Depression mark on hardwood, Scratch from dragging furniture across hardwood, depression mark on hardwood

Beware Hardwood Floors Scratch Easily

Unknowingly folks easily drag stuff across hardwood floors and damage them before they realize it.  Even light items can cause scratches. Many are not be fixable without expensive replacement or refinishing efforts! Simple steps and pre-cautions can avoid these mistakes.

When these scratches occur they can have a major, even permanent effect on it. Oops, and before you know it you have a scratch you regret. This is especially a problem with softer hardwood species like Pine. Damage can be done as fast as you can say “Uncle”! Extra pre-caution or getting help can prevent permanent damage, as opposed to shortsightedness that leaves a lasting reminder every time you look at it.

Just so you know, when moving a heavy object the weight of that piece is mostly directed down thru the object to the under surface at its contact point. In example, something picked up at one end by someone displaces some of the weight, but the majority of the weight is displaced directly thru the piece at the contact point to the floor (a furniture leg, the edge of a flat dresser, a filing cabinet, a piano, etc. To explain further:

  • a contact point on a hardwood surface will leave a deep scare indent which may depress the wood
  • the same contact point can also pierce the finish, leaving a white line that when you run your nail across it will stop in the “cut” created by the dragging action
  • a lesser of a problem, a surface mar can rub off the item moved and on to the floor, but above the finish and without causing the wood to divot, or collapse

At First Glance We Weren’t Sure It Would Sand Out

Inspecting the scratch thankfully it did not pierce the finish. If it did it would leave a scratch that went through the finish and would leave a white’ish scratch. To explain further, if your fingernail gets stuck while running it across the scratch you have damaged the finish. If not but you see a depression, or “divot” like mark, the wood itself has collapsed from the weight. The weight of the object is too burdensome for withstanding the weight of the item. And finally, the least damaging, if the item does not leave a divot or a scratch, but a mar or mark, on top of the finish, well that’s an easy fix!

Since the scratch pierced the finish we considered a couple options- sand it off and see if we can get under the scratch without going too deep. Or, fill it with putty to level and blend it before sanding. We decided to try sanding first. Depression scratch on hardwood, depression scratch on red oak floor

The depression scratch sanded out easily with the edge sander. By the time the regular sanding would begin we were confident the scratch would feather out flat like it never happened.

With Our Hunch Correct and The Floor Fixed We Were Ready To ‘Rock the Floor’

Our hunch was correct, it did and we could sand on. At this point we were ready to “rock the floor” (hardwood floor plain-speak for sanding the floor!)

Depression scratch removed, scratch removed from red oak hardwood
As the sanding continues, evidence of the scratch will completely disappear (not quite yet, but soon)

Now On To The Right Way To Sand A Floor

As is normal we sanded “the field” evenly, first  with a 36° grit, then 50 °, and 80° before the final preparation. The edges were sanded the same way. The corners will be hand scraped. (Let us comment, some industry folks comment “hand scraping” is no longer done, it is posse‘.) Well no, some “old school”—tasks are embraced! When hardwood floor finishing “craftsmen” hand scrape it is because a superior outcome is the result!

Let’s just say, sanding is a art. There is a right way and a wrong way. Either you get a professional job, done by a craftsmen who follow industry standards, or you get a cheap job where the finisher skips key steps. (hint- it may have to do with time, and price, and the results of workmanship.) These floors, along with any floor sanded by Ergonomic Flooring or Sparkle Surface Care will be sanded according to industry standards, as written to Industry Standards by the NWFA.

With Our Companies You Can Expect Professional Sanding, With Others You Can Not

When choosing a hardwood floor contractor (hopefully a professional), time and price may well be a bell wringer! Recently Wendy and I did an estimate for a couple whose estimate for sanding came in at $1.50 a sq foot—even the client was laughing. And, to boot that contractor insisted he was not coming to look and the floor, and just quoted over the phone. If this happens to you, you want to run for the hills! To learn more visit our client’s experience (Sparkle), and debacle we inherited, thankfully before it was too late, to resolve. Go to Fixing A Botched Hardwood Floor Refinishing Job 

Final Sanding Winds Down While Coating Preparations Ramp Up

On the home stretch, a final screening was done. Sanded Out Hardwood Floor ScratchNext plenty of vacuuming and “tacking” the floor is done with a tack rag. Tacking the floor is a process that together with vacuuming will remove all the loose, flying “particulate” created from the sanding. To cut down on the particulate “sandless” equipment is a great help. Vacuum filtration is hooked up to all the sanders  and removes the bulk of the particulate dust created by sanding.  And for us, to be even more proactive, we also add a “air scrubber” that cleanses the airspace completely numerous times per day (depending on the cubic air space it’s working in). The air scrubber traps even more of the subtle amount of airborne dust particulate.

With the scratch removed and final sanding complete the coating began late Saturday, and finished Sunday.

Right on schedule we agreed to reconvene Sunday morning. At first we thought we’d apply the first finish in the am, and the 2nd in the pm. However, to accommodate our expanded projects we delayed the final coat till early, early Sunday morning.  Link to expanded project.  None the less, by Sunday morning we applied the final finish coat which flashed off fast (again plain-speak for it drying fast,) and well, we called it a rap!

No doubt this was a complete success! The scratch was annihilated, and the main area that is the Gift Shop was refreshed, renewed and looking great, which we anticipate will do so for years to come.