Repair Solid Wood Flooring Successfully
Whilst solid wood is one of the most robust flooring solutions on the planet it will, through time, require some degree of maintenance and repair to help it keep its pristine good looks.
If you are looking around your floor right now and can notice those small flaws that perhaps you first saw a month or two ago, and which have now become more pronounced, then why not treat your solid wood flooring to a happy new year with an inexpensive makeover?
Most flaws on flooring occur due to burns (especially on kitchen floors), scrapes, gouges, heel marks and discolouration. All of these flaws can be either eradicated or sizably reduced using a little bit of know-how and a determined attitude!
It is probably best that you have at least some DIY knowledge before starting out (don’t make the care and repair of your wood flooring your first attempt at carpentry!). All the tools you need for basic wood floor repair will most likely be in your toolbox. These are: chisel, hammer, scraper, nails, sanding paper, wood filler and flat edged knife (Stanley). Anything else you might require should be easily available in any DIY store and be relatively inexpensive.
Minor repairs you can do yourself
If you have faint scratch lines caused by children’s toys or pets’ claws or nails then you could probably conceal it by using a putty crayon that matches the floor colour. Apply this gently (less is more) and rub in with a soft lint-free cloth. Do this as many times as required until the scratches disappear. Be aware, however, that this is not a long-term solution and it is more than likely that the scratches will eventually reappear. It is a good temporary solution though, and frequent applications will keep your floor looking good for months to come.
For small spot burns use a flat bladed knife along with a piece of steel wool dipped in plain water. Gently rub at the marks and use the knife for crusty edges. When the burn mark has been completely removed you can finish off by treating the area to a sanding with the finest grade of sand paper before applying the appropriate finishing to match the rest of the room. Then lightly polish with a dry duster when the area has completely dried.
If you discover uneven or rotted planks that need to be repositioned or replaced, you can do this by sourcing new or reclaimed planking as close as possible match to the floor. The damaged board should be eased from position by using a chisel and jemmy bar. Before attending to lift the plank make sure to drill holes along the damaged section. Don’t worry if this part of the process is slow – this is exacting work that must be carefully undertaken in order to avoid damaging the surrounding planks.
When the old plank is out then you can cut and fit the new planking to fit, or if repositioning is all that is necessary then examine the area carefully for the source of the wood shifting before returning the plank to its place. Either way, when the gap has been filled then hold in place with wood adhesive and nails (usually 2” ring shank) and the job is completed.
If the floor has warped or risen in areas then it may be fixed by wetting the wood and placing a heavy item on the warped area (stone or cinder block works best). Leave the weight in place for two or three days before moving. If the warp is slight it should have disappeared. If the warp is more serious then you may have to remove and replace the boards.