Patching Wood Floors

Replacing a section of a finished tongue-and-groove floor is as easy as splitting off the bottom edge of a groove and slipping a new board into place.

A dent, break, or irreparable scratch on hardword floors may be unattractive, but luckily they're easy to fix. Learn how to repair hardwood floors, below, with our step-by-step instructions.

Use the wood floor repair technique shown below for short sections of boards. If the floorboard is very long and most of the board is in good condition, cut out the damaged section of the flooring with a circular saw set to a depth exactly equal to the thickness of the finished flooring. Then pry out the damaged section.

Patching wood flooring is a quicker DIY project than restoring or refinishing hardwood floors. Here's how to fix wood floors without having to completely restain or replace the entire floor.

What You Need

  • New board(s) to match the existing flooring
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Pry bar
  • Nail set and nails
  • Circular saw

Step 1: Bore Holes Across Board

To begin to repair wood floors, start by identifying the board or section of boards that need to be replaced. Using a spade bit, bore holes across the ends and middle of the old board or boards. This will make it easier to get the board up.

Step 2: Split Board

Use a wood chisel to split the board lengthwise between the holes. Use a hammer to bore chisel tip into the wood enough for the board to split. This step my take a few tries to get the board to fully split.

Guide to Basic Carpentry Skills

Step 3: Pry Out Board

For the next step in hardrwood floor repair, slip a pry bar into a split and carefully remove the damaged board. The board may be split into multiple long strips, so it may not all come out at once. Watch out for nails when pulling up pieces of the board.

Step 4: Pull Out Remaining Nails

Using a claw hammer, pull out any old nails that remain in the subfloor. This will ensure flatter wood floor installataion.

Step 5: Place New Boards

You don't want the hardwood repair to be obvious, so carefully cut the new boards for a tight fit. Slip the groove of each new piece into the tongue of the adjacent board.

Tips for Wood Floor Installation

Step 6: Prep Last Board

When you get to the last board, turn it over and chisel away the lower part of its groove. Note how the boards will interlock for a gapless hardwood floor repair.

Step 7: Secure Last Board

Secure the new board. Blind-nail through the tongue of all but the last piece.

Step 8: Apply Glue

To finish patching wood floors, apply glue to the subfloor, tongue, and half-groove of the last piece, then tap it into place. Use a hammer block to protect the wood surface.

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