How to Repair Normal Wear And Tear on Your Rental's Hardwood Floors
It’s time to get the rental ready for a showing again. The old tenant has moved out, but they left behind wear and tear to the hardwood floors.
Scratches, divots, you name it: when your tenants leave, they’re going to leave light-grade damage. Depending on the severity, you can apply a quick fix to bring back their former glory.
Here’s what you need to know.
Start With Preventative Measures
If you’re about to rent to a new tenant, try to change up your renting conditions to avoid further damage. These are a few things you can do ahead of time to mitigate damage and help your tenants care for their hardwood floors themselves.
- No Pets: If you previously rented to pet owners, it’s time to cut the cord. While a $300 pet deposit might seem sufficient at first, it doesn’t take long for a dog with unkempt nails to destroy hardwood floors with deep scratches
- Bi-Annual Inspections: When a tenant signs a lease, they think “I’ve got a year to myself in this new space”. In reality, they’re subject to inspections with as little as 24 hours notice from you. Mention in the lease that you’ll be conducting a twice-yearly inspection to ensure the property is up to snuff
- Give Them Furniture Pads: You can get a pack of inexpensive furniture pads solely to hand to your tenant when you hand them the keys. Let them know to use them and be careful when moving their furniture in.
Remove Dark Spots
Dark spots and dark lines can happen in your hardwood floors for a volley of different reasons. The cause isn’t so much the concern as is the depth of the spot.
Depending on how far down it goes, you’ll need something rough like a 100-grit sandpaper to gently etch away the finish on top of the affected area. Apply this gently with the precision of a painter.
Once you’ve begun to remove the stain, reassess how deep it goes. Either stop now and reseal it, or use bleach to gently pour over the stain. As the stain is lifted, wipe away the bleach and use white distilled vinegar to cancel the bleaching effect. It’s important to not get bleach anywhere else on the hardwood.
Use a Wood Stain
When a tenant moves out, you have a 100% chance that there will be some scratches. Hopefully, they were kind to the floors and there are minimal scratches. If you notice scratches that don’t justify a full sanding, but you don’t want them there, wood stain does the trick.
Use a fine brush with either an oil-based, water-based, or gel wood stain, and just gently work it into scratches on the floor. Let it dry before gently going over it with some high-grit sandpaper to buff it out.
Clean With a Shine-Revitalizing Hardwood Cleaner
It only takes about a year of constant UV ray exposure from natural light to begin to wear down the finish on hardwood floors.
This is something that’s completely unavoidable. You can’t expect your tenants to leave the blinds closed all year. You could install blackout blinds if you wanted, but there’s no telling if they’d use them.
Instead, accept that this is going to happen, and treat the floors with a special hardwood cleaner that helps promote a stronger finish. Doing this once per year, or instructing long-term tenants to do this could make a huge difference in the quality of your floors.
It’s not what any of us want to resort to, but sometimes the damage is just too great. Consider a full floor refurbishment or replacement depending on how severe the damage is. We’re talking about a lot of deep scratches, pet stains, dark stains, and more.
Consider what you’re asking for the house and how the rest of it looks. The floor may not need to be 100% perfectly spotless, but at the very least, touched up with the other methods we’ve discussed today.
Sanding and Refinishing is an Option
If you don’t have the time to get your property ready on your own, call in the professionals to get it done the right way, quickly. Contact us today to get a quote, or call (215) 515-7355 and ask for Steve. From repairing light scratches to complete hardwood floor refinishes in Philadelphia, we’ll make sure your apartment floors look beautiful for years to come.
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Every client of ours brings unique challenges and needs to their hardwood flooring project. Whether it's intricate pattern or border work, or simply a standard installation it's great to see the finished results. Take a look at some of our favorite projects in Philadelphia and NJ below.