All floors are subject to an awful lot on a daily basis. With shoes, kids, and pets running around all day it is hardly surprising that hardwood floors need repairs every so often.
But how do you fix a hardwood floor without replacing the whole thing? We have put together this quick guide to take you through some maintenance of your hardwood flooring to keep it looking its best.
Assess The Damage
Before you begin any work on the hardwood, you need to assess the damage.
Bear in mind that many large scratches can be easily buffed out. These are the sorts of scratches that are caused by moving furniture and are not a big deal – rub in some wood restoring oil or stain along the surface of the hardwood and you should be all done!
You may need to sand out some scratches before you can apply stain but these sorts of small repairs to flooring are not big projects.
Remember that you do not need to sand the entire floor but you do need to sand the area around the scratch or hole for the best match for filler color. Use the sandpaper and work with the wood grain to get the best sanding results.
If you have a really deep scratch, you will need to use some wood fillers to fill in and fix holes. It is a similar process to repair holes.
For scratches, we primarily recommend an epoxy filler. It is a little work as you need to mix the two chemicals together but it will be shrink and crack resistant.
Epoxy does not accept stain well so choose the correct color or mix some sawdust from sanding with the glue to make the final repair look cohesive.
Large Scratches And Holes
Treat deep scratches as you would holes. You need to sand the existing floor around the hole and be sure to work on the edges so they can blend in.
Use sandpaper to remove the finish of the hardwood as repair products need to adhere to the exposed wood. Once you have sanded, you can move on to fix the hole.
Apply Wood Filler
The easiest type of product to use is a wax repair stick. This is a paste wax specifically made for floor repairs and is available in a wide range of colors. Make sure you patch test along the edges of your floor to find the best match!
We recommend wood putty as it is one of the best options for fixing holes or small gaps in hardwood flooring. Choose a wood putty that best matches the color of your hardwood flooring and use a putty knife to dollop putty into the hole in small quantities.
Make sure you press the product in firmly and then apply a bit extra so there is a slight mound over the surface of the surrounding floor. Leave to dry overnight for the best results and then apply some polyurethane gloss – two coats is usually enough.
Use a sponge brush to apply the gloss evenly and prevent streaking. You need to leave the gloss to dry overnight as well.
If you have some larger holes that are in need of repair, you may be better off getting a new board. A new board is going to be easier to install and look much better than lots of big repair jobs.
To rip up old boards, you need to chisel a straight line across the board. Now cut some relief lines along the length to remove pieces of wood – we find it easiest to use a circular saw for this.
Clean up the gap left by the old board and make sure that the end cuts you made were straight – you could possibly use a circular saw to correct any issues at this stage. The end cuts in the hardwood need to be straight or the new board will not sit correctly in the existing flooring.
Cut the board you are installing so its tongue fits into the groove of the existing boards and lower into place. Apply wood glue if needed to get a secure fit.
You can now finish this board with some stain so it matches the color of the surrounding boards. We like to use a sponge brush to keep the color even. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to let any stain dry completely, then replace any furniture and admire your repair job!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Wood Filler For Hardwood Floors?
There are lots of products available that will do well filling any gaps in hardwood floors. These include putty, wood filler, caulk, and some people even use pieces of rope that are stained to the color of the hardwood floor.
Pre-mixed filler is a popular choice as it does not really shrink and is best to use for big holes.
Other types of resin can be mixed with sanding dust from the wood to create a wood filler that is a perfect color match.
Can You Walk On Wood Filler?
Wood filler is designed to dry hard which means that you will have no difficulty walking on it. We recommend finishing with a polyurethane gloss for the best-looking results.
What Is Wood Putty?
Wood putty is a type of filler that is used to fill holes that are going to be stained. It is applied in small quantities with a putty knife and then left to dry.
Can You Fill Gaps In A Hardwood Floor?
Gaps, small holes, and even bigger holes are easily fixed with some filler or putty. Bear in mind that repairing extensive damage may not be worth it and it will be best to replace the damaged boards with a new piece.
Are Hardwood Floors Easy To Maintain?
Hardwood flooring is super easy to clean and maintain, hence its popularity in many busy homes. It is also very resilient and requires minimal repair work.