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02 December 2021

Can You Repair Scratches On Wooden Flooring Yourself?

Wood flooring is a great choice in a busy home because it is easy to clean. Mess made by spilled drinks and muddy shoes is quick to wipe away and you can sweep up dust and crumbs in seconds. Wood floor does tend to get scratches and dents over time though especially if you have children or pets charging about and dragging furniture around the room (no matter how many times I ask them not too). I generally accept the rustic charm of our imperfect floors, but occasionally I want to get rid of the more obvious scratches.


A close up of a wooden furniture repair pen next to a scratch on dark wood floor
You can easily repair minor scratches on wooden floor yourself, or at least make them less visible

The best way to get rid of damage to wooden floors is to call in professionals, but if that’s not an affordable option for you or it seems pointless as damage is continuous then there are ways you can make scratches and marks less obvious. So what is the best way to remove scratches from wooden floors yourself?

If your flooring is new I recommend checking any documentation before taking action in case there are warranties or recommendations for your type of flooring. Where possible always try products on less obvious locations first and if you are worried about ruining your floor just don't try the DIY approach.

How successfully you can remove the appearance of scratches will depend on what you use and the type of floor you have. Our floor is has a dark wood stain with a polished surface. Fine scratches appear white, but deeper scratches reveal the lighter coloured wood underneath. If you have light wood floor polishing with a clear bees wax may be sufficient to make it look good again.


What Is The Best Way To Remove Surface Scratches From Wooden Flooring?

While deeper scratches need smoothing out or filling in to make them totally disappear, surface scratches can be blended in quite easily. These are the techniques I have tried using:


Wood Scratch Cover

You can get bottles of wood stain for scratch repair like this one I have from Tableau. It is a thick coloured liquid you can wipe over the damaged area. It is really good for very minor damage over a large area and making tired flooring look fresh again, but due to being oil based it can leave some trace product that doesn’t completely dry out and may transfer to clothes if sat on. 

A dark wood floor covered in scratches with wood repair cover oil on it
Tableau Wood Repair Cover is good for mild damage across large areas


Furniture Repair Marker Pens

I have used a brown felt tip before on our dark wood and had some success, but I tried these furniture repair marker pens and I think they work really well. The ink in the pens dried quickly and doesn’t rub off easily. It works well on single scratches that you can draw along, but it’s harder to use for an area of smaller scratches because unless it is an exact colour match the edge of the pen lines are harder to blend it in. The colour is much richer than the wood scratch cover oil and they provided better results on my floor. 

The dryer the wood the more ink it will soak up and the darker it will look so use a pen lighter than the wood and go darker if necessary. You can build up with multiple layers to make it darker or thicker. If covering a larger area you might want to follow up with a clear wax eg bees wax to make the surface smoother.

A wooden floor with a selection of wood colour pens
Choose a pen lighter than your wooden floor, you can always go darker afterwards


Wax 

In the pursuit of fixing things with what I have had I have tried colouring crayons before and they are ok so when the pen repair kit I bought had wax crayons in I assumed they were meant to be used the same way. Nope. To be fair there are no instructions in the packet so I can't be blamed for thinking you are meant to colour in the scratches.

It turns out you are meant to use the filler wax by melting it on to the scratch. The wax would work best on small chips I think and it wasn't very good on the large but shallow mark I tried it on. 

You need to melt the wax on to the scratch, let it dry and then polish it up. I found the wax dripped too thickly on to the flooring and I couldn’t polish it flat easily. I also managed to burn the wax as some patches went darker. Professionals use a tool rather than an open flame so it's a lower heat, they also scrape off the excess before it totally dries. So my end result is a bit of a mess and a proper tutorial should be watched before attempting, although at the end of the day it is only wax so you can always scratch it off and try again.

A pack of furniture repair pens and wax
I bought this set and found the pens good for wooden floor scratches


Nuts

One of the easiest, cheapest and most effective ways to remove small scratches from wood is with a nut. Can a nut really remove scratch marks from wood? Yes absolutely. It doesn’t really matter what nut, because they all have oil inside them which will make small marks vanish as if my magic. They are also soft enough that they shouldn’t scratch the floor. This isn’t recommended if you are likely to have anyone with a nut allergy visiting and you can get a similar result with a kitchen oil, but using a nut is more fun. I used almonds and bit it in half so the middle of the nut was visible. It works best on small superficial scratches like minor scuff marks.

An almond next to a near scratch free wooden floor
Can a nut really remove the appearance of scratches from wood?

The most effective ways to remove scratches from wooden floors
Why not pin for later?


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