Wood floor repairs

The Old House Web

This story offers ideas and guidance on replacing a damaged subfloor under tongue &groove flooring.

Floor details

PRODUCTS & MATERIALS

  • Replacement subfloor board
  • Nails
  • Wood blocking for board support at joist
  • Hardwood shims (if required)
  • Construction grade plywood for complete subfloor replacement (thickness to match existing condition)

EQUIPMENT

  • Prybar
  • Wide blade putty knives
  • Carpenter's nippers to remove nail heads
  • Hammer for baseboard and finished floor removal
  • Saw to cut damaged subfloor board
  • Drill to make pilot hole for saw
  • Tools for accurate measurement

EXAMINATION

Check for problems caused by decay: Signs of a decayed subfloor include buckling ordiscoloration of the finished floor, a spongy texture underfoot, water stains on thesubfloor as seen from the underside, and general dampness.

  1. Probe the wood with an ice pick to determine the existence of rot.
  2. Inspect for signs of insect infestation such as mold, fungus, bore holes, and sawdust piles.
  3. Documentation: Photograph existing condition of flooring including pattern, etc. for ease of reinstallation.

PREPARATION

Protection:

  1. Adjacent surfaces and permanent equipment must be masked or covered during repair and maintenance.
  2. Coverings must be adhered without adhesive tape or nails.
  3. Impervious sheeting that produces condensation shall not be used.

Surface Preparation:

NOTE: THE COMPLETE REMOVAL OF THE FINISH FLOOR MATERIAL IS ONLY REQUIRED WITH INTERLOCKING FLOOR ASSEMBLIES SUCH AS TONGUE & GROOVE.

  1. Before replacing the subfloor, carefully remove the baseboard and the finished floor, label and set aside for reinstallation.
  2. As each piece is removed, mark it as to its original location; during storage, organize by location to ease reinstallation.
  3. Remove shoe molding of baseboard first, using gentle pressure on a pry bar at nail locations. Hold gaps open with blocking as work progresses along the length of each trim piece.
  4. Next, remove baseboard, beginning with top moldings which are often separate from the broad, flat sections. Remove it like the shoe molding, applying pressure only at nail locations until all nails are exposed and the trim pieces can be removed.
  5. To remove nails, pull them out from the back of the board; cut nail heads first, if required.
  6. When removing the floorboards, find the last board laid. Remove it and work in reverse of the manner in which the floor was installed.

ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION

Partial subfloor replacement:

Cut damaged subfloor board off at nearest joist. Nail block to joist for new boardsupport.

  1. Carefully measure the new board and do a trial fitting. Shim or rip as required to level the new board with the surrounding ones.
  2. Facenail the new subfloor board to the joist or the attached support block.
  3. When repair is complete, reinstall finished floor and baseboards to match historic condition.

Full subfloor replacement:

If the subfloor warrants complete replacement, consider 1" construction gradeplywood. It provides a strong and dimensionally stable subfloor with no squeaks.

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