Sunday, 19 April 2020 11:07

Sanding Floors - Stage 2: Floor Repairs

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Should I replace or repair the floorboards? Ultimately it depends on floor condition, wood availability, cost and whether you will be living in or selling the house?

  • Availability - Before you start to entertain the idea of doing repairs, first find out if you can source the wood from a salvage yard or secondhand recycled timber shop. You can also source secondhand floorboards online from eBay and Gumtree sellers that are demolishing a house. Make sure the wood is the same type, width, length, thickness, roughly the same age and that there is enough to cover off all the repairs. If you find the

    same wood type/age, but its the wrong width, you can always cut it to size using a circular saw for the width and a router for the tongue and groove part. 

  • Secondhand wood - the main reason to use secondhand wood is to colour match the age of the wood. For example, a new pine floorboard will be very white compared to one that is 20+ years old, so when you laquer or stain the wood it will look very different. Finding wood that is the same age will overcome this problem. Don't worry about existing nail holes as these can be filled with putty.

  • Cutting the wood - when replacing a floorboard ensure you cut the edge/join area at an angle so it tapers away from the top as this will ensure you get a nice clean join without gaps at the top.  W

    hen cutting a replacement floorboard to fit, do away with the bottom groove, as the top groove will rest on the tongue of the floorboard that is already nailed down when you put it in position in the floor.
  • Water damage - assess the whole area thoroughly for extent of damage and completely isolate/repair the water leak cause first before doing any more work.  You don't want to discover the water leak has returned after you have finished the job.

  • Termites - if you find termites, you need to get a professional to assess the whole area thoroughly to determine the extent of the damage before continuing. 

  • Squeaky floorboards - locate the squeak by stepping around the area making the noise. Once you have located the nail, punch it in using a hole punch. If that doesn't stop the squeak, try talcolm powder around the nail hole. If that doesnt fix the problem you will need to remove the nail, by punching it right down so its no longer touching the floorboard or drilling it out.  If you have access to get in from underneath, wedge a piece of wood between the floorboard and the supporting beam as this will stop any movement. Even if you stop the squeak there is no guarantee the same squeak or another will not re-appear later. 
  • Removing the floorboards - use a circular saw to cut down the middle of the floorboard and then pry it out carefully by sliding it out of the groove before lifting it with a suitable crowbar.
  • Nails - before any sanding can occur, all the nails need to be countersunk and knocked down a few millimetres, so that they don't interfere with the sanding step that will take of a few millimetres.  The condition of the floor will determine how far you need to punch the nails down - the worser the condtion the deeper you will need to go. If you don't punch the nail holes deep enough, they will be exposed when you do the sanding. 
  • Staples - need to be removed.
  • Putty - after all the nails have been punched down and all staples removed you will need to fill in all the holes. If you plan to stain the wood later, get putty with wood chips mixed in with it, so when you apply the stain it has something to grab onto and wont look so obvious.  An alternative to putty would be to use PVA glue mixed with sanding dust from the floor. You will need to sand the floor first (without filling in the holes) to get a sample of the sanding dust before you can make your own mix. This is a lot of work, but the finish is a lot better than putty as you are filling in the holes with the same wood colour. Filling in nail holes for 5 rooms is hard on your back and knees.

    The picture below shows the putty covering the nail holes.
    bed1 1
  • Gaps - floorboards will have gaps in places, but that could be the charm of the house if the gaps are consistent. Gaps that are large and inconsistently scattered throughout the floor, will make the floor look average. Decide if these gaps are going to be a deal breaker before you start sanding, as the sanding stage is very hard work and time consuming. Using putty in the gaps will not look great and over time the floorboards might move and your putty might lift, crack come apart and that affected area will look worse than it would have if you just left it alone.
Read 426 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 April 2020 14:59

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