How To Fix A Scratch on Hardwood Floors

By Todd Fratzel on Flooring, Maintanence, Painting and Finishing

picture of Minwax stain markerToday’s post is an answer from a reader about how to easily repair a scratch on hardwood floors.

If you actually live in your home then theres no way to avoid scratching hardwood floors. My wife reminds me daily that we have to live in our house not sit back and admire it. So, kids, pets, parties and life in general cause us to scratch and abuse our beautiful hardwood floors.

I’ve found a very easy method for repairing (masking) those ugly scratches. This method is a temporary fix until the day when you refinish your hardwood floors. Go to the hardware store and buy a couple of Minwax Stain Markers in the two closest colors you can find. These markers have a stain and urethane mixture that you can apply to the scratch to help hide it from plain site.

First you’ll want to make sure the scratch is clean from dust and debris. Next shake the marker well to mix the stain and urethane well. Apply the stain liberally to the scratch. Now heres the important step: use a clean rag to remove any excess stain before it dries. This helps keep any stain from discoloring the adjacent wood and keep it only on the scratch. You may need to try several colors before you find one that works best for your floor. The nice thing with this approach is even if the color isn’t a perfect match, you’ll find that a colored scratch typically resembles wood grain and not a scratch anymore.

This method will hold you over until you refinish the wood floors in the future. I keep several of these pens around the house to touch up the floors and even scratches in the cabinets and on furniture! Do you have a tip for fixing scratches?

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I’m full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I’m also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I’m also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today’s Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you’d like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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8 Comments

  1. Gwest Builders Corp. says:

    Just ran across your blog. I’ve been there with the scratches on the hardwood floors.

  2. rob says:

    Sharpie markers come in three or four different browns, now. As a carpenter, I use these all the time . They’re cheaper than the stain markers, and don’t dry out so fast or leak.
    A bit of some type of clear coat over the top will make this quick-fix last longer…even just some paste wax over the sharpie will help, but they do fine on their own.

  3. Heather says:

    Is there an easy fix if you have gouged the finish in the wood, but not the wood itself? I have a deep gouge (from moving a couch), but there is no discoloration. I am wondering if there is a type of wax I can use to fill it.

    • Todd says:

      @ Heather – Not sure about a wax. However, try putting a damp cloth other the scratch, then put a hot iron on top of that. The heat and moisture can sometimes help raise the grain back up.

  4. phil c says:

    Any recommendations for fine scratches that dont penetrate the floor’s finish? Had a friend who’s son kept running his cars across the floor. You can only see it from an angle in the right light, but in the evening when the sun is coming in on an angle, it looks terrible. I was thinking about waxing, but wasn’t sure if that would work because our floors are “distressed” maple. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Todd says:

      @ Phil – We get the same issue from our kids. I still use the marker and wipe it off immediately. They I just use a wood cleaner and buff off the area. It seems to work quite well. Good luck.

  5. Sheila says:

    I had a large scratch across my wood floor. I sanded it cleaned the area a applied the finish again, but now I see a larger area where the finish looks different than the rest of the floor. How can I fix this?

    • Todd says:

      Sheila – Trying to match a touch-up on a floor is very difficult to do especially when you consider how hard it is to match stain, what UV light does to the wood over time, etc. At this point you’re going to have a hard time matching. You may have to wait until you can re-finish the entire floor.

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