Stripped Floorboards Repair:

Repairing Stripped Floorboards

If you have beautiful softwood floors, why would you want to cover them or add anything? Unfortunately, the answer often lies in the condition of the floorboards themselves. There may be gaps between the boards which trap dirt and can let in drafts. The boards may be split, warped, or rotten, or have deep nail holes in them. Sometimes the supporting joists may have weakened, or they may be suffering from woodworm or dry rot.

In the case of woodworm and/or dry rot, remedial work including chemical spraying and replacement of damaged wood is essential, whatever type of flooring you are installing. If you want floorboards as your floor covering, all of the existing boards that are rotted or worm-eaten must be replaced.

Fortunately, there are ways to cure most other floorboard defects.

Gaps: Small individual gaps between floorboards need to be filled with wood filler, stained papier mache, or slivers of wood, glued in place and planed down to the level of the surrounding boards.

Large gaps or gaps between all the boards are more difficult. Often it's best to lift the whole floor and re-lay it. A floorboard clamp or wooden wedges force the boards together until they are nailed in place. This leaves a big gap at the end which must be filled with an extra floorboard.

Warped boards: In time, floorboards can cup - curl up along the long edges. An industrial floor sander is ideal for getting rid of this. Working diagonally across the floor with coarse abrasive paper quickly removes the raised edges.

Damaged boards: Individual boards can be replaced, the only problem being that modern boards may be slightly different in size from older boards, which may mean some adjustment or cutting away of the board and/or joist.

Loose boards: Where the nails holding a board have become loose, the answer is to replace them with screws, which secure the board and stop it squeaking. Protruding nail heads should be hammered down with a nail punch, and nail and screw holes must be filled, before sanding.

Painted/waxed boards: Where floorboards have several years worth of paint, grime, or wax on them, it's best to clean them before stripping them. Steel wool and mineral spirits remove a build-up of wax polish and grime. An industrial floor sander, fitted with a medium abrasive paper followed by a fine paper and worked along the length of the boards, smoothes off the surface. Finishing around the edges requires a handheld sander.

Protective varnish: With the gaps filled, the floor repaired and its surface sanded, the wooden boards need at least three coats of polyurethane floor sealer. Water-based types have less odor and are quicker drying than solvent-based ones.





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