How to Repair a Hardwood Floor

A leaky roof or plumbing can ruin a hardwood floor forever. If the water damage isn’t too bad, you may be able to sand out the mess. Most of the time it’s impossible. Removing a damaged piece of hardwood flooring can be next to impossible if you’ve never done it before and it may be best to leave it up to a professional. Even if you get the flooring out, and reinstall it, staining and varnishing it to match it may not work.

So how do you remove a hardwood floor panel without destroying the whole floor? Hardwood flooring is installed from side of the room to the other interlocking each other with tongue and groove edges. It’s hard to remove one piece in the middle of the floor when the whole floor is attached to that piece. Great care is needed when you begin to remove a piece of hardwood floor. Start be masking off the area surrounding the boo boo with blue painters tape and a drop cloth. This will stop you from accidentally destroying other parts of the floor from tools and debris.

Next use a circular saw to cut about 1/3 of the center out of the damaged piece. Set the depth of the saw so that you don’t cut through the sub floor. Typically, a Ã?¼ inch at a time will prevent you from going through the sub floor. Use a router or chisel and carefully remove the part where the saw doesn’t cut through the floor entirely. Now slide the two pieces of the hardwood floor together to remove the tongue and groove from the existing floor.

Whew! A lot of hard work is involved in the first step, and if you made it this far without destroying the rest of the floor, you’re almost half way home. Getting the new piece of flooring in place is even trickier. You first need to cut the backside of the groove off and remove the tongue. Don’t cut off to much, you only have about a papers thickness of play. Drill several small pilot holes into the new piece of flooring. Drive in flooring finish nails into the new piece but don’t drive them all the way in yet. Use these nails protruding to handle the wood and to help it fit into the space. Make sure you use flooring finish nails and not regular finish nails. Flooring finish nails have a wider head that prevents the wood from cracking and splitting. If it fits, nail it in place and set the nails using a nail punch.

If you made it this far without calling a professional, then you doing great! Your half way there now. Alls that is left is finishing the wood with stains and varnish that matches. The best advice I can give on this matter is to simply use several test pieces and try a few different stains and varnishes until you get a match. If you go right into it and start staining and it doesn’t match you’ll have to start all over again. Good luck! Replacing a hardwood floor is one of the toughest home improvement projects you can do!

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