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Touch Up Time! How To Get Rid of Blemishes in Your Hardwood Floor

Brrr! If you’ve stepped outside today, you can tell that fall is readying itself to push summer aside. Funny thing about cooler weather; as jackets and sweaters start to come out, people and pets start to head in. Gone are the sweet days of long hours in the sun for this year.

While this inevitable change has it’s benefits (a.k.a pumpkin spice everything), it comes with some downsides for your floor. The more time folks spend indoors, the more time they have to notice little imperfections in your hardwood. Every scratch, gouge, and chip suddenly becomes a target for negative attention. What ever will the neighbors think of you once they see your floor in such an unsightly state?

Okay, so a score in your cherry wood planks may not cause mass mayhem at your next fall party, but nobody wants their hardwood floors to look shabby. There is no good season for “zombie floor syndrome”. To help you rid yourself of those pesky blemishes, we’re going to share four ways to bring your floors back to life!

Method #1 (for light scratches):

  1. Use a BARELY DAMP cloth to wipe down the ruined surface. You want to rid the area of any dirt and debris. Get that gunk out of there!

  2. Cover the scratch with a stain marker. Remember to choose a color that is one shade lighter than your actual floor and test it on a smaller area before completely covering the scratch. You can always add more layers to go darker, but you’re out of luck if you start off with too deep a shade.

  3. Using a rag with a bit of mineral spirits soaked in, gently rub the stain into the wood. Be sure to move in the direction of the grain.

Method #2 (for light scratches):

  1. Just like the first method, you can start by cleaning the part of your floor that needs repair. Use a bit of hardwood cleaner as well if you’d like. Rinse this away with your damp cloth and allow to dry.

  2. Fill the spot in using a wax stick. If you need to use a putty knife to even out the area, that’s perfectly fine. Give the wax one or two days to settle into its new home and dry.

  3. When the wax is properly set, buff over it with a soft cloth.

Method #3 (for scratches on the protective layer of your floor):

  1. Once again, you’ll want to start the process off by cleaning the area you’ll be working on. This time, though, add a tiny bit if hardwood cleaner with a soft cloth before using your damp cloth. Be sure to get all of the cleaner off with the watered down rag. Let the spot dry thoroughly.

  2. Now is the time to apply your finish. Use a small brush to spread your sealant, shellac, varnish, or whatever finish you chose to go with. Try to find out what kind of finish was used originally on the floor if you can.

Method #4 (for deep cuts and pesky gouges):

  1. You know the drill by now. Clean, clean, clean. Make sure it’s dry. Etcetera, etcetera.

  2. Apply some mineral spirits to your gouge and allow it to dry completely.

  3. Time to get a bit messy! Use your finger to fill the gouge with wood filler. Not wood putty; wood filler. You can be liberal with the stuff, because you’ll be removing any excess later. Move it around in all directions to rid the goop of any air bubbles. Give it a day to dry. Important tip: Make sure your wood filler works with stain and paint.

  4. After a day of drying, go over the wood filler with a putty knife. Once again, move it every direction. Do this until the gouge is completely filled and the surface is smooth and even.

  5. Use a very light sandpaper (p180-300) to gently sand over the spot in small circles or with the grain of the wood. Use a BARELY DAMP cloth (should almost feel dry to the touch) to clean up the leftover filler around the scratch. Don’t wipe the actual scratched area or you’ll reactivate the filler.

  6. Use a soft brush or wool roller to apply two layers of sealer over the spot. Let this dry for twenty-four hours before allowing any traffic through.

That’s all for today. Happy Flooring!

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