6 Types of Hardwood Floor Damage (and How to Repair Them)

With its natural beauty, durability, low-maintenance, and long lifespan, it’s no surprise that hardwood flooring had topped the list of most desirable types of flooring for centuries. However, even the toughest floors can be subject to damage, especially in homes with children and pets. In general, floors are more susceptible to damage than any other part of the home. Thanks to our planet’s force of gravity, wood floors catch all sorts of falling objects including food, drink, heavy equipment, and sometimes even bodily fluid, all of which can have a damaging effect on your floors. Thankfully, if handled in a timely manner, this damage can be successfully reversed.

Here are the most common types of hardwood floor damage and how you can repair them yourself.

Scratches

Of all the different types of damage that occurs to hardwood floors, scratches are the most common. This can be caused by anything from high-heel shoes to the movement of heavy objects like furniture and appliances. Most of the time, these conditions will only scratch the very surface of the wood floor. A quick and easy application of wax on the effected area followed by a simple buffing will repair the scratch. If the scratch cuts deeper than the surface, however, use steel wool to remove the scratch prior to applying the wax and buffing.

Dents

Accidents happen, and sometimes they include dropping heavy objects. When this happens on a hardwood floor, it creates a very visible dent. Although this may seem like a job for a professional, a few household items and quick action can easily repair the dent.

First, rub sandpaper on the effected area to remove the finish. Then, cover the dent (and only the dent) with a damp towel, and hold an iron directly above it for 3 – 5 minutes. This creates steam, which will seep into the wood cause its fibers to swell, filling in the dent in the process. Water exposure to the rest of the wood may harm its finish, so be sure to keep a close eye on it. Wait for the area to dry, then refinish.

Burns

Although this is not as common as scratches and dents in wood floors, burns can occur – especially in kitchens and near the fireplace. For minor burns, a quick refinish will do the trick. If you burn a larger spot on your wooden floors, scrape the crusty, black part off with a sharp object like a knife or box cutter. Then, sand down the burn to remove as much of the stain as possible. Use a wood filler product to seal any holes from the burn, then refinish the area to match the rest of the floor.

Pet Accidents

If you read our previous post about hardwood flooring in a home with pets, you already know that it can be a challenge to keep your floors damage-free. Sanding can remove most light pet stains, but a deeper stain from repeated accidents in the same place could require a more intensive repair method, such as replacing the boards of the effected area. If this is the case, contact your hardwood flooring company and have them stop by to take a look.

Food Spills

Food spills are not just limited to the kitchen. Your living, dining, and bedrooms are all places where we enjoy snacking, and every now and then our bowls and glasses take a tumble.

using sandpaper to repair wood floors

Our first reaction after a spill is to clean it with a dry cloth, which is the right thing to do with wood flooring, as well. If there are any remnants dried onto the wood, rubbing with a damp cloth may help remove them. Once the floor has dried, apply a light layer of wax.

Water Damage & Mold

Hardwood flooring requires a very specific method of cleaning. Unfortunately,many homeowners are either uninformed or misinformed with how to do so and end up causing some serious damage to their wood floors.