Patching Hardwood Floors

How to Patch a Tongue and Grooved Hardwood Floor

By Mark J. Donovan

For a variety of reasons a hardwood floor can become damaged in spots. If the hardwood floor is overall in good shape with the exception of a couple of damaged areas you can patch the hardwood floor to eliminate the damaged floorboards.

Tools Required for Patching Hardwood Floors

Circular skill saw, hammer, flat pry bar, utility knife, sharp chisel, belt sander and sandpaper, small block of wood, finished nails, nail punch, wood filler, stain and polyurethane.

Removing Damaged Hardwood Floorboards

To begin the process of patching a hardwood floor you need to first remove the damaged floorboards. Start by using a utility knife to score the end cuts of the damaged board. After several swipes of the utility knife, use a sharp chisel and hammer to continue cutting through the floorboard. Cut all the way through the floorboard down to the subfloor surface. Also position your chisel so that you achieve a back cut where the remaining floorboard’s upper edge protrudes out beyond the bottom edge of the floorboard.

After making the end cuts, run a line down the center of the damaged floorboard.

Next, set the depth of your circular saw blade to the depth of the hardwood floor thickness.

Using your skill saw carefully make a plunge cut into the damaged hardwood floorboard directly over the line you made on the board. Cut down the length of the damaged floorboard directly in the middle of it, per your reference line. As you near the previously made end cuts stop.

Again, use your utility knife, and hammer and chisel to finish off the cuts all the way to the end cuts.

Next, use your flat pry bar and hammer to remove the damaged floorboard halves and any nails.

After removing the damaged hardwood floorboards, sand over the area with a belt sander starting with a 60 grit sandpaper followed by a finer grit paper.

Patching in Hardwood Floorboards

Once you have removed the old and damaged floorboards you can now begin the process of patching in the replacement boards.

First, start by cutting an appropriate length of new floorboard material.

Next, cut away the bottom tongue of the new floor board piece. This is necessary as otherwise you will not be able to install the new tongue and grooved floorboard piece into the existing hardwood floor. Again, you will need to adjust your skill saw blade height accordingly and carefully cut away the bottom tongue piece.

After cutting the bottom tongue, the new floorboard patch should be able to be easily placed into the opening in the hardwood floor. Use a small block of wood and hammer to tap it tightly up against the existing floorboard.

Continue to install additional hardwood floor boards as required.

Wood Flooring Installation Bid Sheet

Once they are installed you will need to face nail the boards down to the subfloor. Face nailing involves nailing the boards from the top surface into the subfloor.

After nailing the patched hardwood floorboards in place, use a hammer and a nail punch to countersink the nails.

Next, fill the nail holes with a wood-filler.

After the wood filler has dried, sand over the boards with your belt sander to achieve a smooth finish.

Staining Patched Hardwood Floorboards

Once you have completed sanding the patched floorboards, stain them with the appropriate stain so that they blend in with the surrounding wood color.

Finally, apply a couple of coats of polyurethane sealer over the top of the patched hardwood floorboards to complete the project. In between coats of polyurethane lightly sand the floorboards to help achieve a glossy smooth finish.

For help on finding a wood flooring installation contractor, see’s Wood Flooring Installation Bid Sheet. It will help ensure that you find and hire the right flooring installation contractor for your wood flooring project. In addition, it will help to ensure that your wood floor installation is completed on time and on budget.

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