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Scratches on Engineered Hardwood Floors (How to Avoid and Fix)

Like any piece of furniture at home, engineered hardwood floors aren’t immune to wear and tear—even though they’re designed to be more resistant to scratches. Scratches can take away the pristine look of your floor that you fell in love with on the first day. So, the question is how to avoid scratches on engineered wood flooring and how to fix them.

You can usually fix scratches on engineered hardwood floors using floor repair wax, fine steel wool, or wood filler. However, sand scrubbing is not a viable solution. To avoid scratches on engineered hardwood floors, cover the bottom of your furniture with pads and place rugs on high-traffic areas.

In the rest of this article, you’ll learn about the basics of engineered hardwood and how it’s different from other types of wood used in flooring. You’ll also discover how to avoid scratches, and we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to remove scratches.

Common Mistakes in Cleaning Engineered Hardwood Floors

Keeping engineered hardwood floors in good shape starts with adequate cleaning.

Improper vacuuming is one of the most common mistakes in cleaning engineered hardwood floors. Make sure you use the hard floor setting on the vacuum cleaner, so it doesn’t scratch the finish.

To clean stuck-on stains, don’t use abrasive cleaning tools like steel wool scrubbers or brushes with wire bristles. Microfiber scrubbers and mops are the best option for this kind of floor. 

Avoid excessive moisture when cleaning the floor. This means using as little water as possible while mopping the floor and avoiding steam cleaning. Steam penetrates wood easily and can make it bulge.

Also, some homeowners might go overboard and use harsh cleaning products such as bleach. Before choosing a floor cleaner, make sure it doesn’t contain chemicals that might ruin your floor.

How to Avoid Scratches on Engineered Hardwood Floors

The upper finish of engineered wood flooring is hardwood, which makes it resistant to scratches. But, since this upper layer is thin, you can’t use sanding techniques to remove scratches. 

So, it’s better to prevent scratches as much as possible to avoid future problems.

Here’s how you can keep your engineered hardwood free of scratches.

Clean the Surfaces Regularly

Since gritty substances can damage the finish, you should make sure your floor is always dirt-free. Ideally, sweeping is better than vacuuming since the brush head can damage the surface. 

If you sweep the floor regularly, dirt and debris won’t build up, and you won’t need to vacuum. A broom with soft bristles is the best option for cleaning engineered hardwood. But if you choose to vacuum, make sure the vacuum cleaner is lightweight, so that it doesn’t leave scratches all over the floor.

Mopping is also a good idea, but be careful not to use too much water since it can penetrate the surface and make the floor warp.

Apply Extra Layers of Coating 

Some engineered hardwood floors come with additional layers of topcoat. But to ensure maximum protection, you can apply extra DIY protective coats. There’s a wide variety of options available, from traditional wax to different types of polyurethane. 

Although wax is a popular solution, it needs refinishing more often. Moisture-cured urethane is among the toughest topcoats on the market, but it’s not DIY since the installation process involves high amounts of dangerous fumes.  

Another option is polyurethane, which comes in oil-based and water-based variations. While both of them are easy to apply, strong, and affordable, the oil-based type is more effective. 

Cover High-traffic Surfaces

Walking on the floor, especially with shoes, makes it more prone to scratches. Rugs are perfect options to shield the floors. Put rugs or mats, especially in the entrance areas and high traffic places. They can also be an ideal addition to highlight the beauty of your floor.

Use Pet Rugs

Pets can also scratch engineered hardwood floors with their claws. The first solution is to keep their claws short. So regularly trim or file your pet’s nails even if it requires going to the groomer more often.

It’s also a good idea to cover the areas where your pet walks more frequently. This is also good for your pets because they can walk easier on rugs than on the wooden surfaces.

How to Fix Scratches on Engineered Hardwood Floors

No matter how well you take care of your floor, you will inevitably see some scratches sooner or later. Don’t worry because there are ways to fix scratches on engineered hardwood floors.

Here’s how you can make these scratches disappear.

Use Floor Repair Wax

There are wax-based repair kits that are made explicitly for engineered hardwood floors. These kits usually contain many shades of wax. So, you can pick the shade that matches your floor. And even if you don’t find an exact match, you can mix different shades from the kit to create the ideal color. 

These kits usually come with all the extra tools you need for the job, including a WaxWedge that helps you remove excess wax and a buffing pad that lets you create a bright finish. The Laserjamb FastCap Softwax Kit and the Enertwist Floor Repair Kit are excellent choices if you intend to deal with the scratches on your own. 

Whether you buy a kit or just a tube of wax, here’s what you need to do to fix the scratches:  

  1. First, clear the area of any furniture that might block your view. Then clean the floor carefully so that the scratches are dust-free.
  2. Apply rubbing alcohol to the scratched area using a cloth or a cotton swab to make sure every speck of dust is gone.
  3. Now, it’s time to reach for the wax and find a shade that matches the color of the floor. If you can’t find the exact color, mix different shades to get your desired color.
  4. Take a small amount of wax using a putty knife and put it into the scratch. Gently rub it on the scratch until the wax covers the whole area and fills it. Remove any extra wax by moving the flat end of the knife along the scratch. There should be just enough wax inside the scratch, not too much, not too little.
  5. Now it’s time to clean up your work and remove the extra wax. Using a cotton cloth, very gently buff the area. If you don’t do it gently, you might remove the wax in the scratches, and you have to start all over.

Use Floor Polish Liquid 

If your floor isn’t in bad shape, a sweep of floor polish liquid could be all you need to get your glossy floor back and cover the scratches. Multi-purpose, mop-on liquids such as the Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer also fill in scratches. This specific product is non-toxic and long-lasting, making it ideal for residential use. 

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Fine Steel Wool

For scratches that are not very deep, you can use fine steel wool to make them less pronounced. Again you need to be gentle and rub the steel wool along the grains of the wood so that you don’t create extra scratches.

Wood Filler

The color of the wood filler should also match that of the floor. Mix it according to the instructions and apply it on the scratch using a putty knife. Wait for the wood filler to dry and then wipe off the excess material with a damp cloth.

After using any of the above methods, you should seal the area to refinish it. Apply varnish or polyurethane with a brush with natural bristles or a lambswool applicator to avoid air bubbles.

Final Thoughts

Engineered hardwood floors have a very long lifespan. However, despite their impressive durability, scratches are inevitable. Using these simple steps, you can make sure your engineered hardwood floor remains as good as new throughout the years.

To avoid scratches:

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 5, 2020.

  • Keep your floor clean. 
  • Apply extra layers of coating..
  • Cover high-traffic areas with a rug.
  • Use pet rugs.

To fix scratches, use:

  • Floor repair wax.
  • Use floor polish liquid. 
  • Fine steel wool.
  • Wood filler.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 5, 2020.

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