How to repair damage to floor?
June 28, 2016 8:59 AM   Subscribe

One of the casters in my bedframe fell off, and the bare metal of the bedframe gouged out a chunk from my floor (pictures here ). The floor isn't hardwood, it seems like some kind of engineered wood product with a veneer of grain on top. Any ideas of how I can repair this, or am I a dingus who just lost his security deposit?
posted by Maecenas to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can't make it perfect, but you could likely make it good enough to be unobjectionable by applying some matching dark stain to the scratched areas. Try a very small area first and then proceed if it looks like a match. You may need two coats.

Otherwise, the repair options are replacing these specific boards (assuming you can find matching ones) or sanding the whole thing down and refinishing (assuming there is enough depth in the veneer to allow sanding).
posted by ssg at 9:07 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can try to fill the deeper scratches and gouges with wood filler and then color them and the superficial scratches to match the existing floor--check in your hardware store for products that will help you match the color. There are marker-style ones but I think you will have too much surface area for that, so I'd go with a stain.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 9:09 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ouch. Well, it looks like laminate wood flooring.

The good thing is, the damage is right by the wall so you can actually pull up the boards that are damaged and repair it. The color and wear stays relatively consistent but not knowing how long the floors were installed, I can't promise that the floor looks as it did when it was new. It looks something like this which is available at Home Depot (sometimes they have returns or open box type stuff for sale.) If you do not have a Home Depot nearby, you can see if there are remnant planks in a flooring store by you so that you can purchase and replace them if you are handy.

If you are not handy (this replacement will require tools and such as well,) what would be the deposit? Is it cheaper to get a handyman to come replace or repair the planks or is it cheaper to just take a hit?
posted by Yellow at 9:11 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, I would just find some stain use scratch remover.

I think trying to fill it with putty or filler of any type might make it stand out even more.

Trying to replace the boards would be a lot more work than you think it'll be and unless everything matches perfectly it might stick out even more.
posted by bondcliff at 9:14 AM on June 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

If the gouges are deep, you can try some steam to raise the wood so it's even. Wet a cotton rag with water, and apply a steam iron on top, being careful not to burn the wood.

You may also try a wax crayon scratch filler - your hardware store should have several options, such as this kind from Minwax.
posted by stachemaster at 9:25 AM on June 28, 2016


What is the property owner like?

This shit happens. Give them a call.
posted by garry.smith at 9:35 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hard to tell what kind of flooring we're looking at from the pictures; if you hadn't said it wasn't, I'd have guessed this was pre-finished hardwood. It's probably wood laminate, like Yellow says.

I really would not recommend trying to replace the damaged boards though. For one thing, most DIYers don't have the skills or tools to do a good job, but more importantly it's going to be a pain in the ass for you to find perfectly-matching flooring, and even if you can get some it's still not going to match perfectly because it would be new—the existing boards are somewhat worn, and new boards will stand out next to them.

I would do what others here are saying and just try to get some stain and possibly filler on there, to make it look good enough that the landlord won't object. Get yourself down to the hardware store and buy a small can of whatever stain looks closest in color. Dab some onto the scratched areas, wipe it off. Try it again if it's not dark enough. Call it good, and hope that the landlord doesn't ding you for it. You might also need a bit of filler and/or poly to get it to look right. All that stuff is within the abilities of most anyone, and is inexpensive to do. You can probably get it good enough.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:37 AM on June 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Those markers they sell to fill in stains and gouges in wood are magical. Try a light, medium and dark shade of those- sold at your local woodworking shop or online and probably at depot- first. See if that doesn't visually cover this all up.
posted by slateyness at 9:58 AM on June 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

And I'd do markers before a stain, because being messy with a stain could cause weird blotches and shiny spots around the damage.
posted by slateyness at 9:59 AM on June 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

These markers and waxes work pretty well. They'll never make it look new, but no one will really notice the problem either.
posted by gregr at 10:29 AM on June 28, 2016

Those markers they sell to fill in stains and gouges in wood are magical. Try a light, medium and dark shade of those- sold at your local woodworking shop or online and probably at depot- first. See if that doesn't visually cover this all up.

Seconding this. You can find them in the paint section of your hardware store. I took a huge gouge out of my hardwood floor moving some shelves and this made it disappear. Magical! I was very skeptical that it would do the job but it did.
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:30 AM on June 28, 2016

I have the same kind of flooring plus a cat that is seriously into practicing her drifting on the uncarpeted floor so every month or so I sit down with a marker and some paper towel and color in our floor with a walnut stain marker.

However, this only really works well for shallow scratches. Deep scratches not so much - the marker concentration in a large deep scratch makes it much darker and while a lit less noticeable it is still pretty noticeable.

I'll be trying out some of the filler recommended here for the deeper gouges.

On a somewhat related not - the building manager, engineer and flooring guys all said not to worry about it because the security deposit is only withheld for egregious damages because it just wasn't worth it for them to pursue it (I'm in Chicago if that matters).

So I only do repairs because I don't want to have to live with the scratches.
posted by srboisvert at 10:57 AM on June 28, 2016

Is the same flooring used in your closet (assuming you have one in your room)? It's a little sneaky, but you could switch one of the planks out from your closet with the gouged panel and then use a stain marker afterwards.
posted by littlesq at 12:50 PM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for your help; I ended up using a marker and it worked like a charm—nothing lost from my deposit!
posted by Maecenas at 1:31 PM on July 28, 2016

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