Fix-It Friday: Burn Baby Burn… How To Remove Scorch Marks From Your Hardwood

scorched hardwood floor
Fix-It FridayHome Improvement 4 Comments

“Hello – Please help me! I recently burned my floor with a hair iron. I got an estimate from a flooring place that said it would cost $1,800 – $2,400 to replace the boards, and it is not possible to sand them and restain them. Is this correct? Please let me know, as the mark is unsightly and the advice on the internet is all over the place. Thanks!” – WYSK Reader Cynthia

NV: Hi Cynthia, Thanks for this great question. I’m glad you didn’t let comments from a flooring company discourage you from seeking other repair options. Unless there’s something I’m not seeing from the photo you sent (above), it’s TOTALLY possible to remove the scorching.

The thing about damage to wood will always come down to this question, how deep is the burn? The goal is to get down to the unmarred wood, but only going as deep as necessary. The deeper the burn, the more the wood removal, the harder the repair!

As with most problems, I like to start with the least aggressive method first, and work my way from there. Here’s what you should do:

FIRST: See if the scorch is only surface deep. My first go-to product to remove the burn would be Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I’m a big fan of this product. With these pads I’ve removed, hair dye, Sharpie marker, and scorch marks when nothing else would. This may do the trick!

scrapeSECOND: If you need to go deeper than the Eraser Pad, use fine steel wool or fine sandpaper (150-180 grit). Always sand in the direction of the grain.

THIRD: If the burn is even deeper, use a new X-Acto razor blade, at an angle, and scrape away the burn, working in the direction of the grain. Be very careful not to gouge the wood! Once the burn is removed, smooth the surface with fine sandpaper.

FOURTH: Now it’s time to restore the color and finish. This step will require a little trial and error to match the wood color. First try a Tung Oil or Linseed Oil. Rub it in, in the direction of the grain, following product instructions. A wood oil like this may restore the color and even finish you need, but if the oil is not dark enough, match the wood color with a product like Minwax® Wood Finish™ or Minwax® Wood Finish™ Stain Markers (for a smaller repair). Their stain color choices are vast and you’re certain to find one that matches.

minwax hardwood colors

Follow the stain product instructions, remembering that the longer the stain sits, the deeper the color will be.

Depending on the shininess of the rest of your floor, you may want to finish the patch with a product like Minwax® Wipe-On Poly. I like this product because wiping it on with a cloth avoids any brush marks.

Remember, Cynthia, the goal of this project is to get the floor looking better than it was. It may not be perfect, but a far cry better than the visual reminder and eyesore of a flat iron oopsey!

Have fun fixin’!

PS – For even more info about hardwood floor maintenance and repair, check out one of my previous Fix-it Friday column articles – “Hardwood Floor Problems? Not So Hard!

Norma sig

Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.


  • Morgan

    Will this work with manufactured hardwood as well?

    • Norma

      Hey Morgan! When you say “manufactured hardwood” I’m assuming you mean engineered. To answer your question…it depends on how thick the veneer is on your floor. The thicker the veneer, the more aggressive you can get with the repair (according to how deep the scorch is).

      If you know the manufacturers of your floor, contact the company or search on line to find out the veneer thickness…and find out what they recommend for a scorch.

      Here’s a link to Fix-it Friday I wrote discussing engineered hardwood floors

      Let us know how it goes!

  • Morgan

    Hello Morgan,

    I had a small stove fire in kitchen that scorched wood cabinets. They have laminate on them and they’re repairable. The burn isn’t deep but you can tell they’re scorched and see how the laminate was burned off (peeled type look). I am a renter and planning on moving in next year. Would like to repair cabinets myself. Can you tell me what I should do.

    Thank you

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