Hardwood flooring, parquet flooring and engineered wooden flooring creates an elegant, timeless, beautiful and practical aesthetic in your home. 

But what do you do when some of your wooden floorboards get damaged and no longer look as lovely as they once did? 

This can happen over years of wear and tear particularly in high-traffic areas and if your floor is old. It can also be because of structural problems, water damage, staining or by any number of other incidents; large scratches caused by furniture moving, heavy items being dropped, or staining. 

Thankfully, you don’t need to replace the whole floor. This helpful guide will take you through the steps you need to take when replacing floorboards and hardwood floor planks. 

Read on to find out what you need and how to replace a single or a few floorboards yourself to save you either hiring a contractor or replacing the whole floor. 

Tools You Will Need 

Replacement Planks

The most important thing you will need and potentially the most difficult to get hold of will be a replacement plank or planks. If you had the hardwood wooden floor installed yourself you should still have some spare planks left (it’s often a good idea to order an extra pack for this very reason). 

If you inherited the floor this might be a more difficult task and you will need to try and determine the following:

  • The type of wood both species and whether it is engineered wood flooring, laminate or solid wood.

  • The system used to lock the boards into place (easy click system or tongue and groove for example).

  • What is below the planks/floor; is it a concrete subfloor for example. 

  • The finish of the rest of the floor (stain, lacquer, oil etc).

  • The depth of the boards. 

Once you have your replacement plank or planks the other tools and items you will need are:

  • Pencil.

  • Ruler.

  • Masking tape and dust sheets. 

  • A saw either a track, plunge, or circular saw is ideal.

  • Rubber mallet.

  • Crowbar.

  • Chisel.

  • Nail gun.

  • Floor glue.

  • Appropriate finish and maintenance accessories such as glue, wax, sealant etc. 

The Step-by-Step Process  

Identify the problem

There are a few reasons why a plank or several planks in your wooden floor may need replacing. There might be water damage (in which case the cause should be identified to ensure it is not an issue that will just recur), severe staining, a chip, crack or even a hole in the floor if something particularly heavy has been dropped on it.

If there is bowing or warping without any clear reason you might need to call in a professional to check for problems such as rising damp, subfloor, foundation or other structural issues. 

Determine what needs to be removed 

Replacing boards is possible, but it is not an easy task. Ensure you are replacing all the boards required in one go. You don’t want to have to repeat the process due to underestimating what planks need replacing at this stage. 

Cover Your Space

 To avoid damaging the surrounding wooden planks while you are replacing the damaged one/s ensure you cover them with easily removable tape such as masking tape and a dust sheet.

Prepare the New Plank 

If required cut the replacement plank to the required size. 

Remove the Old Plank 

To avoid damaging the surrounding planks don’t risk just trying to pull the offending plank up. 

Instead with a rule and pencil mark out an exact rectangle on each damaged board about ¾ of an inch from the outside edge. 

Then mark off a triangle by squaring off one of the corners. 

Set your saw depth to just under the depth of the plank if you have a concrete subfloor. If you don’t have a concrete subfloor set your blade to just over the depth of the plank. 

Using the track to help you stay straight begin by cutting the two long sides of the rectangle you have marked out. Then the to short sides. Finish with cutting the triangle. 

Using the rubber mallet insert the chisel into the inside edge of the triangle you cut and use the crowbar to prise it out.

Then you have a good place to start to begin to carefully prise out the rest of the rectangle. 

Once the rectangle has been completely removed you can access the locking system to slide or click out the outside edge of the plank. 

Fit the New Board  

First of all check that the plank fits. Now is the time to make any last-minute adjustments to get a perfect fit.. 

Glue and Secure and Wax 

 Use the appropriate glue on the edges and criss crossed along the underside of  your replacement plank and push it into place securing it with the rubber mallet. 

Give it time to dry before walking on it again (around 18-20 hours). Once the glue has properly dried you can also apply the finish to match the other planks such as a wax or oil unless your planks are ready finished. 

Sand and Polish

If your floor has been laid for some time matching your replacement planks may be difficult even if they are an exact match. This is due to the natural processes that a real wood floor goes through. Therefore, to get your new planks to better match the older planks plan to sand and polish the whole floor after you have completed your work. 

Final thoughts  

Although it is possible, indeed relatively easy for those with good background knowledge and plenty of DIY experience to replace damaged hardwood floor planks, for those either not used to handling power tools or those who have doubts about their level of expertise it is always recommneded to consult a professional. 

The lower cost of completing the job of replacing a plank yourself would be outweighed if you were to get it wrong and need to hire someone to fix what you did. 

Therefore, if you are in any doubt get in touch with us at Wooden Floors UK and we will be happy to advise you.

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