Replacing Damaged Hardwood Floor Boards
LESLIE: Got Mike who needs some help with a flooring project. What’s going on at your money pit?
MIKE: I’ve got an older house; built in the 40s. It’s got original hardwood floors in it.
MIKE: The previous owner had put that laminate flooring on it and it had been damaged; and so we pulled that up. And underneath the hardwood floor, most of it is in pretty good shape but there are a few sections where there is some obvious termite damage and there’s one or two floorboards – not floorboards but pieces of hardwood that have been just taken out and they’ve filled in with some other kind of wood just to kind of cover the hole.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Sure.
MIKE: So I’m wondering if piece by piece if it can be kind of pulled out and replaced or if I need to take out a whole big section like that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, absolutely. No, not at all. Not a problem. Pretty easy fix for a good carpenter. What you do is you take a circular saw and you set the depth at whatever the hardwood floor is – so let’s assume it’s 3/4″. You do a couple of plunge cuts into the boards you want to remove – you know, put a couple of slices in it parallel to the grain – and then you start breaking it apart; you know, a little bit of chisel work and basically extracting that piece of wood – sort of surgically extracting it from the floor.
And then you take the new hardwood and – it’s probably oak; is that correct?
MIKE: Yeah, it looks like oak I think.
TOM: Yeah, it’s typically oak. And when you put the floor back together, you may have to adjust the tongue and the groove. Sometimes you have to cut off the bottom part of the groove so you can overlap the old board, if you know what I mean, and lock it down there. You may have to use a couple of screws to face screw it right through the board into the floor, then cover that with a plug.
When you’re all said and done, if you do a nice, neat job, it’ll look good; it’ll be all well-adjusted and sitting together nicely. You’re going to have to, at that point, sand it probably to match the height of the other floor and refinish it. And even after you do all that, you probably will see a color differentiation between the new wood and the old wood; however, that will fade over the next year or two and then it will look very even.
MIKE: OK, so I’ll probably have to – I’m planning on refinishing the whole floor anyway; so when I sand that down, that’ll even it out.
TOM: Well, the sanding will even it out but just remember, there’s still going to be a color differentiation; unless you decide to stain the whole thing, which is – you know, it’s OK if you want to change the color. But if you don’t stain it, remember; you’ll have one that’s a little more red, one that’s a little more white. It’ll look almost stripy but eventually it will fade and match.