As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
I installed this hardwood floor in our home back in 2008. This particular room serves mostly as an office -- my wife and I have our desks here. I knew that office chairs are hard on floors, so I wanted to protect the floor as much as possible. Thefore we installed these vinyl floor mats over the hardwood floor.
This was a huge mistake. I'm thinking that the chairs would have done less damage if we had not used mats at all.
The problem is that no matter how clean your house is, you still will track in some litle bits of dirt and grit. This grit gathers along the edge of the mat and gradually works it's way uner the mat. The mat is not glued down, after all, it is laying loosely on the floor.
Then as you walk on the mat, and as you sit on your chair and roll around on the mat, this grit acts like sandpaper under the mat and grinds down the inish of the hardwood floor.
The worst damage is right along the edges of the mat. There was a band about 2" wide where you can see how the mat has ground down right into the flooring.
I am going to try and spot-refinish the floor. We could try removing some of the worst section of floor and patching in new wood, but that is a much larger job than I want to tackle. This floor covers about 2/3 of our main floor and we are not about to strip and refinish the whole thing. I am hoping that some localized sanding and refinishing should result in a much better looking floor.
Look closely at this photo and note the small black dots. Those are little bits of grit that has been embedded in the floor. I had to work my way along with a sharp awl and pick out these little bits and wipe them away. Otherwise we would end up with black dots in the finish.
I first tried scraping the worst areas with a razor blade. I had seen this as a method when searching online. It worked somewhat okay, but would probably be more suited to less prominent scratches.
I then used 220-grit sandpaper to scuff up the surface. I used it lightly across the middle section, where there was not much damage. I used it a lot more agressively along the edges where the scratches were deep.
I then vacuumed up the dust and washed the floor and allowed it to dry thoroughly.
We have a "clear oak" floor, so we don't have to worry about trying to match stain colour.
(next photos) I used a waterbased polyurethane (Rustoleum Varathane) floor finish. It it milky white in the can, but dries crystal clear. It dries in about one hour, and you can recoat it in two (or three) hours. I am just spot-refinishing, so I use a foam brush to apply the finish
I applied four or five coats to the areas that we were refinishing. (four coats over most of the area, and a fifth coat just over the heaviest scratches)
I think that it turned out quite well. It is by no means "perfect" or "brand new" looking, but I was expecting that at all. I can still see the worst of the scratches if I look for them. I'm hoping that some of the colour will blend in with the rest of the floor with time and UV exposure.
Bear in mind that we have hardwood flooring throughout the main floor of the house and there are normal wear scuffs and scratches there as well. It is a floor and I expect it to show some wear over the years.
So, how am I going to prevent this from re-occuring? We have bought these kits of soft rubber wheels for all of our office chairs. They are available on amazon (link below) and probably elsewhere. They are a softer rubber and should cause much less wear and damage on the floor. (I'm not naive enough to expect them to cause NO damage, I'm just expecting LESS damage.)
I could not find an exact match for the particular type of floor finish I used on Amazon. Instead, here is a link to a more general Amazon search: Varathane Floor Finish (which does include other floor finish options from the same company). However, just for completeness, here is a link to the actual Rustoleum Canada product page for the finish I used.
Thanks for reading!