Hardwood Flooring Dents and Scratches – Causes and Fixes

Man's hand pointing to the old scratched wooden floor in the room. Problems and solutions concept.

In its lifetime, any hardwood floor will experience denting and scratching at some point or another. Here are some tips on how to prevent unnecessary damage to your lovely hardwood as well as what do if if your hardwood floors are already dented and scratched.

Over time, putting scratches and dents in your hardwood flooring is almost inevitable.

Accidents happen. It’s a fact of life, especially when you have kids and pets. Sooner or later, you will drop a can of tomatoes on the floor, your kids will race down the hallway in dad’s office chair, or you’ll rush through the house to grab your forgotten purse without taking off your heels.

A top concern on the minds of homeowners contemplating installing a hardwood floor is if they will be able to successfully protect the precious hardwood from sustaining unsightly dents and scratches.

On the other hand, Denver homeowners who already have a hardwood floor can’t help but notice the floor’s aging over the years, wondering if their floor (in all of its dented and scratched glory) will ever be able to return to its former beauty.

That’s why Denver Dustless is back with the latest in our Hardwood Flooring – Issues, Causes & Fixes blog series. Last time, we discussed hardwood’s worst enemy; humidity. Now, let’s take a look at how to prevent hardwood flooring dents, and what to do if you already have ugly dings and scratches in your floor.

Causes of Hardwood Flooring Dents

Dents result from heavy items being dropped or dragged across the floor, which compresses the fibers in the wood and results in visible damage.

There is really an infinite number of ways your hardwood floor could be scratched or dented. No need to worry! Being aware of what threats exist to your floor will prepare you to protect it.

Here are just a handful of common causes for scratches and dents in hardwood floors:

Moving day – You may be moving into a home that already has hardwood. Congrats! Still, moving in and out of a house creates a lot of hazards for scratching and dinging up a hardwood floor. Heavy boxes and furniture could be dropped, hefty appliances may be dragged across the floor, nobody takes off their work shoes coming in and out of the house, etc. Likely no one will be as careful with your floors as you are, so if you invite a moving crew to help, they probably won’t move in furniture and boxes as gingerly as you would. Plus, who knows how well the hardwood was taken care of by previous owners? You could be moving in and inheriting all of their floor dents.

Shoes –All shoes could pose a threat to your floor, but heavy work boots, cleats, and high heels are especially at risk of scratching your hardwood.

Furniture – Most furniture items have either wood, metal, or plastic legs. Any of these have potential to scratch, or even dent your hardwood. This is particularly the case if the furniture is frequently dragged across the floor, such as dining chairs or barstools. Rolling office chairs can also damage hardwood as the wheels roll along. Even your sofa can easily scoot across the floor when someone plops down on it after a long day.

Toys – Children’s toys can pose a threat to hardwood, especially in the case of toys that can be ridden on such as miniature vehicles, rocking horses, etc. These types of toys often grind along the floor and can create dents or scratches. Such toys are best used in carpeted areas of the home.

Dropped objects – Items often slip out of our hands or get knocked off the counter and end up on the floor. This is mainly the case in the kitchen and pantry areas. Food cans, kitchen utensils, heavy recipe books, dinnerware, cast iron pans, and any number of things can fall to the hardwood and leave a scratch or even a sizeable dent.

The damage your floor sustains also depends on factors such as where hardwood is installed in your home (high traffic areas like hallways and kitchens vs. low traffic areas like bedrooms and closets), what kind of hardwood you opt for, and how it is installed.

If you’re planning on installing new hardwood in your Denver home, your best bet is to hire a professional to make sure the job is done right. When you work with Denver Dustless to install your hardwood floor, you are sure to receive the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, setting you up for success from the get-go.

Cures for Hardwood Flooring Dents

Taking the time to follow just a few simple preventative tips can go far in helping protect your gorgeous hardwood from becoming an eye soar.

Area rugs – Lay down area rugs in high-traffic areas of your home or underneath large furniture items. For example, be sure your hallway, entryway, and living room have rugs, and perhaps even a couple in the kitchen at the sink and below the countertop where you do your food prep. Buying rugs may add an extra cost and even an extra step when it comes to cleaning your floor, but the savings that result from protecting your floor will pay off in the long run. As a word of caution, ensure that when you lay down the rug there are no pebbles or debris between the rug and the floor that could create scratching potential. Some area rug backing is even scratchy, so laying down a pad between it and the hardwood is recommended.

No shoes – It’s always a good idea to instate a ‘shoes off’ policy for anyone who walks through your door, and not just because it’s polite. Shoes can bring in dirt and have rough edges that lead to scratching. Removing high heels and any other shoes will prolong and protect the ‘like new’ look of your floor.

Felt pads – Applying felt furniture pads underneath the legs of your furniture and bottom of appliances is a cheap and easy fix. It may even save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in premature floor refinishing and replacement down the road. These can be found at any local hardware store and are easily applied. Felt furniture pads allow items such as dining chairs to slide easily across the floor without damaging it. Just make sure they are stuck on securely, and be quick to replace any felt pads that appear loose. Avoid placing heavy items on wheels.

Vinyl mats – Laying down a plastic mat in your office will protect the floor from your office chair without hindering the ease of the wheels like thicker carpet would. Make sure the office wheels are cleaned regularly, just in case the wheels do happen to roll on to the hardwood. Any rocks or dirt lodged in the wheels could scratch against the floor. If you’re not crazy about vinyl mats, a rug with short carpet will also do the trick. 

Proper vacuuming – Most vacuums on the market are designed primarily for carpet. If you use a vacuum designed for carpet on hardwood, it could actually scratch up the hardwood. Yikes! Invest in a vacuum that is hardwood floor approved if vacuuming is your preferred cleaning method. Try not to let too many days go by without using it on the floor, as dirt sitting on the floor creates a scratching hazard in itself.

Be careful – Life gets busy and protecting your hardwood floor will likely become the furthest thing from your mind. That’s why it’s important from the day your hardwood floors are installed to establish a good pattern as a family of being careful with your floors. 

Take your shoes off, regularly clean dirt and debris from the floor, don’t drag furniture, ask for help when carrying heavy items, etc. It will become second nature!

Of course, no matter how careful you are, you cannot avoid ALL scratches or dents. As mentioned, accidents are bound to happen. It’s okay! Hardwood is tough, and the best thing of all is that it can almost always be repaired.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

The risk of scratching or denting your floors is no reason not to opt for hardwood. Stunning hardwood flooring remains one of the best flooring material options on the market, and when properly maintained will beautify your home for decades (not to mention add resale value, if you ever plan to sell down the road).

For the unavoidable and accidental dents and scratches put into a floor, you can always have your hardwood floors professionally repaired and refinished. Whether the imperfections can simply be sanded out or individual boards need replacement, the process is definitely doable. 

As a solution for dents in hardwood, the National Wood Flooring Association counsels, “Remove and repair the damaged boards. The entire floor may need to be re-sanded and refinished.”

In fact, hardwood floor refinishing is recommended at least once or twice a decade, even if your floors are in relatively good condition. Periodic refinishing will help preserve your floor and extend its longevity.  

Here at Denver Dustless, our virtually dustless hardwood refinishing process can successfully remove even some of the most stubborn gouges and scrapes. Our state-of-the-art equipment, generations of experience, and long rapport of satisfied Denver homeowners give you confidence in our best-in-the-business services.

Watch our video below to see how the Denver Dustless hardwood floor refinishing process works, and give us a call to schedule your hardwood refinishing or new installation. We will restore your old floor to its original beauty OR outfit your home with masterful new hardwood.

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