Creases in wood floors

What are creases in  wood floors, as opposed to scratches?

A crease is where you might say the wood is ‘dented’, and this dent extends along a board or across several boards.  Creases usually arent as obvious as scratches can be, but quite often you can see them when the light is hitting the floor at the right angle.

What causes creases?  Creases in wood floors are most often caused by something heavy being dragged or rolled across the floor.  The most common culprit is a heavy piece of furniture where the legs of the furnitre concentrate all their weight down onto the floor, so that when the piece of furniture is dragged, it is pressing into the wood grain with the added force of the velocity of the drag.

It is rare for a piece of furniture to be so heavy that it can crease or dent the wood all by itself, without the additional force of being dragged, but you can see this creasing or denting effect on wood floors most often from upright pianos, which concentrate all their weight on the brass wheels beneath them.

Some of the worst creases I’ve ever seen on wood floors have been from refrigerators being rolled out from their installed positions out into the middle of a wooden kitchen floor.  This normally wouldn’t be a problem even with something as heavy as a refrigerator, but when it is being dragged across the grain instead of with the grain, quite often it creases the wood.  To keep this from happening, roll the refrigerator out onto a long sheet of plywood, instead of directly onto the floor.

If  a  wood floor has a good number of creases in it, it can be rather unsightly, but the only way to get rid of them is to sand the wood floor flat, to under the level of the creases themselves.  This can be a rather harsh treatment of a wood floor just to get some creases out.

The main way that we deal with creases in wood floors is, as part of the Worn Wood Magic process, to use a lower gloss finish as a topcoat for the wood.  The lower the sheen of the finish that is on the floor, then the less imperfections in the wood, such as creases, show up – even when sunlight is bouncing off the wood floor at an angle in the afternoon.

This seems to work well for almost all creases, and if anything else needs to be done with them, more often than not it is simply a good idea to break up the line of the crease by putting a rug or a piece of furniture on top of it so that, once again, it doesn’t really catch the eye anymore.

The best thing to do with creases in wood floors is to do what you can to prevent them from happening in the first place.  If you are going to move very heavy furniture, then try to pick it up instead of dragging it.  If it is so heavy it has to be dragged, then drag it on top of very thick padding, slowly,  just as slowly as you can, and stop every little while and make sure aren’t creasing the wood.

If it seems that you are in danger of creasing the wood, then increase the thickness of your padding and/or slow down your dragging.  Another thing you can do is to change the angle that you are dragging the piece of furniture, taking it across at more of a diagonal, instead of directly across the grain of the wood.

So with creases in wood floors, the best thing to do is to use a lower sheen finish – we use Satin finish which is a very beautiful shine and tends to de-emphasize imperfections in the wood.  Also break up the eye-line of the crease of the wood with pieces of furniture and rugs.  Try to pick up furniture to move it, to keep creases from happening in the first place.