Exuberant kids running all over the house, your pet Labrador pawing at the floor in a fit of pique, mischievous teens dragging furniture across the floor to hide broken china. These are just a few factors that can cause scratches on your engineered hardwood floors.
Is it possible to get rid of those blemishes and restore that surface to its former smoothness? And how would you need to go about it?
Find out in this post where we discuss how to fix scratches in engineered hardwood floors and key factors which you will need to take into account to be able to do so.
Things You’ll Need
To make the necessary repairs, you will need the following items which have been categorized according to the kind of scratch you will need to fix.
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swabs
For Faint Scratches
- Clean white cloth
- Extra plank of wood for testing
- Markers (clear coat or colored)
- Paper towels
For Moderately Sized Scratches
- Clean white cloth
- Blow dryer/heat gun
- Wax pencil
For Major Scratches
- Painter’s tape
- Putty knife
- Sanding sponge
- Stain pen
- Stainable wood filler
- Wipe-On Poly
Preparing the Area
The first thing you will need to do is remove any furniture or rugs from the area you need to work on.
If you happen to be handling scratches that are spread out, you may need to empty the entire room.
Next, you will need to clean the room thoroughly with a brush or vacuum, and then a mop.
You will also need to apply rubbing alcohol to the area around it and to the scratch to completely remove any lingering debris.
You will also need to ensure you have purchased all the items you need to effect the repairs and have them with you ready for use.
How to Fix a Minor Scratch on Engineered Wood Floors
If you have to fix surface scratches on engineered hardwood floors, or a series of them, you will need to try out the marker you intend to use on a spare plank of your flooring, or in a small spot in a corner where it is unlikely to be noticed.
Doing so will enable you to select the right color and prevent you from unintentionally discoloring your hardwood floor surface.
Once you have determined the right color to use, you will need to apply it following the direction of the scratch.
You will then need to wipe the treated surface with a paper towel and leave it to dry.
Moderately Sized Scratches
For scratches that are somewhat wider and more prominent, you will need a wax pencil of the right color — you may be able to test it on a white cloth to ensure it is the color you need or on a spare plank that belongs to the hardwood batch in question.
Once you are satisfied that the wax pencil is a matching color, you will need to light the blow drier or heat gun to melt the wax.
Next, you will need to apply the wax pencil to the scratch and when you are done, you will need to buff it and the surrounding areas using a clean cloth.
This product is ideal for minor scratches and has been specifically designed to conceal them.
It is not only easy to apply but will fill blemishes with a varnish which will dry promptly. The Varathane Scratch Repair Pen also provides a filling that is especially durable and will not crack.
Produced by a leading brand, the Minwax Blend-Fil Repair Pencil is ideal for those scratches on your floor which are slightly larger than usual.
It comes in different colors which can be blended to obtain the hue which is just right for your floor.
In addition to being easy to apply, it is also easy to clean with mineral spirits. The result is a durable filling that can be buffed to blend in with the surrounding wooden surface.
How to Repair Major Scratches or Gouges on Engineered Hardwood
Surround the area to be treated with painter’s tape. Next, apply the wood filler as smoothly as possible to the damaged part of the floor and leave it to dry.
Sandpaper it so that the surface becomes uniform and dabbing the stain on a piece of cloth, apply it to the wood filler.
Wipe off the excess stain and leave to dry. If the treated area seems to have a slight sheen to it, simply touch it up with a small quantity of Wipe-On Poly and rub it in vigorously to create a more uniform appearance.
This product has been designed for both convenience and efficiency. The Minwax Stainable Wood Filler is not only fast-drying but is also easy to sand.
It is also suitable for both water and oil-based stains and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Sanding Engineered Wood Floors
This process is considered a suitable option for repairing scratches that tend to be rather numerous and widespread.
Unlike solid hardwood floors, engineered hardwood floors are often considered unsuitable for sanding.
And while this may be true in certain respects, it does not necessarily apply in every circumstance. The main qualities which will make surfaces in this category suitable or unsuitable for sanding include:
The Thickness of the Veneer
Unlike solid hardwood floor planks which consist of hardwood in their entirety, only the topmost layer — the veneer or wear layer — of engineered hardwood floor planks are made from the material. It is this difference that makes it possible to sand down surfaces consisting of the former several times.
However certain engineered hardwood floors have particularly thick veneers, i.e., above 3mm in thickness. Those in this category may be sanded.
Certain engineered hardwood floors have been treated to make them appear distressed and older, to enhance the character they provide to a home.
This process is referred to as hand scrapping and it renders engineered hardwood floors less suitable for sanding. Certain experts believe that it may only be possible to sand floors that have been hand scraped once.
Preventing Scratches on Engineered Wood Floors
Protecting your hardwood surfaces from scratches is of paramount importance since they can detract from the beauty of your home if left unattended and if allowed to grow in number.
The following steps will enable you to protect your hardwood floors from scratches and preserve their charm for longer.
Establish a No Footwear Policy
Shoes can often bring in grit and small pebbles trapped beneath their soles which in turn can cause scratches on your floor.
High heels can also cause dents on the surface due to the pressure they apply. The risks posed by footwear means that disallowing them in rooms with hardwood floors will play a role in significantly reducing the risks of scratches and dents to them.
Make Use of Indoor and Outdoor Mats
It may not always be possible to enforce a footwear ban and that is where mats come in.
They serve to catch any lingering grit or pebbles which happen to be sticking to soles, or which might even have snuck into shoes or sandals and stuck to socks.
A rough-textured outdoor mat is ideal for visitors to wipe their footwear on and would see most of the grit removed, and a smoother textured indoor mat can also serve to remove grains of sand that make it past the outdoor mat.
Make Use of Furniture Protectors
The legs of sofas, tables, stools, and chairs can cause damage to hardwood floors, especially when they happen to be particularly heavy.
Felt furniture protectors can help prevent your dining or sofa set from causing scratches and dents on your floors, and are highly recommended as a result.
We recommend checking out our article on keeping furniture from sliding on hardwood floors.
Sweep and Vacuum Often
Sweeping or vacuuming frequently will prevent the accumulation of dirt, sand, and dust which can cause scratches on engineered hardwood floors.
Brooms, brushes, and vacuum cleaners should have soft bristles to prevent them from causing scratches themselves on your floors.
It is also important to lift furniture when sweeping or vacuuming to prevent the accumulation of debris beneath their legs as this can also constitute a scratching hazard.
Take Care of Pets’ Paws
Your pets can also play a role in damaging your floors especially if they happen to be particularly active and like to play outdoors and paw at surfaces.
Ensuring you keep their claws carefully trimmed and clean their paws once they come in from a run in the garden or a walk will reduce the risk of them scratching your engineered hardwood floors.
Clean Up Any Accidents Instantly
If any china or crystal is broken, you must ensure you clean it up instantly and take special care to sweep up any broken shards. Failing to do so will place your floor at risk of getting scratched especially in the event of anyone stepping on one of the broken pieces (and will also place residents at risk of injury).
Make Use of Rugs and Runners
Placing rugs at strategic spots such as dining and coffee tables can prevent or at least slow down the wear and tear of your floors and even reduce the risk of their sustaining scratches.
Rugs can also be used for covering scratches on engineered hardwood floors.
Runners are also an excellent choice for protecting high traffic areas and can reduce the likelihood of your needing to repair any scratches on your hardwood floors.