How to Use Wood Filler to Repair Hardwood Floor Scratches

scratches across hardwood flooring
What You'll Need
Polyurethane or wax
320 grit sandpaper
Putty knife or Popsicle stick
Wood putty to match your stain (water-based)
320 grit sandpaper
Latex gloves

It can be easy to use wood filler to repair scratches on your hardwood floor if you know a few common techniques flooring professionals use. If your scratches are just to the surface or have delved beyond the stain, follow the simple steps below to restore its beauty.

Assess your Damage

Is the damage only to the finish on the floor? Often times you can determine this by rubbing a small amount of vegetable oil to the scratch. Does the scratch disappear, then slowly start reappearing again? If so, that's great. Your scratch is only to the finish. If your scratch is deep and has damaged the stain, the oil test will reveal a change in color, but likely will not match your floor stain. If this is the case, repairing it will require extra steps.

Repairing Damage to your Finish

dark hardwood flooring

Using your sheet of sandpaper, lightly buff edges of your scratch. This will ensure the new finish will be smooth and uniform. With a clean cloth, dampen it lightly with water and remove any debris caused from sanding. Having a clean, dust free surface is imperative for your finish to look nice. The last step is to apply your finish.

If it is a wax, using a Q-Tip. Dip just the tip into the can of wax. Apply the wax only to the area you sanded, overlapping about a mm. Allow this to dry per instructions on the can. Different products have different dry times. After it has dried, using a terry cloth rag, rub vigorously in a circular motion to buff and shine the wax out. If you are having trouble getting it smooth, you may use a buffer that you use to wax your car.

If your finish is polyurethane, dip only the tip of the Q-Tip into the can of polyurethane. Apply polyurethane ONLY to the area you sanded. Allow to dry according to product label on the can.

Repairing Damage to Stain

using wood filler to repair a hole in flooring

If you had to buy two colors of wood putty to match your stain, put on the Latex gloves and knead the two colors together thoroughly. You will apply the wood filler with a putty knife or a Popsicle stick. Get enough wood filler on your tool of choice to overfill your scratch slightly. Scrape it across the scratch the first time, then, get some more wood filler on your tool and this time, go with the scratch longways. Level out as evenly as you can get it. Now, you must allow it to dry. Follow label instructions for dry time.

When it has dried, use the piece of sand paper and gently sand over the top to further flatten and smooth out the wood filler. After you have sanded it until it is flush with the floor, wipe with a damp cloth and then, following the instructions in the “Repairing Damage to your Finish” section above, apply the finishing product you need.