How to Patch a Wood Floor Using Tongue-and-Groove Boards
Wood floors can really bring a room to life. They can help to create an atmosphere of warmth and comfort. Troubles can arise, however, when the topcoat of the wood wears through. Without a topcoat, liquids are able to soak into the pores of the wood and leave a stain that's impossible to get out. You could try to sand down below the stain, but if the stain is deep enough, sanding will create an undesirable depression in the floor.
So, in the case of stained or badly scratched or chipped boards, the best way to return your wood floor to pristine condition is to cut out the damaged portion of the floor and replace them with fresh, new boards.
What You Will Need
- Sharp chisel
- Measurement device
- Utility knife
- Scraping tool
- Wood glue
Removing the Damaged Boards
Because tongue-and-groove boards are locked in place, you will have to cut out the middle of the damaged boards. If the damage does not extend the entire length of the board, you can cut out just that section. To do this, take the new board and place it so that it completely covers the damaged portion. Then use the utility knife to cut into the damaged board to create two border marks at both ends of the new board.
Now, use the drill to bore 1-inch diameter holes throughout the length of the damaged board. Make sure your holes are made in the center of the board and that they don't go through the subfloor.
Next, take the chisel and place it in the score line you made with your utility knife. With the chisel completely straight up in the air, take the hammer and give the chisel a hard tap, using the side of the hammer head. Once you've deepened the score line at both ends of the damaged section, take the chisel and place it at the end of the damaged section so that it's about an inch away from the score line. Then tilt the chisel to about a 60-degree angle and hammer the chisel to the score line.
Once you've chiseled enough of the board away, you should be able to tap the chisel at a slight angle at the score line to undercut the bottom of the board. Doing this will ensure that there won't be any pieces left to interfere with the new board going in.
Now, take the chisel and hammer it down the center of the damaged board to split it into two pieces. The holes that you drilled along the board should help with this process. Once the damaged board is in two pieces, take the chisel and hammer each piece towards the space where the center once was. This should allow you to get the damaged pieces out of the tongue and groove of the neighboring boards.
Replacing the Board
After the board has been completely removed, clean out all of the broken wood chips from the removed section. If you're just replacing a single board, you'll likely have to cut the bottom section of the groove to make a rabbeted, or L-groove. This will allow the grooved section of the board to lay on top of the tongue of the neighboring board.
To do this, take your pencil and mark off the section of the groove to be cut. Then take the chisel and hammer to remove the bottom portion of the groove. After you've removed this section, use the chisel to smooth the edge so that it's free of any splinters.
Before you set the new board in place, check to make sure the board has the correct width so that it fits in the slot perfectly. If the board is too wide in some section, shave it down with a scraping tool.
Once the width is good, squeeze some wood glue on the top of the tongue of the board that is already part of the floor. Now, take the new board and set the tongue side into the groove of the neighboring board. To make sure not to damage the new board, take a piece of scrap wood and place it up against the new board. Then hammer the new board into the groove by pounding the scrap piece of wood.
Once it's in the groove, place the scrap wood on top of the new board and hammer the rabbeted side down so that the board is firmly in place.
Sanding and Finishing
With the new board in place, take the sander with fine sandpaper (320 grit paper or so) and sand the repaired section. Once the surface is nice and smooth, vacuum the area.
Now it's time to use urethane to give the wood a nice finish. You can either use a spray or a can of liquid urethane and spread it across the surface with a foam brush. You should put about 5 coats in total on the section, waiting for an hour between coats. Keep a window open to prevent the smell of the urethane from spreading throughout the house. You should also wear a mask while using the urethane to prevent you from directly breathing it in.
If you don't feel like patching the floor yourself, give us a call at 678-697-0710. We'll get your floors looking better than ever.