coat
  5. Wait another 12 hours to see if the colour is just right
  6. Wait 24 hours until the spot is completely dry

How to remove minor scratches from your wood floor

The next level of scratch is the one that has penetrated the wood underneath the protective coating. In this case, you will need to purchase a floor repair product called…

Wax Stick

You can either purchase a soft wax kit of several colours, or just one stick if your floor is only one colour.

  1. Clean the scratched area with a soft cloth dipped in hardwood floor cleaner. Make sure the wood is completely clean.
  2. Rub over the scratch with fine steel wool and do it along the grain of the wood. Never go against the wood otherwise, the mark will become more noticeable.
  3. Buff until the scratch is completely removed.
  4. Now, rub lightly against the edges, as well. The point is to blend them with the spot where the damage used to be.
  5. Take your wax stick and apply on the affected area. The product will need about 10 minutes to set and dry.
  6. Take a soft cloth and buff the area until it shines.
  7. Put some paste wax over the area where there’s now wax stick. This will make the scratch even less noticeable.
Do not use paste wax if your floors are not covered with glossy polyurethane.

How to remove deep scratches from your floor

The kind of scratch everybody dreads requires a lot more work and precision compared to the previous two. Still, with the right kind of tools and knowledge, you should be able to fix the problem. Brace yourself, you will feel like a true professional repairman whilst following either of these two methods:

Sanding and refinishing

If you have a deep gouge on your floor, you will need to supply yourself with mineral spirits, coloured wood putty and a fresh bucket of the finish your floor was treated with. If you still have your old finish somewhere, use it.

  1. Moisten a scouring pad with a mineral spirit of your choice.
  2. Rub the scratch.
  3. Give it time to dry off and wipe with a dry cloth.
  4. Take your plastic knife and put some wood putty over the scratch. If the scratch is so deep, you will need to fill it with putty.
  5. Wait for the putty to harden.
  6. Sand the surface with 150 grit sandpaper and try to make the putty as even with the rest of the floor as possible.
  7. Apply a fresh coat of finish over the area.

If your entire floor is scratched, filling each hole with putty is not an option. It will take too much material and time. Instead, you should sand the entire floor with a sanding machine and refinish it. Mind you, this method will only work for floors made of real wood. If you have an engineered floor with a real wood surface, check that it has never been sanded before. These kinds of surfaces can only be sanded once or twice before the real wood is completely removed.

If you’ve never sanded a floor before, check out our post on how to sand a floor for beginners.

How to remove scratches from laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is known for many qualities, but perhaps its durability is the most sought after. Even so, it’s not entirely scratchproof, as you already know if you are reading this chapter. The thing about this kind of floor is that it can’t be sanded or refinished. If the scratches are light enough you can mask them, but if they’re too deep and too many, you will likely need to change all the boards.

Before you begin, though, prepare your laminate floor by taking the following steps:

  • Sweep the floor – use a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner. The point is to remove large debris.
  • Mop the floor – use a mild cleaner for laminate floor and warm water.
  • Dry the floor with a clean rag.

When that is done, consider the following options, according to the level of scratches your floor has sustained.

Light scratches on laminate

Go to your local hardware store and purchase a touch-up marker. The colour must be the exact one, or as close to that of your laminate, as possible. That’s why it’s not recommended to buy this product online, as colours are often slightly different.

Start with one side of the scratch and work your way to the other side. The more colour you apply, the darker it gets, so use the marker sparingly.

Get a soft microfiber cloth and blend the filler. Start from one end of the scratch, and go slowly to the other one. Move the cloth around the scratch to buff it up. Continue, until you see no sign of the scratch.

Medium scratches on laminate

For medium scratches on your laminate floor, you will need some repair putty. Putty comes in two variants, pre-coloured or clear. The clear one you need to dye to your liking.

Spread the material over the scratch with a plastic putty knife. A metal one could make an additional scratch and you don’t want that. After having applied the putty, run the knife over it from a few different directions. By doing this, you will distribute it more evenly. Don’t worry if you’ve applied a little too much putty. 

Afterwards, remove the excess putty with a paper towel. Don’t wait too long, as the putty takes around 30 minutes to dry.

Deep scratches on laminate

If you have deep scratches, chips, dents or even holes you will need to purchase hard wax sticks. These usually come in a pair of several different colours which, when mixed, give you the right colour. Unlike soft wax sticks and putty, hard wax sticks need to be melted before use. This makes them slightly harder to use, but once the wax dries, it becomes very durable.

Rub the melted wax into the scratch with a knife. Start with the lighter colour and gradually add darker ones until you get the right shade. Level out the material with a spatula or an old credit card.

Buff the area with a paper towel. This will both serve to remove excess material and help with the blending of the wax with the rest of the floor.

If your wooden floor has sustained different kinds of damages, which require replacing boards, check our post on how to fix laminate flooring.

Need help with your hard surface repair?

If you lack enough free time, the proper materials or simply don’t feel you’re up to this task, then consider hiring professionals. Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully equipped technicians, who will carry out wood floor scratch repairs with amazing results. They don’t fix scratches only, either. If your floor has sustained water damage, burns, cracks, and even stains, then we will take care of them, as well. No materials or tools are needed on your behalf, we bring absolutely everything. All you need to do is go to our booking form and fill out the details. That’s it! We will contact you to confirm.

Get in touch today!

Takeaways

  • Battle surface scratches with a DIY solution of apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
  • A fresh coat of varnish or a marker also works against surface scratches.
  • Remove minor scratches by filling them with wax.
  • Heavy scratches on your wooden floor need to be sanded and refinished.

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Did you find this post helpful? Did we miss something? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Image source: Shutterstock / Karjalainen

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