Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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How to Repair a Scratch or Gouge in a Hardwood Floor


How do I go about repairing a scratch in my hardwood floor? -Jennifer

Touch up kits are available for repairing minor damage to wood floors. If the scratch or gouge is deep and runs across the grain, you probably won’t be able to make it disappear completely, but you should be able to fix it so it’s hard to notice.

If you have a leftover scrap of finished flooring, practice on it before trying the repair on your floor. Here’s how to go about repairing your floor:

  • Scrape: To repair a minor scrape on the surface of the finish, try applying paste wax to the spot. Once the wax has dried, use a clean soft cloth to wipe off any excess and bring back the shine.
  • Scratch: For a shallow scratch, use a furniture touch up pen that matches the color of the wood. A brown marker or shoe polish will also work if you can find the right shade to match. Wipe off any excess before it dries.
  • Gouge: For a deeper scratch or small gouge, rub a matching colored wax filler stick or brown crayon on the spot until the nick is filled. Rub the spot with a soft cloth to remove any excess wax.
  • Deep Gouge: For a deep gouge, fill the hole with matching colored wood putty. You can also use epoxy glue mixed with sanding dust and/or universal colorant. When dry, lightly sand the spot flush and smooth with the floor then apply a thin coat of a compatible finish to the spot.

Good luck with your project,


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4 Comments on “How to Repair a Scratch or Gouge in a Hardwood Floor”

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  1. Kelly Says:
    December 9th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I just installed bamboo tongue and groove hardwood flooring in my familyroom/kitchen. I have a few spots where the adhesive had gotten on the floor itself. (My dog walked through it). The reccommendation on the product is not working. Can you please tell me what I can use that will remove excess adhesive, and Not ruin my floor? They look Beautiful, love the hardwood floor look.

  2. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 11th, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Hi Kelly,
    Depending on the type of adhesive, you would need to use the solvent recommended for thinning or clean-up. Call the company that made it, or go to their website, to find out more. Test the solvent on a scrap of finished flooring first to be sure it doesn’t dissolve the finish as well. You could also try scraping it off with a dull putty knife, then use automotive rubbing and polishing compounds to remove any scratches, but the resulting gloss might vary from the floor around it. Good luck with your project!

  3. pearse Says:
    July 7th, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    we recently moved into our new house and immediately on our first week of stay had our first heartbreak. our lab puppy who weighs 50 lbs now made some scratches on our engineered hardwood. what can I do to fix it. the scratches are little deep and it shows at certain angles. I would call it more than a superficial scratch and less of a deep gouge. should I follow the above steps. will the scratch still be visible at certain angles?
    thanks in advance

  4. Celeste Growden Says:
    October 29th, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    We just purchased a home with thin hardwood floors that are somewhat scratched up in various areas. Is there anything we can do to salvage them so we’re not having to spend lots of money replacing them? Thanks.

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