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When you have hardwood floors with a coating or sealant of aluminum oxide, they require special care and maintenance. While it’s possible to refinish these floors like traditional hardwood floors, it’s best to keep them protected as much as possible so they last longer. It’s also easier to spot repair these floors than it is to strip and re-finish them.
Before you attempt to fix a scratch in an aluminum oxide floor, first clean the affected area thoroughly with water and a dry cloth. Then wipe the surface of the wood in an inconspicuous location with a product that contains acetone (e.g. nail polish remover). This will help you determine what type of finish is on the wood – oil, shellac or polyurethane.
Using the right tool for the job will make your repair easier and faster. We recommend a wood mastic removal block for buffers with a 16” head, such as the American Sanders RS-16. This will remove mastic, carpet-back and even the aluminum oxide without damaging the underlying hardwood. Using this tool is also much more efficient than starting with 50-grit sandpaper, and working your way up to the bare wood.
The reason prefinished flooring scratches so boldly is that the aluminum oxide is baked on at the manufacturer and won’t be buffed off during refinishing. In fact, some manufacturers use large amounts of aluminum oxide in their base coats in order to give the impression that the finish is harder and can withstand heavy traffic, so they can offer long warranty periods.