Hardwood floors add character and warmth to a home but are not immune to damage. Whether from furniture mishaps, heavy wear, or accidental gouges, there may come a time when your hardwood floors need to be repaired. And sometimes that damage can be so bad that an entire piece of hardwood needs to be replaced. This is true for both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. The process, while meticulous, can be accomplished with the right tools and a careful approach, ensuring your floor looks as good as the day it was laid. In this tutorial, I’ll show you and explain how to repair hardwood floors by replacing a damaged plank, just like I recently did in my own home.
- Skill saw
- Table saw
- Wood glue
- Tape measure
- Safety glasses
Replacing a Piece of Hardwood Flooring
1. Identifying and Assessing the Damaged Plank
Firstly, locate the plank needing replacement. Assess the extent of the damage and the size of the plank. This step is crucial for understanding the scope of the work and ensuring you cut out only the damaged section.
2. Safety and Preparation
Clear the work area of furniture and other obstacles. Lay down a protective sheet to catch sawdust and debris. Safety is important, so equip yourself with safety glasses and a dust mask to protect against dust and wood particles.
3. Cutting Out the Damaged Section
Using a skill saw, carefully cut a rectangle around the damaged area. It’s essential to set the depth of the saw blade to match the thickness of the plank, thus avoiding damage to the subfloor. For the next step, switch to a multi-tool to navigate tight corners and areas where the skill saw can’t reach. The goal is to make precise cuts without affecting the surrounding planks.
4. Removing the Damaged Plank
Once the cuts are made, gently remove the central cut-out section. Using a hammer and chisel, carefully pry out the remaining pieces of the plank. This step requires patience and a steady hand to avoid damaging the adjacent planks. Once all of the remaining pieces are removed, use pliers to pull out any staples or nails from the subfloor.
5. Preparing the Area for the New Plank
Thoroughly clean out any remaining debris and dust from the space where the old plank was. Since I was gluing down the new piece, I removed the underlayment.
6. Installing the New Plank
Thankfully we had some leftover hardwood from our original install and even a piece that was the same size as the damaged one. However, if you don’t have an exact size match, you will need to measure the now empty space to cut the new piece to length. Once you have your new piece cut, you will need to use a table saw to cut off the tongue of the new piece. This makes it possible to fit it into the gap. Before applying glue, do a dry fit to ensure the plank fits into the space. But don’t put it all the way in as it might be difficult to get back out.
7. Securing the New Plank
Apply a generous amount of wood glue to the subfloor and the sides of the new plank. Carefully place the plank into the gap, ensuring it’s flush and level with the surrounding floor. You will probably need to tap it in by using a hammer and a scrap piece of wood. This prevents you from damaging the edges of the new piece. Any excess glue should be wiped away immediately to avoid residue on the floor surface.
8. Finishing Touches
Allow the glue to dry completely, following the manufacturer’s recommended drying time. This might take several hours or overnight. After the glue has set, clean the area and gently move the furniture back into place.
Replacing a damaged plank in engineered hardwood flooring is a manageable DIY task that can significantly improve the appearance and longevity of your floor. Attention to detail, precise cutting, and careful handling of materials are key to achieving a seamless and professional-looking repair.