How to Fix Gouge in Wood Floor


Wood floors add timeless beauty and warmth to any home. However, they are not immune to damage, and gouges are one of the more severe types of damage they can sustain. Whether caused by moving furniture, heavy objects falling, or general wear and tear, gouges can be unsightly and detract from the overall appearance of your floor. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to fix a gouge in a wood floor, including step-by-step instructions, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions.

How to Fix Gouge in Wood Floor

Understanding Wood Floor Gouges

What is a Wood Floor Gouge?

A gouge is a deep scratch or indentation in the wood that removes a portion of the surface material. Unlike minor scratches, which may only affect the finish, gouges penetrate deeper, often into the wood itself.

Common Causes of Wood Floor Gouges

  1. Moving Furniture: Dragging heavy furniture across the floor without proper protection can cause gouges.
  2. Heavy Objects: Dropping heavy items like tools or kitchenware can result in gouges.
  3. Pet Claws: Pets with long nails can scratch and gouge wood floors.
  4. High Heels: Walking on wood floors with high heels can leave deep indentations.

How to Fix a Gouge in a Wood Floor: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Assess the Damage

Before you begin, assess the depth and extent of the gouge. This will determine the best repair method. For minor gouges, a simple wood filler may suffice, while deeper gouges might require more extensive repair.

Step 2: Clean the Area

Use a vacuum cleaner or a soft brush, followed by a damp cloth to wipe the area clean.

Step 3: Choose the Right Repair Material

Depending on the size and depth of the gouge, you can choose from the following materials:

  • Wood Filler: Ideal for minor to moderate gouges.
  • Wood Putty: Suitable for filling deeper gouges and holes.
  • Epoxy Wood Repair Kit: Best for extensive damage and structural repairs.

Step 4: Apply the Wood Filler or Putty

  1. For Wood Filler:
    • Use a putty knife to apply the wood filler into the gouge.
    • Press the filler firmly into the gouge to ensure it fills all gaps.
    • Smooth the surface with the putty knife, removing any excess filler.
  2. For Wood Putty:
    • Press the putty into the gouge, ensuring it fills the entire area.
    • Smooth the surface with your fingers or a putty knife.
    • Let the putty dry and harden completely.
  3. For Epoxy Wood Repair Kit:
    • Apply the mixture to the gouge using a putty knife.
    • Smooth the surface and allow the epoxy to cure fully.

Step 5: Sand the Repaired Area

Once the filler, putty, or epoxy has dried completely, sand the repaired area to smooth out any rough edges and blend it with the surrounding floor. Use fine-grit sandpaper and sand gently to avoid damaging the surrounding wood.

Step 6: Stain and Finish

After sanding, you may need to stain the repaired area to match the rest of the floor. Choose a wood stain that closely matches your floor color. Allow the stain to dry, and then apply a protective finish, such as polyurethane, to seal the repair and add shine.

Long-Tail Queries and Tips for Fixing Gouges in Wood Floors

How to Fix a Deep Gouge in a Wood Floor

For deep gouges, use an epoxy wood repair kit. These kits are designed for extensive damage and provide a strong, durable repair. Follow the same steps as outlined above, ensuring the epoxy fully fills the gouge and is sanded and finished properly.

Can You Fix a Gouge in Engineered Wood Floors?

Yes, you can fix gouges in engineered wood floors using the same methods as for solid wood floors. However, be cautious with sanding, as engineered wood has a thinner veneer layer. Use a light touch and fine-grit sandpaper to avoid sanding through the veneer.

How to Prevent Gouges in Wood Floors

  1. Use Furniture Pads: Place felt pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches and gouges when moving them.
  2. Rugs and Mats: Use area rugs and mats in high-traffic areas to protect the wood floor.
  3. Trim Pet Nails: Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to reduce the risk of scratches and gouges.
  4. Avoid High Heels: Discourage the use of high heels on wood floors to prevent deep indentations.

How to Fix Minor Gouges in Wood Floors

For minor gouges, use a wood filler stick or wax repair stick. These products are easy to use and can quickly fill small gouges and scratches. Simply rub the stick over the gouge, filling it with the filler or wax, and smooth the surface with a soft cloth.

How to Choose the Right Wood Filler for Floors

When selecting a wood filler, consider the following factors:

  • Color Match: Choose a filler that closely matches the color of your wood floor.
  • Durability: Opt for a filler that is durable and can withstand foot traffic.
  • Ease of Use: Look for a filler that is easy to apply and sand.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for wood filler to dry?

The drying time for wood filler varies depending on the product and environmental conditions. Generally, it takes between 2 to 6 hours to dry completely.

Can you stain over wood filler?

Yes, you can stain over wood filler, but it may not absorb the stain as well as the surrounding wood. To achieve a better match, choose a stainable wood filler and apply the stain in thin layers until the desired color is reached.

What is the top wood filler for hardwood floors?

The best wood filler for hardwood floors is one that is durable, stainable, and matches the color of your wood. Some popular options include Minwax Stainable Wood Filler, Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler, and DAP Plastic Wood.

How do you fix a gouge in a prefinished wood floor?

To fix a gouge in a prefinished wood floor, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the gouge thoroughly.
  2. Apply a prefinished wood filler or putty that matches the floor color.
  3. Smooth the surface and let it dry.
  4. Lightly sand the area and apply a touch-up finish if needed.

Is it better to use wood filler or wood putty for floor gouges?

Both wood filler and wood putty can be used to fix floor gouges. Wood filler is ideal for minor to moderate gouges and can be stained to match the wood. Wood putty is better for deeper gouges and holes and is often more flexible and durable.


Fixing a gouge in a wood floor may seem daunting, but with the right materials and techniques, you can restore your floor’s beauty and integrity. By assessing the damage, choosing the appropriate repair material, and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively repair gouges and keep your wood floors looking their best. Regular maintenance and preventive measures can also help protect your floors from future damage. With a little effort and care, your wood floors can remain a stunning feature in your home for years to come.

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