Damaged Hardwood Floors: How to Fix and Restore Them to Their Original Condition


How to Restore Damaged Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors can be a large investment, and nothing will upset a homeowner more than damage to them. Most individuals decide to purchase hardwood because of the impressive longevity and durability it offers. Still, hardwood flooring is not immune to damage, and excessive wear can cause negative effects on both visual appeal and function.

Fortunately, nearly all damage can be restored to like-new condition. No matter how severe the damage may be, promptly repairing any damage is crucial to preserve the integrity, appearance, and function of hardwood. 

Types of Damage, Causes, and Fixes

The extent of hardwood flooring damage can vary greatly. There are a number of different reasons why damage can occur, and while most are preventable, accidents do happen. 

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In most cases, minor damage can be easily repaired with basic products and techniques.  Major damage, on the other hand, can require specialized expertise and tools. It’s important to follow the correct repair procedures so that the flooring isn’t left in a worse situation.

Scratches and Gouges

Physical scratches, gouges, chips, and splinters are some of the most common causes of hardwood flooring damage. These can be due to negligence from the homeowner (dragging heavy furniture, dropping heavy objects, etc.) or they can be due to the inevitable wear and tear that will occur over the flooring’s lifespan.

Shallow scratches and minor imperfections can often be removed with hardwood restorer chemicals. This can be handled with a microfiber cloth or mop. Deeper scratches can be repaired with wood filler and a matching stain. In more extreme cases, they’ll require a complete restoration solution.


While most stains are relatively harmless, some can permanently alter the appearance of the flooring. It’s advisable to wipe up any spills as soon as they occur to prevent this from occurring. If the homeowner doesn’t get the spill up quickly enough and it leaves a permanent stain on the finish, oftentimes you’ll have to spot-treat the problem area by sanding down the layer of finish that was impacted, and then re-finishing/restaining the area.

Cupping and Buckling

Cupping and buckling are two of the more severe types of flooring damage. They are nearly always caused by moisture intrusion, although improper installation can also be a culprit.

Cupping is when excess moisture gets between the bottom of the hardwood planks and the subfloor, causing the lengthwise edges of the planks to lift. This can be due to the subfloor’s natural humidity, sweating concrete, or large spills. Flooring professionals can prevent subfloor moisture issues by applying a moisture barrier at the time of installation.

Buckling is typically permanent damage that is caused by improper installation or flooding. In this scenario, the hardwood completely separates from the subfloor. As an installer, expansion gaps should always be used to prevent this from happening. Most large-scale cases of bucking require a floor replacement.

How to Completely Restore Hardwood Floors

In most cases, hardwood floors can be fully restored to their original condition through the utilization of the right equipment and the abilities of a skilled technician. Generally, there are three main

restoration solutions:

  • Resurfacing: As the least intrusive method of restoration and repair, refinishing should be the first course of action. This process involves lightly sanding off the existing finish and reapplying a new coat in one small area. It’s a good option for areas that simply need a quick refresh or stains removed.
  • Refinishing: Although very effective, refinishing is a more involved process. With this method, a flooring professional uses an industrial sander on the hardwood to remove the layers of finish to get down to the raw hardwood. This can be useful for removing extreme scratches and gouges. 
  • Replacement: In some cases, a complete flooring replacement is the only viable option for repair. This is especially true for situations where flooring is completely waterlogged and buckled due to flooding. It can also be necessary if the flooring is decades old and refinishing is no longer a solution.

Be Sure to Invest in the Right Hardwood Restoration Equipment

Damage is a reality for all hardwood flooring if used for long enough. However, that doesn’t mean the owner should be forced to live with it. With the correct techniques, nearly any type of damage can be reversed by a professional hardwood floor contractor.

Whether you’re removing minor stains, completely refinishing your customer’s flooring, or completing a new installation, having the proper tools for the job is essential. At City Floor Supply, we have all the installation tools, floor machines, and accessories that you need for a professional-grade project. Contact us today for a quote on any of our equipment or wholesale flooring materials.

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