Help! Scratched up Hardwood Floors


    Like a moron, I recently pushed a heavy box along one of my hardwood floor without a rug under it. One of the heavy duty staples on the bottom of the box made a scratch all across the floor. It’s not extremely deep, but it’s noticeable.

    The hardwood has already been sanded down quite a bit. I don’t want to replace it as it is the original floor, which we love.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to touch this up?

    22 Replies

    1. My name is Istvan. I have made wood floor installations since I was 14 years old, always working for the high end. I have worked more than 10 years for IJ Peiser Floor

      and now I have my own company. The website is if you would like to view it. I major in custom colors, such as white, grey, black, etc. and antique floors. I also specialize in hand scrapping. Ask for sample.


      Istvan Csogor


    2. rub a walnut on the scratch. This works very well on small furniture scratches for me. also it is nearly FREE.

      seriously this works

    3. Mr Homestead:

      Yes, the two are compatible. If you call me, I will talk to you about screening a little.

      My phone number is on my webpage.


    4. Another endorsement of Rejuvinate (despite their tacky “as seen on TV” website). The floors I used it on before our house was on the ’06 PLG house tour STILL look good. Home Depot carries it; Lowes doesn’t.

    5. We had horrible scratches in our last rental (NOT our fault — the poly was applied incorrectly in the first place). When we moved out, we used a product called Rejuvenate. You buy the special branded cleaner, the restoring part, and special pads made to be used with it. We got it at Bed Bath and Beyond, though I think Amazon also sells it and you might find it at Home Depot. Worked beautifully. I have no idea how long it lasts. It’s not meant to last forever. Good luck!

    6. Steve,

      any recs on an outfit in NYC that can do screening? Does it need to be matched to the original finish, i.e. oil-based or water-based poly?

    7. I suppose the results of putting poly onto a small area of floor may be acceptable – but my experience has been that it remains visible or shaded different. The chances of this being acceptable are better if this is done in a low light area and in a small room. That said, I would never tell a customer that it can be done; I do not think the results are something a professional can guarantee and expect to be paid for.


    8. Steve, it worked for me. I had my floors stained cherry and then had a bunch of scratches when I moved a couch so I sanded the scratches, applied the same color to fill in the scratches, the poly’d just the area and it came out well. Not perfect but good enough to barely see the scratches anymore.

    9. With the right chemicals and skills, even bad spots can be taken care of.

      In my LA townhouse, we had some horrible scratching, but after the handyman we hired was done, it looked brand new again.

    10. Biff, Do not sand just that area and apply poly to just that area. This does not work (you will see it) and if you are unhappy with the result, you are married to it. If you wish to apply anything to the floor, use the Butcher’s. You can work the butchers, rubbing it out to the sheen you wish. If the Butchers is not to your liking, you can always use mineral spirits to remove it.

      The proper way to repair this kind of the thing is the full screening I mention in my last reply.


    11. Ok, that scratch will go away. I mean it will still be there but will be less visible; give it time. Also, we sometimes repair floor damage with Butcher’s paste wax, but you have to be careful with the Butchers as if you get any outside the scratch, it will leave a discoloration on the floor. We generally have to work the Butchers anyway to get it to look like the surrounding finish.

      As a last resort, you can have someone screen the floors. What I mean by screening is putting an abrasive pad under a buffing machine and running it over the entire floor. The pads come in 60,80,100,120,150,180 grits. Screening will remove some but not all of the finish and it will not remove wood. If this is a deep scratch, I would start with 60 and work to 120 and then recoat the floor with polyurethane. Usually one coat suffices and I am reluctant to do two as if the poly builds too thick, it will chip. If you think you want two coats, have them apply them very thin.


    12. Biff, the scratch is probably in the polyurethane. Go get a light sand paper at home depot and a can of oil polyurethane. Take a tiny little area of the scratch, sand it a little bit until the shine is gone and wipe any debris. clean the area well and then put a little bit of poly on a paint brush and fill in the area and let it dry for a couple of days. That should eliminate the problem.

    13. Too conservative for Christopher Lowell and too traditional for David Bromstad.

      Vern Yip, maybe???

    14. “Otherwise, a nice oriental would do the trick.”

      Mrs. C told me it’s my problem, not hers.

      And with that goes any chances I had of having this posted on the front page of the blog…

    15. There are a number of liquids on the market that claim to be able to cover up these sort of problems. Best names are Minwax and Bruce, among others. I have never tried any of them. You might want to try brusing on some polyurethane over the scratch to see if that works.

      Otherwise, a nice oriental would do the trick.

    16. Now that I see your decorating tastes in that photo, I’m positive you’re gay.