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Inspecting hardwood floor for potential repairs

Repairing your hardwood floors after experiencing damage can be difficult if you take on the task yourself.  According to the NWFA (National Wood Floor Association) all floor inspections are done from a stand under normal light conditions.  Since the human eye can detect much more error from a close up point of view, it has been determined that "All" inspections are done from a stand.  Normal light conditions include sunlight or normal household lighting.  On the other hand, abnormal light would include spot lights, recessed lights or any type of light that is so bright that it would magnify any potential error in the floor.  With that being said, let's imagine an inspection has been made from a stand and under normal light conditions.  If errors apparent, than something needs to be done to correct the issue.    

How to repair scratches on your hardwood floorsscratched hardwood floor national floors 400x250

The #1 issue people have with their hardwood floors is scratches!  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a scratch proof floor, so everyone gets a turn.  Scratches in your hardwood floors can happen for dozens of reasons.  Fixing them is another story.  Before any hardwood floor scratch repair can be attempted, you need to identify the type of hardwood floor that you have.  I am not referring to the species of hardwood, like oak, maple, pine, etc.  I am referring to the "Type of hardwood".  This would include, pre-finished engineered hardwood floor, prefinished solid hardwood floor and lastly, hardwood floors that were finished on site.  

Prefinished engineered hardwood and prefinished solid hardwood floor is a type of floor that once purchased and installed, can immediately be walked on.  This prefinished hardwood floor has a top coating that was applied and cured at the wood mill.  This very durable hard coating is called "Aluminum oxide".  The appearance of a prefinished board can be flawless out of the box and that just makes everything that much more difficult when attempting to repair a scratch.  It is impossibel to replicate the process that happens at the mill.    

A very light scratch will usually be white in color.  This is when the aluminum oxide top coating, not the wood itself, has been scratched.  If you run your finger nail across it, you may feel little if any real damage to the hardwood floors.  Repairing superficial white scratches can be done by applying a very light 3 in 1 oil to the scratches.  Apply a few drops on the scratch and let dwell for a few minutes.  Simply wipe off and your done.  What this will do is recolor the finish and hopefully get you back to a better place.     

Another option for repairing scratches in your hardwood floors is a touch up color stick.  These touch up color sticks are found at any hardware store next to the wood stains.  Simply pick a color that matches your hardwood color, apply/wipe on and remove the excess.  That's it.             

How to repair gouges in the hardwood floor | Wood floor restoration | resurfacinggouged hardwood floors national floors 397x269

"Gouges" in your hardwood floor are much different than "Scratches" in your hardwood floor.  Gouges are extremely unattractive due to the severe damage that has penetrated both the protective coating (aluminum oxide or polyurethane) and the wood itself.  As you can imagine, the bigger and deeper the gouge, the more likely you will need a hardwood floor contractor to correct the issue. 

Unfortunately, there are only 2 options available for professional results.  Option 1 is board replacement.  If the gouge is isolated to 1 or 2 boards and you have extra floor, you can hire a skilled handyman to swap out the boards.  This can only happen if the floor is prefinished.  If the floor had been finished on site, then this is not an option. 

On the other hand, if the gouge runs across many boards, the only option you have would be to sand and finish the entire room.  It may sound excessive, but performing board replacement across the entire floor is not cost effective.  Wood floor resurfacing is the only way to get professional results.        

How to repair Pet stains on your hardwood floorspet stains hardwood floors national floors 541x239

Pet stains can be rated up there as the worst hardwood floor damage in my opinion.  A lot of times, the pet stain not only changed the hardwood floor appearance for the worst, it almost always has a terrible smell that accompanies it.  As far as the stain is concerned, here is the rule we have been found to be true:  The darker the stain, the more the likely the urine has penetrated deep into the floor.  In other words, if the stain is light, than it is possible that sanding the floor will correct the issue.  If the stain is very dark/black, then you will have essentially 2 options for repairing pet stains:  Option 1 is board replacement.  Option 2 is to sand the floor and stain the floor dark to camoflauge the stains.     

How to "Spot refinishing" your hardwood floors

At this point, we need to revisit the type of hardwood floor you have.  Do you have "Prefinished" hardwood flooring or "Unfinished/finished on site" hardwood flooring? 

If you have prefinished hardwood floor, then you are going to run into major issues if you attempt to touch up a spot.  The major potential problem lies in the preparation.  Only a hardwood floor professional is going to know how to properly prepare a prefinished hardwood floor to accept a top coat.  If you remember, prefinished hardwood floor comes with a top coat called aluminum oxide.  This is not a product that can be purchased over the counter.  What is sold over the counter is polyurethane.  An improperly prepared board will no doubt delaminate.  Delaminating is basically a peeling process that happens in time because the top coat did not marry to the existing coat.  This delaminating process may happen quickly or literally take a few months to happen.  Once the delamination happens, there is no other way to repair this except for sanding the entire floor. 

On the other hand, if the hardwood floor was finished on site, then the top coat is most likely polyurethane.  There are other products out there, but polyurethane is the norm.  If you know this to be the case, than you can attempt the repair yourself.  I will tell you this, a hardwood floor contractor would not attempt to spot refinish/repair the hardwood floor.  This is due to substandard predictable results that a contractor should not expect to get paid for.  If you plan on moving forward, you will have to first determine if the finish is water or oil based.  Then you will have to determine the sheen. 

If you want to proceed, here is "General" instructions on how to spot coat the floor.  The directions on the can will give the best advice you can get, so make sure you read the can. A light sanding with fine paper, 240 grit or higher is needed.  You are not trying to take off the top coat, just abrade it.  Sand the entire board(s) for uniformity.  This will mechanically abrade the floor for better adhesion.  Clean up well with a vacuum and wipe with a clean cloth with a splash of mineral spirits.  A light coat is what you need.  Make sure to spread the finish lengthwise in the direction of the board, making sure to feather the ends.  Follow the directions on the can and let dry.  If you need to add additional coats, make sure you lightly abrade between coats and repeat the clean up procedure prior to additional coats.           

How to repair grey and worn out hardwood floorsgray worn hardwood floors 448x253

The honest truth about grey or gray hardwood floors is that they are simply worn.  Some people think that once their hardwood floors turn grey, they need to be replaced.  Fortunately, that is the furthest thing from the truth.  The fact is, the protective coating has worn away and since there is no protective coating, the color changes.  The remedy for gray hardwood floors is to sand and finish them.  Sanding them will remove the discoloration and restore them to a like new condition.  Don't worry, National Floors restores hardwood floors all the time.     

How to repair squeaky hardwood floors boards

Something to know about hardwood floors, it's not a matter of "If" your hardwood floors squeak, it's a matter of when.  In time, all hardwood floors squeak.  Hardwood floors can be looked at as a living thing.  As the seasons come and go, the floors will expand and contract.  Eventually, a very tightly installed floor can start to loosen and squeak, especially in a high traffic area like a hall or in front of the refrigerator.  Very few solutions are available:  You can apply baby powder to the floor in hopes it will create less friction.  The other option is to refasten the floor or subfloor.