National Floors Direct offers advice on getting scratched out of hardwood floors

This Is How to Get Scratches Out of Hardwood Floors

Did you know that 66 percent of homeowners would like to install hardwood flooring, according to this survey by NWFA?

It's the dream of many to one day have this material in their homes, but it's important that you know what to expect before that time comes. If you already have it, then you're probably wondering how to get scratches out of hardwood floors. Luckily, we're here to help no matter your situation.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about hardwood maintenance.

How to Clean Your Floors

Before you attempt any repairs, it's essential that you clean your flooring. Doing this is an easy process, but there are a few steps to follow.

Start with a dust mop or vacuum in order to remove dirt, pet fur, stray pieces of hair, or other debris from the floor. Ensuring there isn't any loose hair around is especially important, as this can make it difficult to differentiate cracks or minor scratches.

From there, if your floors are in need of a deep clean, you'll need to use a liquid cleaner. For this, any commercial hardwood cleaner will do, or you can make your own by mixing one part vinegar with 10 parts warm water and a few drops of castile soap. Saturate a rag with your cleaner, wring it out so it doesn't drip, and then get to mopping!

If there's excess, don't panic. You can just wipe it up once you're done. After that, you'll need to go back over it with a clean rag to absorb the leftover cleaner.

From there, it's going to be a lot easier to see where any damage has been done.

Use Polish for Light Scratches

For particularly light scratches, you may find that polishing your floors helps a lot. Some of them can actually work to fill in small scuffs so you don't notice their appearance at all. You're also adding protective layering to your floor in the process!

To polish your floor properly, it's important to find out its finish. If you have polyurethane floors, a water-based polish will work best. For other finishes, a wax-based one will do.

You should also read the bottle before you begin, as these instructions are going to help you achieve the best results. Sometimes, you'll also have to sand or wax your floors before you start polishing. From there, grab a microfiber cloth and get to work.

Before you do the entire floor, test out a small area to ensure the polish won't discolor the wood. Out of sight is best here, so find a large piece of furniture to move or even an area rug. If you apply the polish, wipe it, and see no damage, you're OK to continue.

Depending on the polish you use, you'll either apply the polish to the floor itself or to the rag and then the floor.

Deeper Gashes Require Sanding

If there are deeper scratches present, you'll need to take extra steps.

Before you start, though, make sure you understand your floor type. If you have engineered wood floors, this step is probably best left to a professional. If you have solid wood flooring, it's likely a project you can take on yourself.

If you're taking the DIY route, be sure to clear the room of any furniture, curtains, wall hangings, or even doors if you can. If there are things you can't move, or the area is difficult to close off, hanging heavy-duty tarps is a smart thing to do. It's also a smart idea to cover air vents, light bulbs, and windows with plastic before you start (things are going to get dusty).

You should also wear safety gear, like goggles, gloves, and ear protection during this process.

From there, you can start sanding. You should use a random-orbit sander armed with 40-grit sandpaper for this.

As soon as you start, make sure you're moving the sander so you don't cause further damage to your floor. You'll need to follow this step up twice. Once with 60-grit sandpaper, and then another with 100-grit sandpaper.

After, use a damp mop on the floor to pick up particles that were left behind.

Preventing Damage to Hardwood Floors

Once you've gotten the damage out of your floors, it's important to ensure it doesn't happen again. Here are some helpful tips you can start using today.

  • Reapply wood finish as necessary
  • Trim your pet's nails often
  • Avoid abrasive cleaning products
  • Use rugs and runners in high-traffic areas

Also, if you have brand new floors, it's smart to keep the brand and its specifications on hand. This can help you maintain the floor to the brand's standards so your floors stay shiny and new for many years to come.

One of the best things you can do, though, is avoid cleaning your floors with water. While a wrung-out rag isn't going to hurt anything, mopping your floor like it's tile is not going to end well. It's going to eventually lead to swelling in your floors, and damaging decay.

Remember How to Get Scratches Out of Hardwood Floors

When you learn how to get scratches out of hardwood floors, it becomes easier to take care of your home. Whether you're thinking of installing this flooring or you're trying to save your damaged floor, these tips are sure to help you out. Remember, though, prevention is the best medicine, so be sure to care for your floors before they need it too.

If you're ready to take the plunge on hardwood flooring, we can help. Contact us today to get started.