Nov 182014

Have you ever moved furniture, only to cause a nasty scratch in your wooden floor? Maybe you’ve dropped a heavy object and created an unattractive dent?

Don’t despair! There are plenty of tricks and techniques to remove dents and scratches from your flooring. All you need is a bit of time and patience.

Surface scratches

Although these are only light scratches on the surface of your flooring, they can still damage the look of your room.

To remove surface scratches, clean the area with a soft cloth and specially formulated hardwood floor cleaner. Once it is clean, rinse it and allow it to dry.

When dry, apply a new layer of shellac or sealant. Make sure the room is vacated and leave it to dry overnight.

Small scratches

These are slightly more serious than surface scratches, as they damage the wood underneath the protective varnish layer.

To remove small scratches, clean the area and use a small ball of steel wool to rub in the direction of the wood grain. Keep rubbing the area until the scratch has been removed.

You can blend the edges using a technique called feathering. Make sure to buff the areas surrounding the damaged spot very lightly so as not to draw attention to the area.

Rub a wax stick over the damaged area to fill it. After fifteen minutes, buff it gently with a soft cloth.

Deeper scratches

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For slightly deeper scratches, use the same technique, but instead of steel wool use sandpaper instead.

Use mineral spirits to smooth the area and remove any dust from buffing. Once this is cleaned off, use a plastic putty knife to apply pre-mixed wood filler to the area.

Leave the filler to dry for and then gently sand with lightweight sandpaper.

Finally, make sure you seal the sanded area with a lacquer or varnish using a lamb’s wool or natural bristle brush.


Deep grooves and scratches can be caused by furniture being moved around. However, any damage can be repaired, although it does take more time to fix.

As with the deeper scratches, use a wood putty of matching colour to fill the area. You could also use an epoxy mix of universal colour and sanding dust to create a better matched colour.

If the groove is deeper than quarter of an inch, fill each quarter inch at a time, allowing the putty or mix to dry. When it is filled and dried, you will need to sand the area down with 320 grit sandpaper.

Once the area is sanded and cleaned, use a wood grain pencil to gently draw the grain lines from the damaged area to the undamaged part of your floor. Pay close attention, so that you can match the natural pattern of the wood.

Finally, use a paintbrush to apply urethane to the damaged area. Once dry, buff gently with steel wool and reseal.

Removing dents

Stiletto heels are renowned for causing dents in flooring, but they can easily be removed with a damp tea towel, sandpaper, varnish and, surprisingly, an iron!

The method works by using the iron to effectively ‘steam out the dent’. This is an effective method, but should only be attempted if you feel confident and children and pets are out of the way.

Firstly, you need to buff the dented area to remove any varnish or lacquer. Heat your iron up to its highest setting, usually the cotton setting.

Place a wet (but not dripping wet) tea towel over the area and gently iron it, one or two seconds at a time. Keep checking the area until the dents have risen out of your floor.

Once the dents have been removed, you need to let the area dry and then gently sand it again. The other areas of your wood won’t be affected as they have not had the varnish removed.

Finally, reseal the surface using varnish or your preferred sealant.


If you have moved into a property and consider the wooden floor to look tired, consider sanding the whole area. You can hire sanders from your local tool supplier. Make sure you read the manual carefully before attempting sanding.

Ensure children and pets are out of the room and you have covered furniture and taped over nooks and crannies, including under the door and around fireplaces.

Start with the sander at one edge of the room, with over half of the rest of the room in front of you. Start the sander and slowly lower it to the floor as you walk along. Once you have reached the end of your strip, gradually lift the sander up.

Afterwards, you will need to vacuum and varnish your floor.

Repairing your wooden floor can seem like a daunting process. However, with the right tools and technique, there is no reason why you can’t remove any scratches or dents yourself.

If you have a particularly deep scratch to contend with, or still have concerns about removing the scratch yourself, contact the retailer who you bought your hardwood flooring from. They will be able to suggest the best solution depending on the type of flooring you have.

Stephen MacVicar is the Director of a flooring company that stocks a huge range of beautiful wood flooring – Mojo Flooring. Stephen believes wood flooring is simply unrivalled when it comes to beauty and versatility, and  he likes to offer advice on how people can take care of their wooden floor.

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