Can the Finish on Hardwood Floors Be Repaired?

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    Types of Hardwood Flooring and Finishes

    • Hardwood floors are not always constructed exclusively from wood. Laminate flooring has a fiberboard core with several layers applied with a final finish that is designed to look like wood. Actual hardwood floors have a variety of finishes -- common finishes include urethane, penetrating sealers and Swedish conversion-varnish sealers. Finishes such as shellac, vinyl-alkyd varnish and lacquer have fallen out of favor since the introduction of urethane-based finishes. However, classic paste wax is still favored by traditionalists. Paste wax is inexpensive and easy to apply, and a well-maintained paste wax finish will last for years.

    Simple Disguise

    • For small, surface scratches, repair may be as simple as applying a crayon in a matching color to the scratch. A stain marker contains both urethane and stain that provides protection for your floor along with the camouflage. Another solution is to apply a finish sheen to the damaged area with a cotton swab. Match several colors together to get a better match, and don't worry about slight variations. Hardwood also displays variation in its grain, so "imperfections" will probably blend in invisibly. The important factor is to completely cover any "white" scratches with color, according to HouseLogic.

    Spot and Sand Repair

    • Larger damaged areas of a site-finished hardwood floor may require a spot and sand repair. The ideal is to use matching finish that you have kept on reserve from the original installation, otherwise matching the repaired area with the rest of the floor will be difficult. Mark off the damaged area and remove the scratches by applying sandpaper by hand. Reapply matching finish and sealer and allow the floor to dry. Screen the repaired area by hand with a fine grit sandpaper, tack and apply finish coats, then remove the marking tap. This method will not work with an engineered floor, according to Hardwood Installer.

    Patch and Replace Repair

    • If a sand and spot repair is impractical, the only solution is to remove the damaged area of your site-finished hardwood or laminate floor and replace it with new planks. Ideally, you will have matching material from your original floor on hand, otherwise, the only solution may be to replace the entire floor. Matching the repaired area involves making cuts that will allow the replacement planks to blend in with the rest of the floor. If you can use existing joints in the wood during the repair process, you can save yourself a lot of work, according to Joseph "The Doc" Turney in Wood Floor Doctor.

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