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How to Repair Hardwood Floors Covered in Carpet

How to Repair Hardwood Floors Covered in Carpet

Hardwood floors are timeless, and add beauty and sophistication to any room where they’re featured. But if your home has carpet-covered hardwood, there’s likely hidden damage that needs attention, not to mention you’re missing out on a great opportunity to transform your space.

Remove Carpeting

There’s just no way around it; pulling back a small corner of the carpet to check the condition of the hardwood doesn’t give you an accurate idea of the shape the whole floor is in. You’ll need to factor carpet removal into your project planning. Keep in mind:

  • You’ll need to remove the entire carpeting and any staples holding the carpet to the wood.

  • This will require frequent sweeping, since you don’t want any debris left on the floor before moving to the next step.

  • If your carpeting was glued down, your project time and level of expertise needed will increase. Removing adhesive from the floor is a delicate process.

You don’t want to deteriorate the flooring, but the adhesive needs to be completely removed before any refinishing or repairs, to avoid degrading the quality of the finish from the start.

Clean Hardwood Floors

Once carpet removal is done, it’s time to make sure hardwood floors are cleaned. Depending on how long they’ve been covered in carpet, this will likely take several steps.

Washing the floor will get off much of the dirt and debris that’s probably been trapped under the carpet, and will give you a better sense of the quality of the hardwood floor finish.

But you’ll need to be prepared to vacuum and sweep up dust throughout the carpet removal and cleaning process. The flooring will need to be clean and smooth before any hardwood floor refinishing is done.

Assess the Condition of the Floor

Now that the hardwood flooring is clean and dry, you can take a closer look. If imperfections are superficial, your hardwood refinishing project won’t be as involved.

You’ll be able to sand and vacuum the dust until the surface-level scratches or marks are removed, and everything is even. But, you’re going to have a much more involved improvement project on your hands if you notice any of the following:

  • Major Dents and Scratches: If the scratches and dents penetrate the polyurethane coating, you’ll need deep-level, professional grade sanding tools to get beyond them.

  • Cupping or Splinters: If your floorboards have bent down into a more concave shape, or if you’re getting splinters from walking on the cleaned floor, it’s time for hardwood refinishing.

  • Gray, Discolored, or Fading Floorboards: Floorboards will gray if the previous protective coatings have worn off. That definitely means it’s time for those finishes to be reapplied, so you don’t have extensive damage and deterioration. The same is true for any significant fading or discoloration.

One more key thing to take note of: are your floorboards wet or absorbing water? Do you smell something “off” or musty? If so, your finishes are no longer repelling moisture, which could be causing wood rot and other problems. Addressing that as soon as possible will keep it from spreading.

Sand Off or Replace Damaged Areas

The amount of sanding and carpentry repairs you’ll have to do depends on the damage on the floor. Again, if the color is still true, and if the dips and scratches aren’t too deep, you may be able to hand-sand the flooring in spots.

If the damage is more intensive, the sanding tools and techniques that need to be applied should be, too. Depending on the condition of your surfaces, wooden beams may require replacement before moving forward.

Apply New Finishes and Protective Coatings

Once the surface cleaning and repairs are completed, it’s time for hardwood floor refinishing. You’ll need:

  • Appropriate primers and stains for your type of wood and where it is (interior or exterior)

  • Brushes that will completely cover the flooring surfaces with primer and natural wood staining

  • Ample drying time between coats so you know the true color of the finish

It’s important to remember that with improper products or tools, too light or too heavy an application, or an uneven surface, your hardwood floor finishes aren’t going to give you the results you want.

There’s no need to stress over all the ins and outs of hardwood floor refinishing. Trico Painting is a trustworthy interior and exterior painting contractor for homeowners and HOAs, with proven success in woodwork repair, restoration, and refinishing.


We have the tools necessary to take on hardwood floor damage and dings, and to get your flooring back to mint condition before applying top-quality stains that will last for years to come. Ready to let your rich, beautiful flooring shine? Contact Trico Painting to start your flooring project today.