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smile1's avatar

How do I fix a wooden floor board?

Asked by smile1 (488 points ) June 13th, 2010

I have this plank of wood on my wooden floor that has gotten pretty bad. The wood around it is in okay condition, so I dont want to have to change the entire floor. Is there a way I can change that plank, so that it doesn’t look so bad?

Here is a picture of it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51126462@N04/4697117329/

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17 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Is there access to that part of the floor from beneath? If it were mine I would try to turn it over. no problems of fit, no problems of matching grain.

Edit: I asked about getting to it from underneath because that way it will be easier to get it up without breaking it.

smile1's avatar

There isn’t much access to the floor from beneath…

dpworkin's avatar

Then you have to remove the baseboard from the head and foot of that blank. and then gently loosen it with a skinny pry-bar all along the length, pound back the nails and carefully pull them (they look like forged nails, so save them for re-use) then flip the plank and nail it back down. Make sure the nails are going into the joists. (You can mark with a chalk-line where the joists are after you uncover them.)

MissA's avatar

Another thought…since the floor looks as if it could use a bit of refinishing, you might want to consider sanding the room down and varnishing or polyurethaning it. If you need to match it to existing hard wood floors, you can add stain.

It’s not as big of a project as you think, if you are handy at all. The results will be worth it.

dpworkin's avatar

That looks like softwood to me.

majorrich's avatar

I was told that at one time a clear pine floor was considered more luxurious and preferable than an Oak or Chestnut floor. I have a difficult time believing that. But I wasn’t around then so can only parrot what I am told.

dpworkin's avatar

@majorrich Don’t forget: when the colonists were building early American homes they were using first-growth lumber, and a broad plank of clear pine is and was a rare and beautiful thing. The English hadn’t seen that in 400 years.

MissA's avatar

@majorrich I have an older home with most rooms being oak. I put rough slate in the kitchen when it was renovated. However, the addition has clear pine flooring. Pine is also on the walls and ceiling, though I wanted a lot of knot holes for interest. That’s great until you’re wondering whether something you see is a knot or a summer bug.

That’s interesting @dpworkin.

dpworkin's avatar

It’s one of the ways that antiquarians identify American vs English furniture: the backboards on the chest and tall-case pieces are assembled of joined pieces of secondary woods, generally softwoods, while the American ones only needed one big slab o’ pine.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

If you sand down the entire floor and refinish, as it seems to need, you may not need to do anything else with that plank.

dpworkin's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Take a good look at the photo, and you will see how far he would have to take down the whole floor to erase the damage. What a waste of time and wood. So much easier to flip the damned board.

Seek's avatar

Yikes. That board’s seen some action!

Absolutely, @dpworkin has it. I’m answering this right now so I can follow it. When my husband is home, I’ll ask his input on how exactly one would do such a board replacement. He does hardwood installation, sand and refinishing for a living, and specializes in antique floor restoration.

It looks like it buts up to the wall, and runs underneath the trim. Is that right? and do you know offhand what type of wood it is?

dpworkin's avatar

Looks like pine to me, as we have been discussing.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

If the plank is tongue-and-groove, you’ll have to tear up as much as half the flooring to get it out and turn it over. A lot of work.

I was suggesting a cheaper alternative; sand down the entire floor (which needs it), fill the remaining gouges in that plank with a matching or clear epoxy, then refinish the whole floor. The repairs will be visible, but old things are expected to show signs of their age.

dpworkin's avatar

Those aren’t tongue-and-groove or I wouldn’t have suggested it. Look at the picture. They are just butted and nailed down.

smile1's avatar

Thanks for all the great responses!! Im terribly sorry for not responding! I was gone for a vacation!
Im pretty handy with fixing stuff and building stuff around the house, but Ive never worked with flooring before…
Many of you have stated to jsut sand it all down and restain it. Sure it needs it, but for the moment, I want to take care of that piece. As @dpworkin said, To do that, I would have to sand down most of the floor…and that would be a waste of time and wood.
@dpworkin, I cant seem to find nails? Do i take off the trim holding it down next to the wall, and see what I can get to from there with a crowbar?
@Seek_Kolinahr, If you could get your husband for input that would so wonderful! the wood does run under the trim. Im not quite sure what kind of wood it is though…

dpworkin's avatar

The nails are forged, and don’t have round heads like the ones you are accustomed to. I see them in the picture, so I know they are there. Save them for re-use.

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