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Question:

We had a cherry plank floor installed in a new home 2 years ago. It was a pre-finished satin floor. Last year we had it screened and a semi-gloss coat of urethane (water base) for a shinier finish. My question is, we have got a lot of minor scratches in the urethane that are quite visible and take away from the beauty of the cherry floor. Is there a way to rid the scratches? They are not down to the wood in most cases. Also, we have many small dents in the cherry wood due to it's softness and either small stones or heels on the floor, any help for them too without sanding and refinishing? I appreciate your help.

Answer:



Dear Brian

While I adore cherry wood floors, they do have their drawbacks. The wood is quite soft, and easily dented. Before they recoated the floors they should have tried to remove some of these dents, touched those up spots and then re-coated. But because this was a conversion factory finish, this may have been difficult or impossible.

I always sand finish cherry on site with 3-4 coats of oil-modified polyurethane. OMP ages well on cherry and darkens the wood nicely with time and (the finish) gets harder as it cross-links. The wood never gets harder. And I would always suggest a satin finish, period.

The flat non-porous nature of the wood makes all the little scratches very noticeable, and there is little you can do about this. That's the nature of the beast. It's very early on in the history of your floor to be recoating. I always wait at least 5-10 years before the first recoat. And I am not sure that the water based coating you used will stick to this factory conversion finish. What brand did they use, did it have a catalyst additive?

But I think part of your problem is how you are treating the wood. You should NEVER walk on the floor with outside shoes. This brings in outside grit, and sands the finish off. You can continue this sanding or wear soft slippers and socks and buff the finish smoother every year. It's your choice. Please read my floor maintenance article, which can be found at the top of the web page in the search box, so you will have a better idea on how you should be caring for this floor.

So all things considered I would simply wear out this finish (10-15 years), sand the floor to the bare wood, and finish it with OMP instead.

You may also find these articles helpful:

1. Floor Types And Finishes

2. How To Sand Wood Floors Without Leaving Machine Marks

3. How To Chemically Strip Wood Floors without dust!

4. How to remove various stains from wood floors

5. How To Take Care Of Your Health And Safety when Installing, Finishing, Repairing or Cleaning your wood floors