Keep Your Wood Looking Good, a Troubleshooting Guide
Whilst regular maintenance does go a very long way to keeping wood floors looking good, there usually comes a time when you get that stubborn mark, stain or gouge which you just can’t move. If the floor in general is in good condition you could try these troubleshooting options to get rid of a singular blemish that spoils the overall look of the floor.
Small shallow scratch marks can be effectively removed by rubbing the shell of a walnut over the scratch and you don’t have to have a walnut wood floor sanding for this to be effective, either. This method, though it works, is not a long-term solution and the mark is likely to show itself again through time.
You can also rub the edge of a small coin over the scratch or even apply some wax paste before polishing up with a dry duster. If you want to use sandpaper or steel wool then this will remove the scratch permanently, but will also take the veneer off the floor so you will need to re-sand and reapply finishing if you choose this method.
Deep cut scratch marks and gouges in the planks will unfortunately have to be removed by way of refinishing. The floor will have to be stripped, sanded and a new topcoat applied.
If your floor has become dull and lacklustre through age but is relatively mark-free then it will benefit from a simple buffing. Extremely dulled floors can be brought back to sparkle by removing the finish and applying a fresh layer of urethane based product.
Many scratches and scuffs are caused by dogs; cats less so simply because our feline friends have the ability to retract their claws and usually do so while walking. But dogs are unable to do this, and their nails can leave marks on wooden floors.
In the main the hardest of the hardwoods are oak, maple, elm and cherry. The harder the wood the tougher it is and the less likely it is to be scratched. However, common sense says that even the hardest flooring will succumb to regular wear and tear eventually, but you can minimise the risk and lengthen the life of your wood by keeping your dog’s nails trimmed regularly.
Softwoods like pine, Douglas fir, birch and cedar woods generally do badly in homes where there are pets.
Not a lot of people know that…
In the UK wood flooring is generally available in depths of between 2 ½ – 7 inches (6 – 17cm approx). The thicker the planks, the more expensive the floor but on the plus side a wide plank has more authenticity and is aesthetically pleasing as more of the natural wood grain is on show. The best plus point of all is that thick wood conceals scratch marks much better than narrow planking.
Generally speaking the darker the stain the more scratches and blemishes show up. A light coloured tan or beige finish helps conceal all manner of scrapes and scratches.
The best way of hiding marks and blemishes of all kinds is by choosing a ‘distressed wood’ finish. Because this type of look comes readymade with its own natural scrapes, indentations and bevels a few more added over the years will go unnoticed and blend effortlessly with the distressed style of the floor.
Most people are aware of the health benefits of hardwood floors sanding to asthmatic and allergy sufferers, but in addition a wood floor is ideal in a home where there are pets. Fur and hair can be easily removed by regular sweeping and a bi-monthly mopping is usually enough to keep your wood looking good, ultra clean and bacteria-free.