5 Easy Steps for Repairing Surface-Level Scratches on Your Hardwood Floors

Posted on: 14 April 2015


A small pebble caught in the bottom of your shoe, a thin dusting of dirt or sand, or even the simple act of relocating furniture can be enough to leave surface-level scratches in your hardwood floors. Over time, these shallow scratches can make your floors look old and dingy. Thankfully, repairing these scratches can be much easier than many people realize. In fact, with the help of the instructions outlined below, you will be able to complete this task in just five easy steps.

Step 1: Gather All Your Materials

Ensuring you have all the materials you need prior to starting the repair process will help to make sure the process goes smoothly and will allow you to avoid time-consuming delays while you run to the hardware store. In order to prevent these issues, take the time to ensure you have each of the items on the list below before moving on to the next step.

  • mineral spirits
  • clean cloth
  • fine grit sandpaper
  • wood stain that matches your current floor finish
  • paper towels
  • paintbrush (2)
  • polyurethane (or other finishing product that matches your current floor finish)

Step 2: Clean the Scratched Area

Begin by dampening a clean cloth with mineral spirits. Using a circular motion, thoroughly clean the area that is being repaired in order to ensure that there is no dirt or other small particles inside of or around the scratches.

Step 3: Rough Up the Floor Surface

Using a piece of fine grit sandpaper, apply gentle pressure to the scratched area in order to slightly scuff the surrounding surface. This will help to mask the appearance of the scratch and allow you to blend it into the surrounding floor materials. However, if you apply too much pressure during this step, you could end up causing more damage to your floor. Therefore, you should only apply as much pressure as need to scuff the very top layer of the floor's surface.

Step 4: Apply Wood Stain to Scratch

Using one of your clean paint brushes, apply a very thin layer of wood stain to the area that you just sanded. Once the area is coated in wood stain, use a paper towel to blend the stain into the floor using circular motions.

Continue to repeat this step of the process until you are able to perfectly match the color of your existing floor finish and the repaired scratch is no longer visible.

Step 5: Apply a Protective Layer

In order to protect your floor from further damage and to ensure a universal appearance through your floor's entire surface, you will need to apply a new coat of polyurethane or other finishing material over the area that you have just repaired. This should be done only after the wood stain has dried completely in order to prevent any discoloration.

Just A Reminder

There are many different types of damage that your wood floors can suffer. The repair process above is only designed to help with the repair of minor scratches that do not extend beyond the surface of your floors. If you are dealing with more severe damage, such as a deep scratch or gouge, you will need to seek out the services of a hardwood floor contractor in order to ensure this damage is fixed properly.