How do I to repair scratches and dents in real wood floor?
Scratches are dealt with in the floor maintainence article in the Floored News section. You may have to read both parts if you don’t know what your floor finish is.
Dents are on the other hand an especially difficult repair to do. And after you hear what it takes to remedy the situation, you might well sand and refinish the whole floor instead.
You will have to remove the finish first. You can do this by sanding the dented area, or applying a chemical stripper to expose the bare wood. Then apply a wet corner of a white clean rag to the spot, just as you apply the hot tip of a clothes iron. Use distilled water so you don’t cause a mineral stain if your water has iron in it. This should puff the wood back to the surface. You should let this dry overnight, and then fine sand and attempt a touch up.
You can also try drops of rubbing alcohol and the tip of a hot new clean soldering iron. Rubbing alcohol contains enough water to puff out the dent (on bare wood) without damaging the finish next to it too much.
But now you have to touch up the finish, and most likely re-coat the entire floor. You will need to know your floor finish. they may have use a sealer as the first coat. Most floor finishes, and especially poly will not blend in well, and you will have to re-coat the whole floor, and even then it will not perfect. I know, because I have to do such repairs for insurance companies, and even I have a hard time making the repair invisible.
But it can be done. Sand well between all coats, and allow each coat to dry 1-2 days. I’m talking about the touch-up coats. Once the area is filled in with at least 2-3 coats of finish, let this cure for about a week, and sand level, with 120 grit sandpaper, then re-coat the whole floor.
You might consider puffing out the dent, and having the whole floor re-sanded, instead. It’s called hardwood, but it’s still wood, be careful with heavy objects, and high heel shoes.
As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.