Scratched wooden floors seem like a big problem at first, but in most cases you can even DIY the solution at home without much trouble. Of course, there are several degrees of gravity that can make things a bit harder, but regardless, there’s a long way to go before you have to worry.

The thing is, 

For most minor to medium cases the solution is quite simple. Let’s walk through the steps, from minor to major scratches and how to deal with each case!

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you. – Walt Whitman

Clean the troubled spot

Clean the troubled spot
Cleaning the troubled spot helps you know what to do next. Source: Bobvila

The absolute first step should be cleaning the scratched area. This is important before performing any repairs, as it prevents scratching or hurting the spot any further, but also helps you know exactly how bad it is. Dirt and dust can visually trick you into thinking a scratch is worse than it seems.

Minor scratches

Minor scratches can easily be fixed with a homemade mixture of equal parts of cider vinegar and olive oil. Simply pour the mixture over the scratch, leave it for a day, then rub it off. For minor scratches, this should get the job done – it will struggle with medium scratches, but we’ll get to those soon.

Blending pencils

Another decent way of dealing with minor surface scratches are blending pencils, which are designed to “fill wood scratches that appear lighter than the actual color of the wood. You can pick a color that specifically matches your floor to make the process even better.

Medium scratches

medium scratches
Medium scratches are still pretty easy to deal with. Source: The Spruce

Medium scratches are still not necessarily the end of the world, as they can often be fixed by simply applying a new coat of finish to the scratched area. Usually the go-to method is 

refinishing the floor, but that’s more expensive and time-consuming than a simple coat of finish.

Alternatively, if the wood has not received a coat of finish when the scratches appeared, staining it once more should hide the scratches very well. 

Lots of minor scratches

If you’re dealing with way minor scratches, sometimes the kind caused by a pet, consider sanding the floor and refinishing it afterwards. Sanding will get rid of the scratches and the refinish makes sure your floor is better protected.

Just be sure your floor is ready for sanding – the surface of the wood needs to be more than 1mm thick, since sanding will remove at least 1mm of the surface. 

Major scratches

major scratches
Major scratches might require replacing some sections. Sorce: The Family Handyman

For bigger and deeper scratches than the average, you will have to resort to wood fillers. Use these to fill the gaps first, and only then reapply staining and finishing. If done correctly, it should take care of even bigger gouges on the wood.


Depending on the area that needs work, you might also consider replacing the damaged floorboards entirely. In that case, replace, stain and refinish after the replacement is set and your floors should be safe from scratches.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to replace the entire floor, there are ways to patch only the affected area!

Sanding helps hiding imperfections

sanding helps hiding imperfections
Sanding is great for hiding imperfections. Source: DigsDigs

For dealing with various imperfections such as minor scratches or uneven bits, sanding is your best option. It will make sure those scratches are ironed out and uneven spots become leveled again – just remember the wood surface needs to be thick enough to sustain the sanding. Contact a professional to get the best results and make sure your issue is resolved the right way! 

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