When it comes to maintaining your wood floors after you’ve had them installed, there are steps you can take to keep it looking just as fresh and new as the day it was installed. Well maintained floors can last for well over one hundred years, and can also be completely resurfaced, stained and finished multiple times. In between refinishing your wood floors, you can actively work to prevent scratches and also repair them. Let’s start by looking at what you can do to prevent scratches.
Prevent Hardwood Floor Scratches
Scratches can come from many sources, but there are ways to prevent each. A common way that people get scratches is from sliding furniture on top of the hardwood. Scratches from furniture can easily be prevented by using a product such as WoodWise tap-in or peel and stick floor pads. A durable layer of felt is adhered to the bottom of furniture, making them slide smoothly on wood floors. These are ideal for dining room chairs and other pieces of furniture that are moved daily on top of a hardwood surface. You can also keep a mat for people to walk on when entering your house. Mats are a great way to help remove rocks stuck in shoes. Another way people get scratches is from long pet nails. Scratches from pets can easily be prevented by keeping nails trimmed appropriately. Lastly, stiletto heels are not just potentially dangerous to walk in, they can also be hazardous to your hardwood floors (though they are incredibly cute!).
One time I went on an inspection for wood flooring that had suspicious wear and tear. The floors were still new but there were strange indentations all over it. They homeowners mentioned they had had a party recently and we came to find out, one of the owner’s shoes was missing the rubber nub and it pressed into the hardwood each time she took a step!
– Jeff Meltzer, President of Universal Hardwood
Purchasing Durable Wood Flooring
Aside from preventing scratches, over time, you will probably come to find some on your wood flooring. If you are concerned about wear and tear on your flooring, one of the best things you can do is to purchase a matte or wax oil finish for your flooring, and also have it distressed or wire brushed. This is the best combination to help you both obscure scratches and repair them without it being noticeable. On the other end of the spectrum, high gloss polyurethane finish is the easiest to find imperfections in and the toughest to repair well.
Repairing Cosmetic Scratches
Cosmetic scratches are defects in the finish only. For most finishes, you should be able to use a small tip brush to apply more finish and allow it to self level. If you have a high gloss polyurethane finish, it may be wise to leave the repairing up to a professional. Most of these businesses will charge a flat fee to show up and on top of an hourly rate. You can allow the scratches to accumulate until you have a few hours worth of work to make it more economical to repair in the long run.
Repairing Surface Scratches
Surface scratches go through the finish and actually remove some of the stain, but do not penetrate into the wood itself. To fix a surface scratch in hardwood floors, you will want to use a stain marker to apply stain to the wood until the color is restored and matches the surrounding floor. Once the stain is dry, you will again use a small tip brush to apply the finish.
Repairing Deep Scratches
No matter what type of finish you have on your hardwood floor, you may want to consider leaving deep scratches up to professionals to repair. Deep scratches are more easily repaired and the repair jobs are less noticeable in floors with matte finishes or a distressed treatment. If you decide to try and repair the floor yourself, you will need to sand the affected area to remove the damage in the wood. This can cause irregularities in the leveling of the floor. Start with a low grit and work your way up to a finishing or high grit sandpaper. Then apply the stain to match the surrounding wood. Lastly, apply the finishing coat to seal the stain and protect the surface.
Hardwood floors can mean higher resale value and heightened beauty for your home. With these tips and tricks, you can make your wood floors last a lifetime, if not longer!