Hardwood Hints: Hot Melt Repairs

When asked to make corrective repairs to a wood floor with surface scratches or chips, use what I call the “KISS” system or “Keep It Simple, Silly.” First, let the homeowner know you will try to camouflage the areas of concern the best you can. It’s good to under-promise and over-deliver in these situations.

Start with trying a marker on the damaged areas. Use a polishing pad to see if you can knock down the burr, fill it in, and use a stain pen kit to match as close as possible. At the next level, you could use the wax crayons. However, if a homeowner is going to clean the floor quite a bit, there is the potential for those wax crayons to slowly work themselves out of the scratches. Sealing it in can give it more protection.

If stain markers and crayons aren’t the answer, you may want to consider a hot melt. There are a few different tools you’ll need to melt the hard wax sticks.

Use a butane system with a hot knife. You’ll inject the butane canister into it, flip it up, and light it.

Also, get a battery-operated hot knife. These are great when you don’t have power or don’t want to have butane in the facility. The other option is your electric hot knife.

Any of these hot knives will allow you to melt a wax crayon into the repair.

Hot wax kits allow you to add colors, and if you don’t like what you get, you can remelt and start over. Smooth it out a bit, and come in with a metal plate or rubber block to compress and cool it simultaneously. Take a scraper to touch up the surface. Once it’s filled and if it looks acceptable, finish it up, match the sheen level, and go from there.

There will be a little bit of residue on the sides. To clean the residue up, I use denatured alcohol because it flashes off quickly. I dislike using mineral spirits or paint thinner because it leaves a slight film. You won’t feel that scratch when you run your finger across it, but it’s still slightly visible at the right angle. Remember, don’t oversell these types of repairs.

Watch It!

See Jon Namba complete this process in a three-part video series.

Hardwood Hints – Minor Surface Repairs (Part 2)

Hardwood Hints – Minor Surface Repairs (Part 3)

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One thought

  1. Wouldn’t there be a compatibility problem with the crayon and the finish? Seems like lacquer sticks would be a better choice.

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