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My hardwood floors are 7 years old but only have some sporadic surface scratches and only very few spots scratches broke through the surface into the wood. These stand out because the stain is dark and the wood stands out where the stain is missing. I applied some stain on the spots that generated the wood.

Rather then add polyurethane on only these deep scratches that I stained, can I do a light sanding with a pole sander then apply polyurethane everywhere? I am not interested in a big sanding job and sanding could accidently go too deep passed the veneer.

My concern is that it looks great on a test sample, but peels in a year.

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  • You can't just add poly in a spot... well you can but will look like a child did your floors. Poly needs to be spread thin and even and sanded correctly or you are in for a mess. If you are looking for poly to cover up scratches in a few circles... wrong way out.
    – DMoore
    Commented Apr 26 at 6:11

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It depends on a lot of factors. Usually, hardwood is not stained before adding poly, so if you do a light landing on the whole floor and then add poly to the whole room, the scratches will end up the same color as the rest of the floor.

What I think you are trying to avoid is using a drum sander to bring the floors back to bare wood. This is usually not necessary, and in my opinion, left to experts. It's really easy to damage the floor with a drum sander. Ask me how I know :)

If you have a piece of scrap wood, do a test with a couple of coats of poly. If the floor is old and has many layers of poly and/or stain, I've had good luck mixing about a cup of oil-based stain in a gallon of poly, then applying that mix to the floor. It tends to mask defects well.

As @crip659 said on the comments, make sure you have real hardwood floors, and not engineered hardwood, LVP or any of that other fake stuff. It won't take any sanding.

Good luck.

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