Hardwood Flooring Repair: DIY And More

hardwood flooring repair

Hardwood flooring is durable and long-lasting. But maintaining its condition is troublesome as it requires immense care. Even a minor scratch can damage the look of the floor and affect its longevity. And such minor damages are very common. But replacing the entire hardwood flooring for a few damages is not logical. This is when repairing is required. 

While hardwood flooring repair may sound very tough, knowing the right tactics can help you out. For years, I have been working in this field and learned many DIY techniques of wood repairing. All you need is some basic tools and learn the procedures. 

Gathering all my knowledge and experience, I am here to share how hardwood flooring repair can be done. In this article, you can expect to get solutions for those scratches, and stains that have faded away from the glamour. So, let’s get started!

3 Steps To Repair Hardwood Flooring: Fix The Water Damage

Water stains, discoloration, and warping are some common issues with hardwood flooring. Especially hardwood flooring in the kitchen and bathroom should be cared for carefully as they are more exposed to water and moisture. 

Therefore, in general, people struggle the most to save the hardwood flooring from liquid spills, water, and moisture. But even if it comes in contact with excessive water, there are solutions to solve it. 

First of all, note that if the damage is deep and prominent, you may need to replace the particular plank. For example, long exposure to water can cause warping. The upper layer shrinks and the shape distorts. This is when you can’t repair and need to replace the plank. 

For example, if your dishwasher water leaks or the washing machine leaks, the water can slowly damage the wood and even get into the subfloor. When this happens, you need to remove the planks, clean and dry the subfloor, and then install new planks with hardwood flooring adhesive, tack strips, or nail guns. Using a click-lock system is even easier. 

But if you are thinking of those huge water stains, you need to work differently. Sometimes, water doesn’t go down the wood but stays on the surface leaving marks and causing discoloration. This dulls the beauty and shine of the hardwood. To solve this issue, here are 3 steps to get rid of those stains: 

Step 1: Sanding The Stained Area

Mild sanding on the stain deeply cleanses the area. Sanding removes a negligible layer from the hardwood that also cleanses the deep stains. 

 First, use a vibrating sander to gently sand the stained portion. Use 10-grit sandpaper first and then sand with 15-grit sandpaper. This sanding will remove the stain but also leave a discolored and rough area. You need to fix it in the next steps. 

If the stains are too stubborn, you need to apply oxalic acid or mild bleach on the area before sanding. Apply the acid or bleach to fade away the stains and sand it with 150-grit sandpaper. 

Step 2: Clean The Area

After you sand the floor, it will release a lot of dust and wood dirt. Before you color or stain the floor again, removing the dust is very important to get a smooth finish. 

Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the looser dirt from the area. Use a damp piece of cloth to wipe off the area properly. Now the floor is clean and ready for fixing. 

Note that you should use a mineral spirit solution for oil-based flooring stains. On the other hand, water should be applied to latex stains. 

Step 3: Stain The Flooring 

The sanding and cleaning leave a discolored rough surface. To bring back the beauty and glamour, staining the affected area is necessary. However, matching the color tone can be a challenging task. 

You can take help from an expert or test the color combinations. Try to mix colors and apply them on a separate wood strip. Hold it near the existing floor and see if it suits it or not. 

If the mixture matches the flooring color, dip a sponge in the stain mixture and apply it to the affected area. Leave it to dry for at least 24 to 48 hours. Now you can see that the water stain is gone and the area is shining like new flooring. 

3 Easy Steps To Repair Hardwood Flooring Scratches:

Hardwood flooring scratches are extremely tough to remove and clean out if you don’t know how to do it. As scratches are very much visible on hardwood flooring, you have to remove them thoroughly. Note that the scratches not only destroy the beauty but also affect the longevity of the hardwood flooring. 

To repair and clean out the flooring scratches, you have to sand and buff the flooring. Here are the steps to sand and buff the flooring: 

Step 1: Sand The Affected Area

The very step is to sand the area where you see the scratches. As scratches eat up a minor or major layer of the hardwood, you have to make the hardwood floor plain again. This is why sanding is necessary. 

For sanding, use a vibrating sander if the scratch is minor. Start with 40-grit sandpaper and then go up to 120-grit. However, if the scratch is deep and severe, start with 120-grit sandpapers and then use 150-grit sandpaper to sand the scratches out. Also, for severe scratches, you may need to borrow a drum sander. 

However, learn how to use a drum sander before you use it. Handling a drum sander can be difficult. Also, use an edge sander if the scratches are on the edges across the wall. 

Thus the sanding part removes the scratches from the hardwood surface. But that won’t be enough as it would leave a rough surface. To remove the rough surface, buffing is necessary. 

Step 2: Buffing The Affected Area 

You can either use an industrial buffer or a pole sander for buffing the floor. Buffing removes the rough portions of the flooring after sanding. Hence, choose the machine depending on the roughness of the flooring surface. 

Use a 120-grit sanding screen to buff the rough surface. Buff slowly in the direction of the wood grains so that the grains don’t get distorted. After you buff the surface, you can see a smooth and plain area free of any scratch or uneven spaces. 

Step 3: Clean And Stain

After you buff the space, clean the area with a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust. Then mop the area with a mild wood cleaner to leave a smooth surface. However, the staining would be removed due to sanding and buffing. Thus you would need to color the space once to bring back the grace of hardwood flooring. 

Make sure that the color shade matches the other areas of the hardwood flooring. Try out mixtures of colors and use a sponge for applying the stain. Stain a hardboard and check if it blends to the hardwood color or not. If it matches, wet a sponge in the stain and apply to the sanded area. Try with the colors until it blends properly. 

Caution! Don’t wax a floor that has a polyurethane coating. Use an oil-based finish if you want an extra glow. However, you may think of applying wax layers on the buffed flooring for protection and hiding the dents and gaps. 

Hardwood Flooring Dents And Gaps Repairing: 

The more severe problem than scratches is dents and gaps. Holes and dents in several spaces can happen due to impacts as well as swelling. Swelling due to water and spills can distort the shape and leave dents. To fix these dents, you need to heat the area a bit to flatten the area. You can use a heat gun for this task. 

But to fill up large holes and gaps, you would need wood filler solutions. For this, clean the area and take off the extra layers from over the dented areas. Now use a utility knife to apply the wood filler to the dents and holes. Make the surface flat and plain. Let it dry and get fixed on the gaps. 

In the end, sand the surface and leave a nice finishing. Stain the surface if necessary. 

Repairing Heavily Damaged Hardwood Floor: Cut It Out!

Sometimes, simple repairs won’t help. You would need to cut out a portion of the hardwood or replace a few planks to bring back the look of the flooring. This happens when a plank is broken or there is a huge dent in a plank. This is when there is no alternative to replacing or cutting out the damaged area. 

Cutting It Out:

If you see that any portion of the hardwood flooring is damaged but you can’t take off the planks, go for cutting out the portion.

First, mark the area you want to eliminate. Then use a utility knife to make a small scratch across the line you have drawn. Next, use an oscillating multi-tool to conveniently cut out the damaged hardwood. 

However, if you don’t have this tool, use a hammer and chisel to cut it out. Though it is time-consuming and difficult, you can do it perfectly if you go slow. 

Replacing The Wood: 

After you cut out the area, you have to fill up the gap with a new wooden plank. This task is somewhat difficult as adjusting the plank between the gaps can be troublesome. 

First, measure the length and width, and height of the area from where you have taken out the wood. According to this measurement, cut out a piece of the wooden plank that would fit into the gap. 

Now position the piece of wood into the gap and strike gently with a hammer. Next, you have to make holes for nailing. After that, nail the plank into the subfloor to fill up the gap. 

In the end, you have to stain or apply putty on it to match the tone of the newly installed plank to the color of the entire hardwood flooring. 

This is how you can replace the damaged hardwood plank and make the flooring look all new again. 

Related Questions About Hardwood Flooring Repair:

Is It Difficult To Repair Hardwood Flooring? 

It always sounds troublesome to repair hardwood flooring. As wood floors are sensitive, the task seems difficult. But in reality, repairing wooden floors is easier than repairing vinyl tile, marble, or concrete floorings. 

Minor scratches, stains, and bruises can be corrected easily by sanding and staining the flooring again. However, if you need to replace a plank, it can be difficult.

But remember that knowing the process and having the tools are the trick to repairing hardwood flooring effectively. So yes, I won’t say repairing hardwood flooring is difficult. Know the process and you can do it easily. 

How To Repair Hardwood Flooring With Gaps? 

Hardwood flooring may often show gaps and holes due to impacts, insect bites, or other issues. Even planks may get dislocated a bit and leave gaps. 

When there is a visible gap, you need to apply wood filler to it. Wood filler covers the gap and if leveled properly, it will leave a fine finish. To apply the wood filler into the gap, use a putty knife to spread it.

Spread it and level it properly so that the surface is flat. If required, paint or stain it to match the tone with the hardwood flooring color. 

How To Fix Bare Spots On Hardwood Flooring? 

To fix bare spots and bruises on hardwood flooring, you need to go through a lot of steps. The steps are mentioned below:

  • If the hardwood flooring is waxed, clean it out with spirit to leave the hardwood bare. 
  • Sand and buff the flooring to scrub off the spots and discoloration. Use sandpaper and sander of your choice to sand and buff the flooring spots. 
  • After sanding and buffing, apply a suitable stain on the floor. Finish the flooring with the finish of your choice. 

Following these steps will remove the bare spots from the hardwood flooring leaving a fine finish.

How Do You Fix A Big Hole In Your Hardwood Floor?

If you want to fix a big hole, apply wood filler into the space. Applying wood filler in the space would cover it up well.

Generally, you should apply wood filler into the hole and level it with a putty knife. After that, sand and buff the surface so that the holes become unnoticeable. If required, you can even stain the surface. However, if the damage is severe, you may need to replace the plank.

Can You Spot Repair Hardwood Floors?

You can surely spot repaired hardwood flooring if the bruise and damages are minimal. Minimal and minor damages can be fixed up using short repairing techniques. 

However, if the cuts and scratches are major, you would need to replace the wood or repair it thoroughly. But if the scratches are minor, you can use the wood filler or sand the areas to fix the minor issues. Therefore yes, you can spot repair the hardwood flooring if the damage is minor.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Your Hardwood Floors Redone?

If you think of refinishing the hardwood flooring rather than repairing it, you can think of it considering the cost of it. 

The average cost of redoing the hardwood flooring is around $1050 to $2500. Calculating that the cost is between $3 to $8 per square foot. It is the average cost to pay for refinishing hardwood flooring. The price can go up or down depending on the hardwood flooring area and the type and severity of the damage.

Final Thoughts: 

When it comes to repairing hardwood flooring, do it as soon as you can. Don’t let the situation worsen and consider repairing even the minor issue on the hardwood flooring. And now that you know the DIY techniques, I believe you can fix the issues by yourself. 

So, attempt hardwood flooring repair today and get back the aesthetic of hardwood flooring again!

Jahidul Alam

Hello dear! This is Jahidul Alam. I am the admin of this Tidy Floor. I have been in the floor cleaning business for the last 20 years. My business is all about ensuring affordable flooring cleaning services for Americans.

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