As attractive as hardwood floors might seem to be, they are also quite prone to scratches. Since there are different reasons for scratches to occur on hardwood floors, the degree of damage caused by them also differs. Thus the process of fixing them also has to be different.
Generally hardwood floor damages can be classified into three types:
• Surface scratches whereby only the protective covering is scratched,
• Minor scratches which penetrate the protective covering to scratch the wood surface underneath and
• Deep scratches which penetrate deep into the wood resulting in gauges and grooves.
These scratches are the easiest to clean and materials required for their cleanup include soft cloth, water, hardwood floor cleaner and some of the protective covering which has been applied on the rest of the floor. The process involves the following steps:
• The scratched area needs to be cleaned using a soft cloth dipped in a cleaner meant for hardwood floors. This needs to be done very carefully for if the dirt or grime remains in the scratch, the application of the sealant would seal it permanently.
• The area then needs to be rinsed with another soft cloth and clean water and left to dry completely.
• Once it has dried up, a new layer of protective coating needs to be applied carefully so that it blends in with the surrounding undamaged portion of the floor.
The hardwood floor should then be left overnight to dry up.
Here, in addition to soft cloths, water and hardwood floor cleaners, fine grade sandpaper or steel wool and wax wood repair stick of the colour is also required. The colour of the wax wood repair stick should absolutely match the colour of the hardwood floor. The steps involved in the cleanup process are as follows:
• In the first step all traces of dirt and grime need to be removed and the floor thoroughly cleaned with a good quality hardwood floor cleaner.
• Then the scratched area needs to be rubbed using a steel wool or fine grade sand paper. Care must be taken to rub the steel wool or sand paper along the grain of the hardwood. Rubbing against it will only damage the floor further by
o Increasing the scratch and
o Making it more noticeable.
• The scratched area then needs to be buffed up till the scratch is completely removed. Feathering the edge of the scratch would enable it to blend in with its surroundings.
• Rubbing wax stick over the buffed helps to fill up the scratch and blend it further with its surroundings. This needs to be kept for a minimum of 10 minutes.
• The waxed area needs to be buffed again using long backward and forward motion with a soft cloth.
The repair to minor scratches needs to be finished by cleaning the concerned area with another soft cloth.
In instances wherein grooves or gauges occur in the hardwood floor, it is best to call in professional hardwood floor repairers since the floor would need to be first stripped, then repaired and properly refinished. The same can of course be done at home but only and only if the person doing it is thoroughly comfortable and experienced enough in the process.
Using the above methods and processes would ensure that the beauty of the hardwood floor can be maintained for years on end.