Home owner tips? Ask, see what we can find!

My dog's nails have left minor scratches in my wood floors. Is there any way to repair this without complete refinishing? –Judith K., via e-mail.

A: If the scratches are not all the way through the finish and into the wood below, there are a couple of things you can try:

1. Sand the scratched area with 0000-grade steel wool to blend the scratch into the surrounding area.

2. Use a very small brush and apply a small amount of polyurethane just to the scratch itself — keep it off the surrounding area as much as possible. Many hardwood floor companies also offer polyurethane scratch repair kits.

3. Rub a small amount of paste wax directly into the scratch, using a clean, soft rag. Let the wax dry, then buff the area around the scratch. If you have dark-colored floors, use a dark paste wax that's formulated for darker woods.

4. Use a color-putty stick in a color that matches the floor. Rub it lightly into the scratch, then let it dry.

5. Try one of the commercial scratch removers available that work primarily by filling in the scratched area and eliminating the reflected light from that area, making the scratch seem to disappear.

All of the products you need are available at most home centers, paint stores or retailers of flooring-related products. Try the repair in an unobtrusive spot such as a closet before tackling more obvious areas. If the scratch is through the finish and into the wood beneath, you need to have the area sanded and recoated. However, many hardwood floor contractors can sand and coat just a portion of the floor, so it still may not be necessary to do the entire floor.

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