How to fix dog scratches on a wood

Ruff to refurbished: How to fix unsightly dog scratches on a wood door.

As much as we love coming home to a dog that’s genuinely happy to see us, we cringe at the sight of doggy-induced scratches on our expensive wooden doors, especially if the dog in question is built like a horse and the scratches are at eye level.

Luckily, there’s no reason to get rid of the door or the dog. Just like other scratches and dings on your favourite wood furniture, a little bit of know-how and elbow grease can get it back to former glory in no time.

It’s important to note that the method we’ll be discussing here works best for light to medium scratches. If your door has been subjected to dog-nail abuse over an extended period of time and the scratches run deep or the wood grain has begun to fray, we recommend contacting a wood restoration expert to take a look at it.


Step 1: Identify all the scratches to fix; get the tools & materials

Before you run off and buy tools and materials, we recommend checking all your wooden doors for scratches to repair. If the front door is scratched enough that you want to repair it, you should consider fixing other scratched wood surfaces that match in colour and stain.

Light surface scratches of less than 1mm deep on a wooden door or other wooden furniture are very easy to fix. Since you don’t have to refill any missing material in the wood, it’s just a matter of recolouring the offending area and blending it as perfectly as possible with the rest of the door. There are three common methods for doing this, the last also being suitable for bigger and deeper scratches:

Sanding and staining

Sanding down the area with a high-grit sandpaper and applying a matching stain is a surefire way to hide a surface scratch, but your stain has to match perfectly or it’ll forever be an eyesore. This technique can be daunting as it involves buying a brush, stain, thinners to clean the brush, and sandpaper. This technique is recommended for people who have experience applying wood stains and can guarantee a good match.

Pen- and wax pencil-type wood furniture scratch repair kit

There are a number of different home wood furniture repair kits available in shops and online. The pen and wax pencil types are probably the easiest to use, as the entire process is nothing more than painting over the scratches with a matching pen or pencil and buffing the area with a high-fibre cloth. These are the easiest methods, but not the best. Since they come in a limited number of colours and can’t be mixed, they sometimes don’t match the furniture, leaving you unsatisfied with the results.

Resin repair filler kit

Resin repairs are suitable for repairing small to medium scratches in wood furniture. Unlike the other two options, they first fill up or replace the missing material in the wood, then you apply the surface finish. Resin repair kits also allow you to mix the different colours before applying it to the scratches – allowing you to perfectly match the colour on the spot. Since the biggest problem with options 1 and 2 is colour matching, this is a win for this method that works for both small and bigger scratches.

The rest of this article will focus on using a resin repair filler kit.

If the surface you’re repairing has a clear coat, grab yourself a can of clear spray finish and move on to step 2.


Step 2: Prepare the area and apply resin wood filler

Repairs work better when everything is clean and dry. Before even opening the repair kit, ensure that the scratches and surrounding area are dust-, dirt-, and oil-free and dry.

Gently squeeze the filler material into the scratch, moving in a pushing motion. You’re effectively trying to fill the hole and then level it off using the plastic spatula in the kit (a putty knife would also work). For very thin scratches, apply tiny droplets along the scratch, then run the spatula along the scratch to fill it in. For deeper scratches, ensure that you use enough filler material so that it runs flush with the surface after you scrape off the excess.

Use a damp cloth to wipe off any excess filler material around the repair area.


Step 3: Mixing and applying the finish

Now that the scratch has been filled up, the last step is to match the surface finish with the surrounding area. If you’re lucky enough, one of the standard colours in the resin repair filler kit will already match your door. Don’t sweat it if it doesn’t, though. These kits always come with a mixing guide that shows you how to mix pretty much any wood colour using no more than two colours. Mix the colours that will best match your door or furniture on a piece of cardboard, a plastic cup, or anything else disposable.

Using a small paintbrush (sometimes included in the kit, so check), carefully paint over your newly-filled surface. Keep in mind that the colour will lighten slightly as it dries, but not much. If it looks just a smidge too dark when you’re painting the surface, don’t be tempted to immediately make it lighter and apply another coat. Let it dry and examine the results. If it really isn’t what you wished for, you can always sand it down and try again.

If your door or furniture is lacquered, give it a spray of clearcoat using short bursts of spray in a well-ventilated area.


When to leave it to the pros

Small and thin to medium-sized dog- or other pet scratches in wooden doors and other furniture can easily be fixed using a number of methods, each with its own pros and cons. However, the difficulty involved scales with the size of the scratch.

If your door has been scratched up over a period of years to the extent that a large area of the door is basically a giant scratch, or the edges of the door have started to fray or come loose because of pet claws, consider contacting surface repair professionals.

Evenly filling and colour-matching a large area and dealing with fraying wood can be tricky – and mistakes can be expensive and ugly.

WeRestoreSurfaces has years of experience, know-how, and all the professional tools and materials to repair any and all wood scratches and finishes. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help restore your doors and/or couches back to new.










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