Steam technique: removing dents in wood with steam

Q: I have roller dents in a kitchen hardwood floor from moving the refrigerator. First question: What is “too deep” to repair? And, if I remove the finish and decide to try the “steam technique,” would you explain to me how removing dents in wood with steam works?

A: You could wet the areas where the dent is and apply direct heat from a soldering iron. Keep doing it until the area rises.

Follow-up Q: A soldering iron? You’ll have to explain that one. My idea of a soldering iron is a small tipped heating element used to fuse solder in electrical work. I would think a soldering iron would be too hot.

A: I was speaking with a contractor on Friday who actually popped a dent out of a stair tread with a soldering iron. Because it has a tip, the heat is directed toward the small spot only. Wet the dent and put the iron close to but not on the wood. See if it helps.

Second follow-up Q: I would really appreciate your looking at these two photos (attached). You can see where the refrigerator was rolled out on to the floor. So, you would remove the finish from the floor then wet down the wood and use the soldering iron to raise the grain? How deep of a dent is this process successful on?

A: My opinion, this is soft wood and it looks like it could use a sanding and re finishing. After that, next time you have to pull the refrigerator out, I would pick up a couple of small strips of masonite from Home Depot and roll it on that.

Poloplaz makes excellent finishes, and I would recommend you have these floors finished with their Primero polyurethane. It looks great, applies beautifully and is tough as nails when dried and cured.

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