*Common Wood Floor Problems and Solutions

May 23, 2011
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Despite its durability, hardwood floors are still prone to problems requiring maintenance and care.  To ensure your hardwood floors last long enough for the next generation, proper care should be taken in cleaning and keeping it free from damage.  Nevertheless, should problems arise, remedies can still be taken to fix the problem and save your hardwood floor.

1)  Scratches & Dents – For shallow scratches not going beyond the finish, use a medium course steel wool dipped in paint thinner/deglosser and rub on the scratched area, moving your steel wool across the grain of the wood to avoid further damage.  Once the finish has been removed, smooth the area with a fine steel wool.  For deeper scratches or dents, as soon as you removed the finish, use a 100 grit sandpaper to smooth the area.  Then, use an old brush and fill the deep scratch lightly with wood filler.  Remove excess wood filler with a squeegee or wood to level the area.  Let the wood filler dry and sand the area again flush with the floor.  Clean the area with rag and thinner.

After the scratch has been taken cared of, refinish the repaired area with polyurethane and let dry overnight.  If the area appears shinier than the rest of the floor, sand lightly with a fine steel wool until it comes out even with the rest of the area.

2)  Stains -  Wood stains on your floor are usually due to spills from drinks or watering plants.  Unlike scratches, removing hardwood stains are much more complicated and it should be left to the professionals.  The first step is to sand the area with a vibrating sander with 100 grit sandpaper.  Sand again with a 150 grit sandpaper.  Then vacuum the area to remove debris.  For oil-based finish, wipe the area with mineral spirits or water for latex finish.

Apply bleach for dark stains, then sand again with a 150 grit sandpaper.  Mix up coating matching the floor color.  If you don’t have the exact finished used for the rest of the floor, it is necessary to test your mix on a similar wood from an inconspicuous area of the floor or cabinets, etc.  Coat the sanded area with the finish and let dry.

3)  Damaged Wood Floor -  Hardwood floors no longer able to be repaired by sanding and finishing will need to be replaced.  Once you have the exact wood as replacement, the damaged floor will need to be cut.  Attach the new floor to the subfloor by glue or nails.  Use a wood filler for the spaces and let dry.  Then sand the area before applying a matching coat on the replacement.

All these work can be done on your own.  However, the more complicated repairs will have better results if done by professionals.


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