A hardwood floor repair should be a priority for every homeowner. Ensuring that floors stay in good condition involves not only regular cleaning and maintenance, but the occasional fix when your wood floors get scratched, dented or become buckled. Here is when to take on a hardwood floor repair yourself, and when it's best to call in a specialist.
DIY Hardwood Floor Repair
Scratches often come from walking in heels or general wear and tear, and can generally be taken care of yourself. If the scratch is relatively small, you can patch the area by using smooth sandpaper to completely remove the finish in the area. Then, according to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), apply the original wax stain to fill it out. Start slowly and apply a small amount of stain. Continue adding thin layers and letting them dry until you achieve a seamless look.
Just like scratches, dents in the flooring may occur over time as residents drop heavy items on the floor or if you move furniture around without taking certain precautions. If the dent is minor and doesn't go too deeply into the wood, approach it the same way you'd fix a scratch; the dent may only go as far as one layer of finish that you can sand out. This fix, however, may require more sanding to smooth out the area.
Solutions to other problems may require additional tools, but nothing a seasoned hand can't manage.
Expert Hardwood Repair
Beyond incidents that warrant minor hardwood floor repair, you should leave more significant damage to the pros.
Buckling is one of these potential issues. If the floor was improperly installed — for example, planks that sit too close to one another — you will need help adjusting it. Wood expands when the temperature rises, according to the Wood Floor Covering Association (WFCA), and without room to do so, your floor can eventually buckle.
Repeated or significant water exposure can really damage your wood flooring. As water penetrates through the stain and accesses the wood grain, the wood swells and warps. If a small area of the room has been exposed to water, it may be possible to replace the wood in just that area. However, spot repairs can be difficult if you don't have access to identical wood flooring material.
As flooring ages, it is susceptible to cracks as well; a tiny split in the wood can gradually widen over time. A professional can fix the problem by adjoining the split wood with a nail, then hiding the nail head with wood putty and stain.
Expert floor installers have the knowledge and experience to tackle varied hardwood floor repair jobs, both local and widespread. If minor fixes aren't possible, you may choose to refinish or replace the flooring in the entire room of your home. Remember, the best way to maintain floors involves precautions that avoid accidental damage. These include laying area rugs or runners in high-traffic areas, preventing exposure to water and following proper cleaning and maintenance practices on a regular basis.
This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.