Hardwood flooring, in particular Oak is an aesthetically and economically sound choice for flooring in your household. Despite its general longevity, hardwood flooring can be prone to scratching if not treated carefully. However, these scratches are often easily repaired, provided you know how.
Firstly, you need to assess the scratch itself, is it a deep scratch or a light scratch? Both are treatable. It may be the case that the damage has not penetrated the wax coating, and the wood itself has not been affected. If however, the scratch shows up as a lighter colour, this will likely be the colour of the wood beneath meaning that the wood itself has been damaged.
If the scratch does not show a lighter colour, then this is an easy repair. Simply sand away the wax coating over the affected area, wipe over some white spirits to ensure that any sanded particles are removed and then reapply a matching varnish to the sanded area. Where the wood itself is showing, lightly rub over the scratch using fine steel wool. Ensure that you only rub over the scratch lightly and of course always rub along the grain of the wood; otherwise you may cause more damage.
For deeper scratches, using sandpaper tends to be effective, though again be careful as the abrasive materials can too be damaging. Following sanding the scratch down to reduce its appearance, rub white spirit over the sanded area, removing any sanded particles from the woods to ensure a smooth finish. After this, fill the scratch with wood filler, these can be bought at DIY and hardware shops for no more than five or six pounds. Ensure that when filling your scratch you use a blunt or plastic knife; any other tools can cause more damage and scratches to the floor. Also note that wood fillers come in different colours so be sure to buy the correct one to match your floor.
Mixing wood fillers can be an option to achieve a perfect finish. Let the wood filler dry thoroughly and follow by very lightly sanding down any excess filler using wire wool or fine sandpaper. The final stage is to seal the scratched area which is done by applying a wooden floor varnish. Again ensure that the colour matches! An important tip is to use brushes with natural applicators such as wool or natural bristles, foam brushes will leave air bubbles in the varnish. This procedure will also work on doors and windows.
If the scratch is very deep, this may in fact be what is known as a ‘gouge’ and is typically more difficult to repair. Rather than lightly sanding the affected area, if the scratch is particularly pronounced this may involve the use of an electric sander. Also, as opposed to sanding only the affected area, the whole board may have to be sanded and then levelled again to the rest of the hardwood floor. This is still a relatively easy repair, however for the DIY novice it may be worthwhile contacting your floor manufacturer or a trained professional who may be able to give you help and advice on the best treatments for the severity of the scratch. Even with severe damage do not assume you will need a new wood floor fitting.
Most causes of scratching to hardwood floors comes from moving furniture, breaking glass or wearing high heels on the floor. If treated carefully, hardwood floors are incredibly durable and can last anything up to hundreds of years. For professional repairs you should consider a wood floor renovation company.