How to remove scratches from polyurethane wood finish

Written by isaiah david
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Polyurethane is a durable wood finish common on floors and furniture. It comes in an array of colours and finishes, from matt to high gloss. Polyurethane finishes can last for years, but will eventually get scratched --- particularly on floors. A small scratch that only damages the polyurethane finish is easy to repair and will often look good as new. A deeper scratch that penetrates down to the wood, however, is a bit harder to fix. It can be difficult to match the factory finish on the wood. After the fix, it may not look exactly like the rest of the piece of furniture or the other floor boards.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Mop
  • Cloths
  • Finish restorer
  • Rotary buffer (optional)
  • Polyurethane
  • Paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Clean the object to be refinished. For polyurethane floors, mix water and a pH-neutral cleaner designed for poly flooring according to the directions on the cleaner. Wipe the floor with a damp mop, rinse the mop out and wipe it a second time to make sure the floor is clean. For poly furniture, use a furniture cleaner recommended by the manufacturer, or just a damp cloth. Wipe the entire piece until it is completely clean.

  2. 2

    Apply a few drops of a finish restorer to a small scratch that doesn't completely penetrate the polyurethane. Buff the scratch by rubbing it in a circle with a fine cloth. Alternately, use a small rotary buffer to polish the finish. The scratch should disappear, leaving the wood looking as good as new.

  3. 3

    Find a colour of polyurethane that matches the glossiness and shade of your polyurethane finish if the wood has a deep scratch. Lightly dip an artist's paintbrush into the finish and paint a small amount directly on to the scratch. Wipe up any excess polyurethane around the scratch with a fine cloth. Leave the scratch to dry for several hours with the windows open for ventilation. Paint a second layer on the polyurethane if it looks too faint with just one coat, and again leave it for several hours. If the colour of the polyurethane matches the original colour, the scratch should be difficult to see once it is touched up.

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