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Hardwood Floor Repair—What You Need to Know

April 30, 2013 by | Jennifer | There have been 0 comments

Whether you have brand-new hardwood floors that now feature a single unfortunate scratch, or whether you’ve purchased a home whose antique hardwood floors are in need of serious TLC, repairs are something every wood floor owner must face from time to time.

But don’t worry--repairing wood floors isn’t as daunting as you might think. Tackle hardwood floor repair step by step, and your floors will be looking lovely again in no time.

Level One: Simple Fixes

First, determine what caused the problem with your floor. If it’s a scratch, how deep is it? If it is a shallow mark that has only scratched through the finish, not penetrated into the wood, you can try camouflaging the mark. Companies such as Minwax make handy stain markers in a variety of shades that you can simply run over the scratch to cover it.

If it’s a stain, do you know what caused it? Stains from pets can be difficult to remove, but not impossible. Try an enzymatic cleaner (you can find it at your local pet store) or a rag lightly dampened with hydrogen peroxide. Both of these approaches will work at the microscopic level: hydrogen peroxide and enzyme cleaners both contain ingredients that will react with the chemicals in the pet urine to remove or lessen the stain.

Level Two: Sanding and Staining

If your attempts at covering up or removing the mark on your hardwood floors didn’t give you the results you were looking for, you can move on to your second line of attack: sanding and re-staining.

By taking your floor down to bare wood, you have the chance to sand away any imperfections or blotches and smooth out any dents. Check out this tutorial from Hardwood Floors Magazine on blending your repaired area into the rest of your floor. They recommend extending your sanding slightly out into the surrounding floor boards, so that no single board stands out.

Using a hand scraper, you can use a technique the pros call “chasing the grain.” Taking into account the grain pattern, the natural variation between light and dark tones in the wood, lightly scrape away the finish of every other grain pattern in the boards that neighbor the one you’re repairing. When you re-stain the area, the new stain will flow naturally into the surrounding boards, following the pattern of the grain.

If you can, talk to the professionals who sanded and stained your floor originally, and make sure you use the same grit of sandpaper and the same type of stain they used so that the final product will look the same. If you’re not sure, do a sanding-and-staining trial run in a hidden spot, such as the inside of a closet, before you attempt it in the middle of your floor.

Level Three: Replacement

If a gouge is extremely deep, if a stain has penetrated into the wood, or if your problem is a flaw in the board itself like warping or buckling, you may need to cut out the offending board and replace it with a new one. You’ll then follow the same procedure as in Level Two to sand, stain, and blend the new board in next to the old ones.

Check out AltruFir’s step-by-step tutorial on replacing floorboards if you’ve never done it before. The experts at Hardwood Floors Magazine also have tips, complete with pictures, on replacing boards for factory-finished flooring.

If you have an older home, the biggest problem might be finding boards to match your current flooring. AltruFir can help with that: we carry Douglas fir flooring in many different widths, and we specialize in antique lumber, so we may even be able to locate a replacement board for you that’s from the same era as your current flooring. If you need something from a different species, our sister company AltruWood offers everything from traditional white oak to exotic tigerwood.

No one likes to see scratches or stains on their beautiful hardwood floors--but the fact is, floors are meant to be lived on, and it’s natural for them to take a beating. So don’t worry if you have to do a minor repair from time to time--with a little time and care, the repaired sections can look just as gorgeous as the rest of your hardwood flooring.

This post was posted in Care & Maintenance, Flooring Repair and was tagged with Douglas-fir, Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, stains, maintaining wood floors, maintaining fir floors, squeaky floors, warping floors, wood flooring repair, repair wood floors, repair wood flooring

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