Scratches on Maple Floor

Q: I have a main floor with prefinished maple hardwood. The floor has quite a few scratches from dogs. We are selling the house in the next year and would like to repair it, as cost effectively as possible.

If you could explain our options that would be greatly appreciated.

A: Unfortunately, maple has a very tight, thin grain, and nail impressions in the wood really are quite visible. Oak hides them better because of its generally heavy, sweeping grain. Aside from a total sanding/finishing of the floors, perhaps a good buffing and recoat with a satin or even a matte finish may help to hide the marks.

Related Qs: I just got maple hardwood put down. I’ve noticed many dents, scratches on maple floor and white lines in between the planks. Also, when I scratch the wood sample with my nail it scratches.

A: It sounds like defective finish to me.

Follow-up Q: What should I do now that it’s installed in my home?

A: If these are new pre finished floors I would contact the manufacturer and the distributor. Otherwise, they are going to have to be professionally sanded and finished.

Follow-up Q: Yes new finish it’s graphite on maple wood. The contractor said maple wood is softm so it scratches even with a fingernail. Is that true?

A: Maple is generally harder than oak. The problem I have with maple flooring is that because the grain is so tight, like pencil lines, it doesn’t hide scratches like oak which has wide sweeping grain. There is hard and ‘soft’ maple. But generally speaking maple is significantly harder and more dense than oak.

Follow-up Q: I just found out I bought hard maple and got regular maple with select grade. What’s difference between hard and regular maple?

A: Maple typically is fairly hard and dense. Some varieties are a bit less so. You say you have regular maple. You probably have hard maple.

Follow-up Q: Thanks, but the maple I have is scratching, even wood sample scratches easily..

A: Is it the finish which is scratching easily or are you easily able to cause depressions in the wood itself? If the latter, then you likely have soft maple.

Follow-up Q: The wood is easily scratching. Also, I just got 2000sf installed. Over 100 scratches and dents. They came today to fix scratches but I know the scratches will appear again.

A: What you are experiencing is one reason I don’t recommend maple floors to those who expect a pristine floor. Especially if they have pets. The grain in maple is so tight, like pencil lines there is nothing to hide superficial marks. Oak is a bit softer but its heavy, sweeping grain helps hide these marks. I once installed maple plank for a builder in a new home he built for himself. He had a large dog. In six months the only thing you could see were hundreds of nail impressions everywhere.

If this flooring came from China there is also a good chance they used imported maple that was harvested before it was a mature tree, hense a softer wood.

Follow-up Q: I just went to the person to pay balance who installed hardwood. Is it true if it was hard maple it would say on the box, because on box it says “maple wood select grade”?

A: I doubt it would say on the box it is hard maple. I’ve never seen it before. That is information that is generally found in the distributors advertising.

Similar Q: I have prefinished mirage hardwood floors (maple merlot), 5 years old. There are lots of scratches and it’s dull. I paid a fortune for them. What can I do to get the scratches out and the shine back, if anything? Please help! It’s driving me crazy. I am very clean and take good care of them. I’m very disappointed with these floors.

A: Unfortunately, maple has little grain to hide scratches and nail impressions from pets. If these are just minor scratches in the finish you could have someone come in and prepare the floor and re-coat it. If they are impressions in the floor it will have to be sanded and done over. Neither is an easy job.

The dullness could be caused by some type of contaminant on the finish from attempting to clean it with products such as oil soaps and even swiffer which according to their own MSDS contains wax. There are cleaners that can remove this from companies such as Poloplaz who make Tie Tac and floor cleaners designed for this type of flooring. Mirage has their own version of this cleaner. Best to stay away from supermarket cleaners which say they are great for floors.

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