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How To Repair Scratches on Painted Surfaces

The appearance of scratches and gouges in painted surfaces can be alleviated, whether they occur on wood, walls or otherwise. Repairing the appearance of the scratches and gouges will help renew the look of painted surfaces on walls, furniture and other objects.

Before any attempts are made to fill in scratches and gouges, prepare the painted surface with a light overall cleansing. Depending on the size of the area in question, mix a lightly sudsy solution of between 1 quart and 1 gallon of water and a mild pH neutral dish liquid like Dawn or Ivory. Use a sponge to clean the area. Try to avoid over wetting, and allow the painted surface to dry thoroughly. Depending on the material, thorough drying can take up to 24 hours.

Once the painted area is clean and dry, use a filler appropriate to the base material to fill in the scratch or gouge and create a level surface. Common examples of filler are spackle for painted plaster walls, stone filler, and liquid concrete. Repairing wood is especially simple, as wood filler is available in crayon and stick form. Fillers can be selected to match the larger surface. Apply the filler according to the manufacturer's instructions. Building up layers of filler gradually, and continuously wiping away excess filler from outside the perimeter of the scratch or gouge with a blunt instrument and a damp cloth is an effective technique for achieving a level surface.

Allow the filler to dry thoroughly before evaluating the color match between the filled scratch and the rest of the surface. Filling agents can darken or lighten as they cure. If the match between the filler and the surface is inadequate, use as narrow a brush as possible to paint the filler with a matching paint using a feathering stroke. Color matching services for new paint and existing samples are available at many hardware and home stores. Keep in mind that the appearance of paint can change as it lightens or darkens, and is somewhat dependent on the surface on which it is painted. Test any material and paint in an inconspicuous area before applying to a wider area. A scratch or gouge that has been filled and re-painted may still be slightly visible to close scrutiny by those who know the location, but will be well camouflaged from normal viewing distance.

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area. Accidental inhalation or ingestion of cleaning agents can be hazardous and even fatal, particularly to pets and children.

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