How to Spot Repair Hardwood Floor Finish (3 Easy Methods)

how to spot repair hardwood floor finish

Hardwood floor finish is one of the best and most important decisions you will make when designing your floor for home or commercial purposes.

So, what do you do when your wood flooring seems to have sustained damages? Now you need to know how to spot repair hardwood floor finish, firstly remove wax then sandpaper the floor, re-stain and re-finish.

A finish is a liquid substance that can be either oil-based or water-based that is applied on hardwood surfaces to prevent it from damages. Damages such as scratches, spills, scuffs, water, etc.

Consequently, the finish helps to improve the durability and aesthetics of your wooden surfaces. Although finishes help prevent damages to wooden surfaces, they don’t eradicate them due to wearing out.

One of the most common and efficient ways to deal with wood damage is spot repair. It is more economical than a total replacement, and here are some ways you can spot repair your hardwood floor finish.

Related: How to Fix Dog Scratches on Hardwood Floors

How to Spot Repair Hardwood Floor Finish

There are various ways to spot repair hardwood floor finish.


Depending on the degree of scratch, there are different ways to spot treat scratches on hardwoods.

  • Use a soft rag and a hardwood cleaner to clean the scratched area
  • Rinse off with a damped rag and wipe off any excess cleaner
  • Rub a wax stick over the scratched area to fill it in, use a plastic knife to force wax down into the scratch if necessary. There are different shades of wood wax you can choose from.
  • Buff the wax to smoothen scratch area, remove excess wax and restore shine to it. Buff by using a clean soft cloth to rub back and forth over the area

Worn Spots

Pet waste, high foot traffic, impacts from fallen objects, and cracks from pressure are all causes of worn spots on hardwood.

Over time, these factors lead to dents on hardwood floors. Regardless of any hardwood quality and the type of finish used, hardwoods floors are bound to experience worn spots through the years.

To fix worn spots, you need to consider the following

  • Is there a presence of wax?
  • Is it finished with oil?
  • Is it worn through the wood?
  • What are the type of finish used?

Worn Spot Repair Steps

  • Remove wax, get a cloth and dab one side in mineral spirits.
  • Rub on the spot you are removing the wax from, turn to the other side of the cloth, dab and rub on the spot again.
  • Repeat until no color is reflected on the cloth, use another cloth if necessary.
  • Scuff the worn spot with sandpaper.
  • Use a 150-grit sandpaper for an oil coated floor with a slightly penetrated spot
  • Use a 120-grit paper on a spot that has completely penetrated into the hardwood floor
  • Motion your sand paper with the grain to create a scraped size longer than the worn spot being fixed.


  • Apply pre­­­-stain wood conditioner into the spot
  • Match the stain into the finish [this is why it is important to know the type of finish on your wood floor]
  • Thereafter, stain the area you want to fix worn out spot from
  • Match finish quality to the existing finish material
  • Use a paintbrush to apply finish into the spot to cover it
  • Sand the area to polish. Use a 15-grit sand paper


For a deep scratch or gauge,

  • Fill hole with matching color wood putty
  • Use glue mixed with sanding dust or universal colorant
  • When the spot is dry, smooth with the floor, apply thin layer of appropriate finish on it

Read: How to Fix Gouges in Hardwood Floors

How to Protect Hardwood Floors From Damage

Hardwood floor care is one of the effective ways to make it last longer. Here are some of the ways we can protect your hardwood floor finish from damage

Keep It Clean

It is necessary always to keep the floor clean to avoid dirt slowly abrading your flooring topcoat. Always clean mud off your shoes and the paws of your pet. You can also ensure a no-shoe policy in the house.

Place Area Rugs, Mats, and Runners

Although this might defeat the purpose of hardwood floorings, strategically placing rugs, mats, and runners on high foot traffic areas helps protect your floors. Entry doors that lead to the exterior are a must, kitchen and living rooms also

Quickly Dry Up Pooled Water

Quickly clean and dry up when water spills on the floor, it is possible that water can leak through the seams and floorboards, which weakens it

Avoid Cleaning With Water

Don’t wet-mop your hardwood; at the most, you can use a dry damp mop, soft-bristled broom, and dustpan or clean with a vacuum specifically designed for hardwood flooring.

Sand Your Floorings With Care

Sanding should not be a frequent option for your hardwood flooring as it can weaken floorboards.

When you notice some damage to your hardwood flooring, don’t despair. You are not out of options. Depending on the type of damage, you can fix it with these measures and have it looking brand new.

Read: How to Protect Hardwood Floors in Kitchen


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