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Easy ways to put the shine back into your floors

Dogs chase kids, pans drop, chairs scrape, and soon you must repair wood floors and erase scratches that make a mess of your narra,  Philippine mahogany or Brazilian cherry. A professional floor refinisher will charge an arm and a leg per square meter to apply a new coat of finish. No worries. There are inexpensive ways to remove wood scratches and repair deep gouges in a few easy steps.

Camouflage scratches

Take some artistic license to hide minor scratches in wood floors by rubbing on stain-matching crayons and Sharpie pens. Wax sticks are great scratch busters because they include stain and urethane, which protects the floor’s finish.

GOOD AS NEW. Home-made polish solutions may do the trick.

Don’t be afraid to mix a couple of colors together to get a good match. And don’t sweat if the color is a little off. Real hardwoods mix several hues and tones. So long as you cover the contrasting “white” scratches, color imperfections will match perfectly.

Homemade polish

Mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar, which work together to remove dirt, moisturize, and shine wood. Pour a little directly onto the scratch. Let the polish soak in for 24 hours, then wipe off. Repeat until the scratch disappears.

Spot-sand deep scratches

It takes time to repair wood gouges: Sand, fill, sand again, stain, and seal. Here are some tips to make the job go faster.

Sand with fine-gauge steel wool or lightweight sandpaper.

MIX AND MATCH. Don’t be afraid to mix a couple of colors together to get a good match. 

Always sand with the grain.

Use wood filler, which takes stain better than wood putty.

Use a plastic putty knife to avoid more scratches.

Seal the area with polyurethane, or whatever product was used on the floor originally.

Apply the polyurethane coat with a lambs wool applicator, which avoids air bubbles in the finish.

Fix gaps in the floor

Old floorboards can separate over time. Fill the gaps with colored wood putty. Or, if you have some leftover planks, rip a narrow band and glue it into the gap.

Topics: wood floors

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