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DIY Experiment: A quick fix for scratched hardwood floors

A quick fix for scratched hardwood floors

When I saw this post on an Easy Fix for Scratched Hardwood Floors, I knew I had to try it. Our floors in our rental are very scratched up and I’ve been on a mission ever since we moved to figure out ways to improve how they look.

I bought some of the Howard Restor-A-Finish on Amazon with my Swagbucks credit and was excited to try it out this week.

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I chose a spot that was pretty bad but also in a fairly inconspicuous place. See above for the scratches before I tried Restor-a-Finish on them.

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And here is how they look after using Restor-a-Finish on them. I can’t tell that much of a difference up close, but I think it looks somewhat better from a distance.

I think this would work even better on wood with darker finish. I also would recommend starting out pouring on less of the Restor-a-Finish to make sure you’re happy with the results in a small area before you dump a bunch on a larger area. 🙂

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve scratched hardwood floors? Did you try an do-it-yourself projects this week? If so, how did they turn out for you?

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33 Comments

  • Mandi says:

    It looks shinier

  • heidi says:

    My hardwood floors are 70 years old and light colored. This year my son put some serious scratches in them while dragging his laundry bin downstairs. A metal rod was poking out of the bottom. I used a furniture marker and was very pleased with the results. And I bought a new laundry bin.

  • Amy Lee says:

    Lydia at Five4FiveMeals posted a quick and easy fix on her YouTube channel several months back. I think all you use is mayonnaise. Here’s the link: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1y1bDqmpCe0

  • JD says:

    The restorer you showed is wonderful for furniture, we have an armoire that seriously looked bad from so much sunlight. Applied the product, looks amazing.

  • lori says:

    I have a dark wood table that we have managed to damage even though it’s not that old. It’s a cherry laminate and obviously not very good quality even though it was fairly expensive (live and learn). However, I can make it look pretty good by touching up the scratched areas with a dark brown Sharpie, giving it a good once over with the product you have listed above, and topping it off with a good coating of lemon oil for furniture. Perhaps that process would help with your floor somehow.

    • Thanks so much for mentioning the process you use — what a great idea!

    • Beth says:

      Your comment is so helpful! We have a laminate table, which while it was not the best quality when we bought it, would cost a lot to replace. However, we have numerous scratches and white heat rings from hot bowls of oatmeal and it just looks awful. I’m going to give your process a try!

  • I have hardwood floors and dogs, so we get lots of scratchs. I like to use Halloway House Quick Shine. I do recommend cleaning the floors well before you apply it. Dirt gets in the scratchs easily. I clean it with water and a microfiber cloth. Use a soft toothbrush if necessary. Then add the quick shine, I do 3-4 applications.

  • Sherry Bentley says:

    I have used Howard’s R-a-F for years on all things wood. Love the stuff!

  • Courtney says:

    I have had great results with olive oil and vinegar in a 3:1 ratio. It’s worked well on hardwood floor scratches and wood furniture.

  • Christie says:

    Use walnuts. Here’s a link to a video showing you how: http://youtu.be/Z2ibqePlfCQ

  • Courtney says:

    We have oak floors throughout our house and honestly, I find them to be a huge pain. With our kids and dogs, scuffing and scratching is impossible to avoid, and having them refinished is an expensive ordeal. I’ve always loved the Swedish look of white painted floors, so we are going to try that. We’re going to start small and do our bedroom floor first. I’ve read that the maintenance is much easier with painted floors, because when they start to show wear, you just put on another coat of paint.

    • cheryl says:

      I want to cry every time I here or see someone painting wood. I love wood floors and wood furniture and I have always thought that painting them would ruin it forever.

  • Robyn says:

    We first found this product when we were preparing to sell our home. Our kitchen cabinets were 25-year-old low-end construction-grade cabinets that had not been well cared for. We were afraid our realtor would want us to do expensive upgrades in the kitchen, which were not in our budget. Instead, she told us to try Howard’s Restore-a-Finish. The difference was incredible: it looked like we’d bought new cabinets. And although I can’t solely credit it to the cabinets (we did a lot of other work to clean things up too), we were under contract within 72 hours just under asking price (higher than we had expected) back in early 2012, when nothing was selling.
    There were some fairly small things the realtor had us do that really made a difference. We sanded down and repainted rusty old A/C vents. We replaced dated sink fixtures with inexpensive but more attractive ones. We put down new, inexpensive vinyl tiles over the ugly, 70’s-style flooring in the bathrooms. We did the math on replacing the carpet, and realized that for not much extra we could replace the carpet in the public areas of the house (the most worn) with a decent wood laminate and simply have the bedroom carpets professionally cleaned (they weren’t in bad shape). We also replaced the vent hood and the backsplash (just a panel screwed to the wall) behind our stove — we got the most basic options available, but they sure looked better than the old ones. Aside from the flooring, they were relatively inexpensive changes that made huge visual impact. When we were done, I was kicking myself for not having done it all five years prior. Thought I’d share in case it inspires anyone else!

  • Lori Ewart says:

    Love Restore-a-Finish! My hubby bought a “new” dining room set at a sale. When he brought it home, I about cried. It had lots of scratches on the wood and looked really sad. After thoroughly treating the wood with R-a-F and recovering the seats, the set looks wonderful! I love the fact that you match it to the wood finish color. I am going to try some on our window sills where there was water damage to see what it does.

  • sarah says:

    I have older light oak floors (think 1960’s) and I just embrace the scratches and enjoy knowing that I don’t need to stress over every little thing that crosses the floor. I just say that our home is well lived in.

  • Myrna says:

    When I had scratched hardwood floors, I used to take wood stain that was close to a color in the wood and pur a small amount on a paper towel and use it to wipe the scratch. Often this would make the scratch less obvious. It does not help if the floors are not in good shape to begin with.

  • Kelly says:

    I scratched my hardwood floor right after we refinished it – so I was desperate to find a good fix. I used a walnut, rubbed it right onto the scratch and the mark was gone and my husband couldn’t even find it later. I’ve used this trick a few more times in the kitchen when something gets stuck on the bottom of the chair and leaves a scratch – works everytime. No chemicals, no hard application process, just rubbing a walnut on the scratch! I would them take a cloth and buff it a bit and it would be good as new!

  • JG says:

    As a former design student, I have markers in many, many shades of brown, light to dark. I was always able to touch up floor scratches without making a trip to the hardware store for a wood market. So if you have a few different colors of brown markers, try those before you buy more. Also, if you have scratched or nicked picture frames or other wood items that don’t get handled much, try using liquid shoe polish (the kind that has a foam applicator tip) for touch ups. Have a rag or paper towel handy to wipe up extra polish or for blending. Do not use shoe polish on anything that will be used for food!! (This may seem like common sense but I had to stop someone that was going to “touch up” a cast iron skillet with black shoe polish.)

  • Angel says:

    We just DIY’d our 95 year old kitchen floors that were buried under layers of gunk. This was the third set of hardwood floors that we redid. Next up is the dinning room which has a high level of scratches from uncapped chair legs and life in general. The scratches in our dinning room cover too much of the floor to try for a minor fix… it needs some TLC. If you’re not trying to change the color and it’s only scratches you’d only need to buff the floor a bit and then one coat of poly that you can roll on (like painting). The polyurethanes out there are very hard and durable and totally within a DIY project, if you can stay off the floors for 18 hours while it drys and you don’t have any company coming as it’ll smell like painting does for a day or two. If you take a couple of minutes at ACE, Lowes, or Home Depot, you’d be surprised at the wide range of products they have. We love the no-stain oil based poly. Minwax has a brand that’s only for floors and is labeled as quick drying. It gave the floors a beautiful warm tone and looks close to the color you have for the flooring.

    Best wishes on your hunt for a good fix!

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