Simply polishing the surface is a good start.

By Nashia Baker
February 25, 2021
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Everything in your home, from kitchen counters to furniture, can sustain scratches. One place particularly prone to this type of wear and tear? Your hardwood floors. While you can repair this area, you should first understand your flooring type in order to learn about the different techniques required to fix both light and deep scratches. Ahead, our experts share their insight, which will help renew your floors in no time.

modern living room with hardwood floors
Credit: Klaus Vedfelt / getty images

Use polish on light scratches.

Before you attempt any repairs, Brian Levy, a Lowe's store manager in Troutman, North Carolina, says that you should give your hardwood floors a good cleaning with a microfiber mop; then, go over them with your vacuum. "Over time, debris builds up on hardwood floors and can cause small scratches that dull the surface," he explains. After this step, try using a polish, like the Bona Hardwood Floor Polish ($15.79, amazon.com), which can actually fill in tiny marks. Plus, Todd Weyhmiller—the director of product management professional and new initiatives at Bona—notes that this product type can add a protective layer to your floor while also restoring some of its shine. Win-win!

You'll need to sand away deeper marks.

When it comes to deep scratches, it's important to first understand your specific flooring type before you touch it. "Refinishing and sanding solid three-quarter-inch hardwood is a DIY project that most homeowners can take on—but refinishing engineered wood should likely be left to a professional," Levy explains. If you can, in fact, touch up your floors on your own, he says to clear your room of furniture, including curtains, pictures, doors, shoe molding, and anything else in the area. You should also wear safety gear (goggles and ear protection, too!) during the sanding process; then, cover air vents, light bulbs, windows, and doorways with plastic.

After these essential steps, you can get to work: "Use a random-orbit sander, like the Metabo HPT Finishing Sander ($54.98, lowes.com), for flat floors, loading the machine with 40-grit sandpaper," continues Levy. "As soon as you start it up, immediately begin moving to keep the sander from sitting in one spot and further damaging your floor." He adds that you should edge your surface with a power-hand sander. We suggest the TACKLIFE Electric Sander ($39.97, amazon.com). Levy notes that you will need to go through this process two more times (next, with 60-grit sandpaper and, lastly, with 100-grit sandpaper) before you're through. "Afterwards, use a damp mop on the floor to pick up any remaining particles, then thoroughly clean windowsills and walls," he says.

When it doubt, call a professional.

If you are having trouble with any part of this process, Weyhmiller recommends consulting an expert. "Hardwood floor refinishing (staining, sanding, and finishing) is truly a craft and, when done incorrectly, can cost thousands of dollars to repair," he shares. "That said, a regular cleaning routine can go a long way to extending the life of a floor." Always use cleaning products specifically designed to treat hardwood, like the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner ($7.97, amazon.com), he adds.

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