How I Wrecked My Hardwood Floors (and How I Fixed Them)

. 6 min read

A few months ago we purchased a new jute area rug for our living room. It replaced a colorful geometric wool dhurrie rug from West Elm that I ended up selling on Craigslist. I wanted something more neutral to calm the room down, and I loved that the jute added so much texture and a natural element to our living room.

What I didn't anticipate was the damage it would cause to my newly refinished hardwood floors...

How I wrecked my hardwood floors and fixed them

The previous rug was only 8'x10' and had a thin rug pad under it. I thought about buying a rug pad for the new, larger jute rug, but thought that it wasn't worth it as it was a such a thick, durable rug, and it didn't really need any extra padding. Plus I always thought that buying good quality rug pads was a bit of a waste of money—I'd rather spend my money on something that you can actually see.

Big Mistake.

Because it wasn't the rug that needed the pad—it was the floors.

We are still pretty fresh into home ownership and I guess you find these things out by making stupid mistakes, but it turns out that scratchy jute rugs and freshly refinished hardwoods do not mix. (I'm sure there are some hardwood floor specialists out there who are rolling their eyes right now.)

In the run up to Christmas I just happened to turn up a corner of the rug to clean under it and was pretty dismayed to see dull stripes on the floor in the same pattern as the rug. On closer inspection I could see that this was damage to the finish of the floor, rather than marks that I could clean off.

(A quick aside: in our previous home, we used some cheap non-slip rug pads that left marks on our hardwood floors, but luckily we were able to remove the evidence with Goo Gone. Thank goodness—because it was a rental so they weren't even our floors!)

Back to our current house. And these were the pictures I took of our hardwood floors when I realized what had happened to them:

Damage to hardwood floors caused by jute rug - That Homebird Life Blog

Damage to hardwood floors caused by jute rug - That Homebird Life Blog


So, the first thing I did was buy one of these felt rug pads from Amazon (better late than never, right?) but I also wanted to try and fix the damage to the floor under the rug. Because even if the rug was covering it up, I would still know that it was there (that's just the way my brain works...)

I did some research and came across this polyurethane finisher by Zep, and based on the good reviews thought it was definitely worth a try.

So, once the Christmas decorations were all packed out of the way and the kids were back at school, I set to work moving all the furniture and rolling up the rug in preparation.

Before applying the product, I gave the floors a thorough vacuum and mop. Then to refinish the floors it was just a case of squirting the Zep on the floor and spreading it in a thin, even layer using a dry mop. I chose to use my microfiber mop with a disposable mop pad, so that I could just throw out the pad when I was done. It was super quick and easy to apply—truly the most difficult part of the process was moving the furniture.

And the Result?

I applied two coats of the refinisher with a 30 minute dry time in between each coat, and then let it dry for a few hours. After the second coat, the finish looked so much better. There are still a few faint rug marks, but only if you know what you are looking for.

shiny hardwood floors

It's not a miracle product, but it's pretty darn close. Easy application, a quick dry time, and a far cheaper alternative to calling in a professional. All in all, not a bad result for a $20 investment!

So. I've learned my lesson that a quality rug pad is NOT a waste of money if you like your floors. But I've also learned that hardwoods can be spruced up without needing a specialist.

And now every time I walk on my newly padded rug, I smile and know that my shiny floors are perfectly safe underneath. And that's pretty magical.

Related: The Evolution of Our Layered and Cozy Living Room

Recommended Products

If, like me, you need an easy, inexpensive fix for your hardwood floors, then these products may help. It's certainly worth a try, and it's much cheaper than calling in a professional:

Zep Hardwood & Laminate Floor Refinisher
Microfiber Spray Mop
Disposable Mop Pads

If I had known that my hardwood floors were going to get scratched by the jute rug, then I would have invested in one of these rug pads before putting it down. (Hindsight is a wonderful thing...) They are extremely high quality, protect your floors from scratches and dirt, and they add extra cushion to the rug:

100% Felt Rug Pads


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Felt rug pad - That Homebird Life Blog

Living room with layered rugs - That Homebird Life Blog

Living room with layered rugs - That Homebird Life Blog

Update: I have since purchased lots more of the felt rug pads from Amazon for other rooms in my home and I can't recommend them highly enough! They may seem like a big investment upfront but they really do protect your hardwood floors. Another bonus is that they also make the rug so much squishier—which is especially good for a thinner rug like a wool dhurrie or a cotton flatweave. They have my seal of approval for sure!!

How I wrecked my hardwood floors and fixed them

Jude Green

Welcome—I'm so glad you're here! I'm Jude, originally from England and now living in Jacksonville, FL with my husband and two girls. Follow along as we build our next home from the ground up.



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