Restoring damaged wood floors

Whether made from solid wood or laminate, oiled wood or lacquered, wood floors bring a timeless charm to any home. However, friction, traffic and knocks can all damage floors over time, especially those in constant use.

Moisture and fluctuations in temperature can also have an adverse effect. Whether your floor is old and new, there are ways to restore any damaged wood.

Protecting damaged wood floors

Maintaining your wood floor will help protect it from wear and tear. Each type of lacquer requires a specific type of maintenance. Refer back to this guide so that you're all clued up on how to correctly clean your wood floor.

To keep your wood floor in top condition, here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Place a mat outside the living area to retain sand and grit; and an absorbent mat inside to dry your soles.
  • Put felt pads on furniture legs and chairs
  • Position chairs or furniture with castors on rugs or make sure any wheels are made from soft rubber
  • Avoid walking on your wood floor in heeled shoes

Even if you regularly maintain and correctly clean your wood floor, it may still get damaged and require partial or total restoration.

How to decide if your wood floor requires partial or total restoration

Oiled wood floors can be partially restored: if there are any bad scratches or stains, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the affected strips before applying a thin layer of the correct oil with a clean rag. Make sure to vacuum any sawdust away before applying the first coat and leave to dry well before the you move onto the second coat.

Unlike with oiled wood floors, it is impossible to only repair a section of lacquered wood floor. You can either replace the damaged strips or restore the entire floor so that any retouches will be invisible.

How to completely restore a damaged wood floor

If there are signs of wear and tear across the whole floor, the entire surface will need to be sanded. The same goes for a badly damaged oiled floor.

Before beginning the restoration process, remove all furniture and other objects from the room so that you can clearly see where the damage is. If only certain strips are affected, it may be possible to replace them rather than the entire floor.

Sanding damaged wood floors

Make sure you have the following to hand:

  • A belt sander
  • A floor edger
  • Fine-grit, medium-grit and course-grit sanding belts
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A protective dust mask

Start by practising on an inconspicuous area or one that will be concealed by a rug or a piece of furniture. It takes a little time to get used to the belt sander, which needs to be continuously moved along the length of each strip whilst the machine is on. Never keep the sander in one position as you may over-sand your already damaged wood floors.

To ensure an even finish, sand at a regular pace – not too fast and not too slow – and don't apply too much pressure, except on the most damaged parts of the wood floor. The floor edger enables you to sand corners and other narrow and hard-to-reach areas.

Start by using the coarse-grit belt to sand all of the damaged areas, then carefully vacuum the floor. Use a slightly damp mop to ensure that all the finest grains of sawdust are removed.

Repeat the same process with the medium-grit belt and then the fine-grit belt.

You should be left with an even and level surface that is ready for a new protective layer of lacquer or oil.

As our lacquers cannot be applied directly to untreated wood, you will need to purchase a suitable lacquer from a professional or a supplier. Apply three coats of lacquer using a roller, a paintbrush or a clean rag, leaving the wood to completely dry between each application. Make sure you have the right type of mask to protect yourself from solvent fumes.

For oiled wood floors, apply two coats of oil, following our instructions on how to oil a wood floor.

Finally, for expert restoration advice or a quote, don't hesitate to contact one of our partners in the area where you live.