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The floor is made up of solid oak not engineered.

It was factory coated from new. The wear has been caused by an office chair. I would like to avoid if possible a whole room sanding as this would be a huge job. The rest of the floor is in pretty good condition so I assume the original finish was thickly coated at the factory. It has never been sanded or re varnished. The greyness in the photo is presumably ingrained dirt Any suggestions

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    Doing just a small section will leave it looking like a patch. For now I would clean it well and use a sealer/finish. Use a floor protector where the chair goes. In the future you can get the whole floor refinish.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 13:46
  • FYI, this would also be a good time to replace the casters on your chair with rubber wheel style casters. They roll smoother and won't destroy your floor. Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 13:48
  • You could sand and refinish the affected boards, but matching the color and sheen could be difficult.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 16:29
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    The labor cost in carefully doing a spot repair that doesn't look hideous will easily exceed the cost of just doing the whole room, for typical residential sized rooms. Unless there is some unique circumstance forbidding that, doing the whole room is easier. Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 18:53

2 Answers 2

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It looks like the timber itself is abraided. There is no nice looking, easy fix.

  1. You can coat it with stain or paint that was used before. You can ask teh supplier for details. The damage will still be visible but will be less obvious.
  2. Put a rug, a mat or a plastic chair mat on it.
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    An area rug will both hide the damage and prevent further wear... But I tend to agree that this looks like refinishing the whole floor is your best bet if you want the floor to be consistent
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 14:02
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    A plastic chair protection mat will hide the problem and stop the damage from getting worse. Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 14:13
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The problem with sanding just one area is that you then have to make the finish and texture of that newly exposed wood match the stuff that has been walked on for decades... and get a soft transition between the two at the edges, which may be even harder. If you don't get it exactly right, the damage may still be visible; humans are darned good pattern detectors.

On the other hand, you already have some variation from board to board, which makes that a natural place for a mismatch. If you refinish the entire damaged board, you might be able to get a "good enough" color match to not look odd. I'd still recommend first trying your proposed finishing regimen on scrap... and perhaps aiming for gradually approaching the desired color using a weak/diluted tint so you can find tune it. The refinished boards still won't look exactly like the worn boards, but it should at least look like a legitimate repair. If you want a consistent sheen you may still be looking at screening the entire floor and putting down a new later across the whole thing, which is less drastic than a complete refinishing.

On the other hand, if you can afford to have the room emptied for a week, a complete refinishing may actually be easier than the board-by-board idea. See discussion elsewhere of what's involved in that.

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