How to Fix Scratches on Vinyl Floors & Prevention
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Do you have vinyl flooring in your home? It's a popular choice due to its low maintenance requirements, affordability, and huge range of colors and finishes. Vinyl flooring has excellent moisture resistance, meaning you can mop it without worrying about warping. But eventually you have to learn how to fix scratches on vinyl floors.
However, one issue with vinyl flooring is that it's not as durable as it appears. Many vinyl floorboard designs have the faux look of wood to add to the aesthetic they produce in a room. Unfortunately, they also have the same propensity to sustain scratches and marks as hardwood floorboards.
There's nothing more frustrating than to find your vinyl floorboards scratched and scuffed. Moving heavy future around or accidentally grinding some sand into the floorboards you dragged into your home on the bottom of your shoes is common in American homes.
So, do you have to replace these floorboards? Or is there some trick you can use to recondition them and remove the scratches? Fortunately, you can use several DIY strategies to restore your vinyl flooring. Give one or two of them a try, and your flooring will look as good as new.
Vinyl Floor Scratch Repair in 2 Different Ways
Fortunately, we have a couple DIY fixes to get the scratches out of your vinyl flooring. Scratches range in severity. The fixes we have below work on small to moderate scratches; they might not be the best choice for deep scarring. They can help seal the problem but deep cuts will remain visible.
Regarding visibility, you'll want to do your best when choosing your wax, stain pencils, or concealers to match the color to your existing vinyl floor. You'll have much better success dealing with darker colored floors (choose a color that's slightly darker rather than lighter than your floor if you can't get a perfect match).
Let's dig into our two main ways for how to fix scratches on vinyl floors, with the second being the preferred method to repair scratched vinyl flooring.
Method 1 - Paste Wax & Stain Pencils
Paste wax is available from your local hardware store and is a good DIY fix for hiding scratches on your vinyl floors. Learn more about paste wax here, and then follow this step-by-step guide to covering them up with paste wax:
- Clean the affected area and lightly buff it with a kitchen scouring pad.
- Apply the wax using circular motions using a paper towel.
- Wipe away the excess with a fresh paper towel.
Stain pencils are another pragmatic option for removing light scratches from your vinyl flooring. They offer the same features and paste wax but come in a convenient pen-like applicator for precision application.
The problem with both of these old school methods are you have to be careful to match the color yourself, which will be nearly impossible to get right. Even if you get the perfect match, your flooring itself will have different shades of the color running through it. The next option is much better as you don't have this concern.
Method Two - Scratch Concealers
This is my favorite answer for how to get scratches out of vinyl flooring. Scratch concealers create a permanent seal that doesn't wipe or wash away, making it ideal for moderate to severe scratches on your flooring. Please note, they don't fill in the scratches (the dents will still be there), but they'll remove any discoloration. They work amazingly well.
- Clean the area around the scratch.
- Apply the scratch concealer onto the scratch.
- Rub the scratch concealer into the scratch with a microfiber cloth, using a circular rubbing motion.
- Let the scratch concealer cure for four to five hours.
- Rub away the residue, and you'll find the scratch looks like it disappeared unless you want to have a super critical eye nobody else will.
Remember to match the color and that you don't need a perfect result. A nice improvement is all you need for the scratch to be unnoticeable to your guests. Nobody will notice it if they didn't know the scratch was there in the first place. These concealers are fantastic for scratch repair on laminate floors, too.
What Causes Scratches on Vinyl Floors?
For the purpose of this post, we're going to concentrate on vinyl floorboards rather than linoleum and the like. While all vinyl flooring is relatively scratch-resistant, some cheaper boards or rolls scratch easily, especially if you weaken the sealant by doing things like using a steam mop on a vinyl floor (don't do that).
You get what you pay for with vinyl floorboards, and trying to save on your renovation budget could come back to haunt you when you notice deep scratches on the boards. Knowing how to fix scratches on vinyl floors is one thing, but preventing them is better.
So, what causes scratches on vinyl floorboards? Here are the most common causes, beyond obvious stuff like uneven flooring due to placing vinyl flooring over tile, etc.:
If you wear shoes in your home, you might accidentally drag dirt and debris into the house on the bottom of your shoes. Or if there's dirt on the floors already and you step on it, twisting or turning as you do, it's going to leave small scratches.
If you have dirt stuck to your soles and suddenly spin around, say if someone calls you, then the pressure of your weight acting on the dirt on your soles results in scratches on the vinyl floorboards.
Toys with Sharp Edges
If your kids enjoy playing with Legos on the floor or "driving" their toy trucks and cars across the floors, the sharp edges on the toys might result in them leaving behind small scratches. Typically, the depth and extent of the scratch depend on how forcefully your kids play with their toys.
Dogs require trimming of their clams to prevent them from scratching your vinyl flooring. If they get excited and try to run across the floors, they might slip, resulting in aggressive running that scratches the floors. While cats can withdraw their claws at will, if they get startled, they might extend them to gain traction on the flooring, scuffing and scratching the boards.
Large Appliances & Heavy Furniture
If you have heavy couches or TV stands in your lounge and decide to drag them across the flooring to reposition them, it could scratch and scuff the vinyl boards. The furniture's weight on its feet pressures the boards, and if there's a nail or rough patch on the couch's foot, it might result in a deep scratch.
How to Prevent Scratches on Vinyl Flooring
The best strategy for dealing with scratches is to be proactive and prevent them from happening in the first place so you don't have to learn how to fix scratches on vinyl floors. By changing your behavior and introducing safeguards, you won't have to worry about scuffing and scratching the floors.
Implement these tips to extend the service life of your vinyl floorboards:
Move Furniture Carefully
Furniture is the biggest culprit of scratches on vinyl floorboards. Instead of pulling these items around the room or dragging them into position, lift them up and move them around.
This action prevents things like nails hidden in the feet of your couch from coming in contact with the flooring. Also, learn how to stop a couch from sliding and sit down on it gently rather than plopping down with a running start.
As mentioned, furniture like couches, tables, and units scratch the floors when you move them. Fortunately, it's easy to resolve this issue and prevent it from happening. Adding silicone protectors or pads to the bottom of the feet prevents scuffing and scratching when moving things around in the room.
Entrances to the home are high-traffic areas, and people entering will often drag debris into the house on their footwear. As a result, you find that the three square feet around the doorways usually wear faster than boards in other rooms.
Placing doormats at every entrance resolves this problem. Better yet, ask people to take their shows off when entering your home; dragging microbes and bacteria in from outside presents a health risk.
Use rugs under furniture like dining tables, couches, and beds. These additionally play the same role as adding silicon covers or felt pads under the couch feet. However, you get a better visual aesthetic with a chic, well-placed rug in the room.
Protect High-Traffic Areas
Rugs also make for good flooring protection in high-traffic areas around the home. Adding rugs prevents excessive wear and tear in hallways and walkways. Add pug pads to the underside, and you prevent them from slipping around on the flooring.
Create a Play Area
Children love playing on wide spaces on the floor, and their toys can create scratches if they play aggressively, Stop this from happening by creating a dedicated play area for them to enjoy. Add rubber crash mats to the floors and stop the sharp-edged toys from ruining your floors.
Sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors regularly to keep dust, dirt, and organic debris off the flooring. Dust accumulating on the flooring gives it a dull look, and regular cleaning lets the majesty of your flooring shine through. It also keeps small stones and big specks of dirt from forcing you to learn how to remove scratches from vinyl flooring.
Understanding Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl floorboards are a popular flooring choice for homeowners. Its low cost compared with other options like hardwood makes it an attractive purchase for fitting out your home.
Vinyl flooring is a synthetic material that's water-resistant and, in most cases, scratch-proof. However, nothing is indestructible, and with enough force, even vinyl will scuff and scratch.
Vinyl flooring comes in three main options:
Most homeowners and flooring companies refer to sheet vinyl as "linoleum" or "vinyl roll." It installs as a sheet, meaning there are no seams, providing the floor with a water-tight finish. It's a popular choice for areas of the home that come in contact with pooling water, such as the kitchen or bathroom, and it's spill-resistant.
Vinyl tiles are the most common type of vinyl flooring. It offers easy installation, and it's affordable. You peel the adhesive pad off the rear of the tile and stick it on the floor. The tile stays in place, providing the same durability and water-resistant features as linoleum.
Vinyl tiles are available in several sizes and designs, allowing homeowners to match them to their interior décor. Some vinyl tiles also allow you to grout between the tiles, giving the appearance of a genuine tiled floor.
Vinyl Flooring Boards
The latest vinyl flooring option, vinyl floor boards, is becoming extremely popular in homes across America. It's available in a wide range of colors and designs to suit your interior décor.
A popular option is a faux-wood design, giving the visual impression of real hardwood floors at a fraction of the cost. Like hardwood floors, the vinyl floorboards are installed in long sections or planks, further adding to the aesthetic.
It's a durable flooring system, but the seams between the boards mean it's not as water-resistant as linoleum because water can get in there if left to pool on the surface. Still, it's a popular choice for lounges, bedrooms, and other living spaces throughout the home.
And That’s How to Fix Scratches on Vinyl Floors
As you’ve likely heard, prevention is worth a pound of cure, but since you’re here it’s too late for that. We’ve provided two methods of vinyl floor scratch repair above as well as a bunch of other relevant information to help you reduce the chance of a scratch.
But the fact is it’ll happen. You will have to repair scratched vinyl flooring. It’s just a part of life that we’ll need to accept. But now we know how to fix scratches on vinyl floors so, even though it won’t come out like brand new, it’ll be a lot better and let us move on from the annoyance.