Fixing a surface-coated floor
- For a small, relatively inconspicuous area on a surface-coated or film-forming floor, try cleaning with very fine steel wool followed by paste wax.
- If that fails, apply a little of the same finish directly on the scratch with an artist's brush. If possible, contact the manufacturer of a factory-finished floor or the installer of a site-finished floor to determine the finish. Or use polyurethane with a comparable sheen.
- Put a cloth lightly dampened with mineral spirits over your fingertip, and immediately wipe off the excess finish before it dries.
- When the finish is dry, buff well with a soft cloth.
- If the scratch has penetrated a stained floor and removed an area of stain, touch up the stain before you apply finish. Wipe or brush on stain, allow it to penetrate for a few minutes and wipe it off. Or use a furniture stick or floor touch-up marker that approximates the floor stain's color. Allow overnight drying before finishing.
- If the repair is too obvious, the next step is to refinish the entire affected strip. Use steel wool or fine sandpaper on a sanding block that's narrower than the floorboard to remove layers of the finish. Brush on polyurethane, being careful not to get any on surrounding strips.
Fixing a waxed floor
- Depending on the depth of the scratch or other damage, use steel wool, a cabinet scraper, or even fine sandpaper on a sanding block to remove the finish, along with the scratch.
- Wipe on a matching stain (or a clear sealer on an unstained floor). You can stain more to darken the area, but it's very hard to lighten stained wood, so start on the light side.
- Waxed floors are forgiving, so you can try many times and extend the repair to the entire strip, as for a polyurethane floor, until you get the results you want. When the color is right, wax the repair area, and then wax a wider area for a uniform sheen.
Things You Will Need
- Artist's Brush
- Polyurethane Or Other Finish
- Paste Wax
- Very Fine Steel Wool
- Cabinet Scraper
- Varnish Brush
- Mineral Spirits
- Fine Sandpaper
- Sanding Block
- Stain, furniture stick or floor touch-up marker
- Manufacturers of factory-finished flooring may sell color-matched repair kits. Contact them for additional guidance before attempting any repairs.
- To make your own sanding block, put self-adhering felt on a block of wood cut to the desired size.
- Before sanding a strip, cover the adjacent strip with a board that you either tape to the floor or kneel on so you avoid accidentally sanding that strip.
- Similarly, put painter's masking tape on adjacent strips when applying stain or finish.