Hardwood floors can add beauty and value to your house, but as time passes your beautiful hardwood floor can also get scratches. This is something that happens when you do not take good care of your hardwood floor. But if you take good care of your hardwood floor, and protect it from the causes of scratches, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful features and texture of your hardwood floor without scratches.
Hardwood floors are made with quality hardwood that is not easily scratched; they are made in a way that they can resist the scratches, but this resistance is limited because they are not stone. So, if anyone has told you that your hardwood floor is resistant to scratches and will not get scratched over time, he/she lied to you. Your floor has some resistance but that never meant that your floor will never get scratched.
Before talking about preventing or protecting your hardwood floors from scratches, let us learn what are the causes of these scratches on hardwood floors.
Why DO Hardwood floors get scratches?
There are several causes of the scratches on the hardwood floor surface. One of the major reasons behind this is the depletion of the protective layer of the hardwood floor over time. Hardwood floors are protected from scratches with the help of a polyurethane layer. This polyurethane layer is not permanent meaning that it depletes over time and this exposes the surface of hardwood of the floor.
Once the upper layer of the hardwood floor is exposed it has no protection or resistance against scratches. This is when most of the permanent scratches on the hardwood floors happen. You can protect your hardwood floors from these scratches if you recoat your entire hardwood floor over time with polyurethane.
Apart from this, Hardwood floors also get scratched when something heavy is rolled, slid, or dragged on the floor. The dragged movement of the heavy objects puts a lot of pressure on the surface of the hardwood and it permanently damages and ruptures the surface of the hardwood floors, that is why you should not move any heavy objects on the hardwood floors by dragging or sliding.
The third reason behind the scratches on the hardwood floors is the sharp-edged objects. Things that have pointy edges, such as heels, spike shoes, scissors, knives, furniture legs can also damage the surface of the hardwood floor and can cause scratches. That is why you should keep all the pointy and sharp-edged things away from the floor and use special pads under the furniture.
Hardwood floors mostly get scratched because of negligence or carelessness, if you have a hardwood floor in your house, you should try not to scratch it and take measures to prevent the scratches on your hardwood flooring. Below are some of the preventive measures that you can take to protect your hardwood flooring from getting scratched.
Tips to protect your floor from scratches
Here are some of the tips to protect your hardwood floor from getting scratched:
- Take off your shoes: This is a measure that you should take daily, and you should also teach and encourage other people in your house to do so. Taking off your shoes before walking on the hardwood floors can help you prevent a lot of marks and scratches.
The sole of your shoes is mostly made with hard materials and these materials can damage the surface of the floor. Also, the sole of the shoes has some patterns under it that help create a better grip, but this enhanced grip on hardwood floors can damage the upper layer of hardwood and put permanent marks or scratches on the surface of the hardwood floors.
You can prevent this by taking off your shoes all the time when you walk on a hardwood floor. This will not only prevent the hardwood floors from scratching but will also allow you to feel the touch of the smooth texture of the hardwood floor under your feet.
- Use area rug pads: Area rugs are one of the most important tools that you can use to protect your hardwood floors. These rugs are soft and mostly made with fabrics. They act as a protective layer over your hardwood floors. If you have a place that is more visited on your floor, you should place these area rugs in that place to protect it and prevent scratches on that place.
Apart from this, you can also place these area rugs under your tables, and other furniture items to protect your hardwood floor from getting scratches due to the slight movements of the chairs, tables, and other furniture over the hardwood floors. The area rugs come in all shapes and sizes and you can place them anywhere on your floor and they will provide protection to your hardwood floors from scratches.
The choice of area rugs can cost you some money, but it will also help you prevent spending a lot of money on the repairs, or retaining, or repolishing your hardwood floors to get rid of scratches.
- Add entry mats at doorstep: When someone enters your house, there is a chance that his/her shoes contain some dirt, and this dirt will get transferred to your hardwood floor. You can not only prevent this dust from coming inside but can also encourage everyone to take off their shoes if you have installed entry mats at your doorsteps.
These entry mats will not only protect your hardwood floor from dust but also scratches as well. For example, if you do not have an entry mat at your doorstep, anyone who enters will bring in the dust, so you will have to work on cleaning the dust, and they will walk on your floors with their shoes on. This will put serious marks, so your entry mats at doorsteps are indirectly protecting your hardwood flooring from getting scratches.
Entry mats are also a low-cost solution for you to help you avoid the scratches on your hardwood floor if compared to the refinishing and other costs that can cost you a lot more.
- Add pads under the moving furniture: Hardwood floors mostly get scratched because of the movements of different types of furniture. You should consider putting some protective pads that are specifically designed to prevent scratches under your furniture. Chairs, tables, centerpieces, and other heavy items that can be moved on the hardwood floors, must have these protective pads under them.
These pads are dedicated to different kinds of furniture such as legs of chairs, and tables, and other items. You can put these pads under this furniture, this will protect your hardwood floor even if the furniture is moved from its place. These pads are very small in comparison to area rugs and they also cost only a fraction of those as well, but they provide strong support and protection to your hardwood flooring.
- Do not use the trolley and roller chairs: movement of trolley and roller chairs can damage the upper layer of your hardwood floors. The tires of trolley and skates or roller chairs can cause permanent scratches on the surface of your hardwood floors.
That is why I would advise you against using the trollies and roller chairs and skates on your hardwood floors. You should choose something that is not movable so that your hardwood floor will not get scratched by the movement.
- Protect from heels and shoe marks: If you are wearing heels or other pointy shoes, they carry all your weight on one small pointy and sharp edge. This much weight on a small place can pierce through the protective layer of your hardwood flooring.
It can destroy the look of your hardwood floor with permanent scars and scratches all over the floor. That is why you should not walk-in shoes or heels on your hardwood flooring. This little care can help you avoid costing a large sum on the refinishing and masking the scratches on your hardwood floorings.
- Do not slide, drag anything on the floor: This is a mistake that many people make, they try to slide or drag things on the hardwood floors to move them from one place to another place. Hardwood floors are strong enough to hold and carry a large amount of weight. But the upper layer of the hardwood that is exposed mostly gets damaged due to the impact of sliding or dragging of heavy objects over the surface.
That is why you should not drag or slide any heavy objects on your floor. If you want to move something from one place to another place on your hardwood floor, you should use area rugs. Place the area rugs under the objects that you want to move and shift from one place to another. But if the object is too heavy to slide, rollover, do not drag but instead, try to get help and pick it up and transport it to the other place.
This little care while moving heavy objects from one place to another on your hardwood floors can help you protect your hardwood floors from getting scratches or permanent scars and can also help you save a lot of money as well.
- Keep the floor, house, and surroundings clean: Yes, keeping the house, floor and surrounding are clean will indirectly help you protect your hardwood floor from scratches. If you keep the surrounding of your house clean that will mean less dirt will enter the house, and your house and floor will remain clean as well. Clean hardwood floors tend to last longer and prevent scratches better than unclean or dirty hardwood floors. That is why you should keep your hardwood floor and your house and the surroundings clean.
- Vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors: Most people do not know this but yes, there are vacuums and other machines that are specifically designed for the cleaning of hardwood floors. People who try to use the normal floor vacuum cleaners on their hardwood floors get a great disappointment because these vacuum cleaners tend to leave permanent scars on the surface of the hardwood floors.
You should buy a vacuum cleaner that is dedicated to the cleaning of hardwood floors. These dedicated hardwood floor vacuum cleaners come with a different type of tires that does not damage the upper layer of hardwood floors and this is how it prevents scratches and provides protection to the floor as well.
- Limit traffic on the floor: If you want your hardwood floors to last longer and do not get scratches, limiting the traffic on the hardwood floor is very important. The less traffic on the hardwood floor means that fewer people will walk on that floor, this significantly improves the life of hardwood floors and protects them from damages.
Limiting the traffic also means that you should limit the movement of people and other heavy objects that can damage the upper layer of the hardwood floors such as pets and other things.
To make it easy for you to understand, let us take the example of two floors, one that is under the impact of heavy traffic, and the other that has limited traffic, the one with more traffic is more likely to get scratches and get damaged easily, but the one with the limited traffic will last longer and will also have fewer scars.
- Avoid Water spills and cleaning with water: Water is harmful to hardwood floors, you should avoid water spills and cleaning the floor with water, and if any water spill happens, you should carefully and quickly remove the water from your hardwood floors. This is important because the hardwood floor’s upper layer is very delicate, and it can get damaged easily because it can react with the water.
Water will slowly erode the upper protective layer of polyurethane that protects hardwood floors from scratches and will expose the core hardwood floor. This exposure of hardwood of the hardwood floors means that you will not only scratch the surface but also to the hardwood itself.
These types of scratches are very hard to get rid of, and the only thing that you can do to prevent the erosion of the polyurethane layer of your hardwood is by protecting it from the water as much as possible.
- Protect your hardwood floor from your pets: Pets can also damage the upper layer of your hardwood floors and can cause scratches. This mostly happens because of the sharp nails of the pets. So, if you have pets in your house, there is a chance of your hardwood floors getting scratched when your pets walk on them. Apart from this, pets also tend to lick the floor, or sometimes they try to use their teeth to scratch the hardwood floors.
You should take preventive measures to control this situation and protect your hardwood floor from getting scratched. The first thing to do is to cut the nails of your pets regularly so when they walk on the hardwood floors, it does not cause any scratches. The second thing you can do to protect your hardwood floor from your pets is by putting some rugs or in the area where your pets sleep or like to sit. By doing this, you can limit the impact of your pet on your hardwood floor and protect it from scratches.
- Avoid over-sanding your floor: Most of the scratches on your floor come from the over sanding of your hardwood floors during the installation process. Most of the people do not know proper ways to sand the floorings and when they try to do it by themselves, they end up over sanding their hardwood floors.
This over-sanding of hardwood floors creates permanent scars and scratches on the surface of your hardwood floor. That is why you should hire a professional to help you out in this type of situation. This can increase the cost of flooring but can help you save a lot of money that you would have to spend on masking the signs of over-sanding scratches.
Also, if you want to do it by yourself, you should at least learn about the proper ways to sand the floor and finish it so that you do not damage the hardwood planks and scratch them during the sanding and finishing.
Tips to Fix Scratches on Hardwood floors
We have already discussed how to prevent scratches on hardwood floors, but what if your hardwood floor gets scratched? How do you fix scratches on your hardwood floors? Below is a list of a few tips that can help you fix the already present scars and scratches on your hardwood floors.
- Examine the scratch: If you have a floor that has already been scratched, you should examine the scratch first before moving towards any solution. You should check the impact of scratch on the hardwood floor and look if you need a filler to fill the scratch or damaged place.
Examining the scratch on the hardwood floor will only take a second but once you have seen it you will be able to better decide what you should do with it. Below are a few possible solutions that can help you fix these scratches on your hardwood floors, you can choose any of them based on your requirements and based on the examination of the scratch on the hardwood floor.
- Use wood stain markers: If the size and impact of the scratch are small, you can use just hardwood stain markers to hide this scratch from the hardwood floor. You will need the wood stain marker that matches the color of your hardwood flooring and simply apply it to the damaged planks or the scratched part.
This will fill the small-sized gap of scratch and will eliminate the scratch. Allow it to dry out completely and do not walk on the plank that is just stained. So, that you do not further damage the coloring of the hardwood floor planks. Once the wood stain is completely dry, you can see if it needs further filling or not.
- Get an extra coat of polyurethane: If the hardwood floor scratch is deep and cannot be filled with just the hardwood stain, you can get an extra coat of polyurethane on it. You can also get an extra coat of polyurethane on all over your hardwood floor if you want to enhance the protective layer of your hardwood floor.
The extra layer of polyurethane will not only fix and hide the small and medium scratches on the floor but will also strengthen the scratch-resistant ability of your hardwood floor as well. This will provide you hardwood floor more protection and will also fix scratches of small to medium sizes as well.
- Sand-out the scratches from hardwood: If the hardwood floor of your house has a lot of scratches and it feels like you cannot fix it with any of the above options, you have the option to sand-out the scratched hardwood floor planks.
You need sandpaper and you will have to work on sanding out the scratch from the hardwood floor, but this will provide you an even better looking and scratch-less hardwood floor than ever before.
- Fill in the deeper scratches: If the scratches in the hardwood floor are deeper, they cannot be fixed with any of the above methods. This is because the deeper scratches need filling. Filling of hardwood scratches is done with different materials.
You need to put these items in the scratch and use something to get a level between the filling and the hardwood floor. Allow the filler to dry out and then you can restrain that part of the wood to make it look new.
Yes, hardwood floors may get scratched but it is also possible to prevent these scratches and to repair them even if they have happened. You can easily prevent scratches from happening by following the care guidelines that I have listed above and if your floor has already been scratched you can follow the fixing-related guidelines and easily fix these scratches on your hardwood floor. So, if you take precautions and treat your floor properly you will not have to worry about the scratches anymore.