Repair Scratches in Floorboards
The best way to get an even wood floor is by sanding, but if you just have a few scratches, small holes, or gaps, they can be repaired without embarking on such a big job.
Floor or Multisurface Cleaner and Soft Cloths
Wood Filler or Putty, to Match Floor Color
Materials for Varnishing Floor
Determine how deep your scratch is. Light scratches can be dealt with using steel wool, but deeper scratches will need fine-grade sandpaper.
What to do:
1. Clean the area with floor or multisurface cleaner.
2. Rub over scratch with steel wool or fine-grade sandpaper, taking care to go in direction of wood grain and only over scratch.
3. Clean and smooth the area with mineral spirits on a soft cloth.
4. Use putty knife to press wood filler into scratched area. Leave to dry.
5. Sand excess dried filler to the level of the wood, using fine-grade sandpaper.
6. Clean away dust.
7. Revarnish repaired area to match the rest of the floor.
How to Nail it:
- If you have recently sanded your floor, salvage the sawdust from the sander, mix with wood glue, and use to fill small holes in the wood.
- Always sand along the grain of the wood or you risk damaging it further.
Fix Creaking Floorboards
Floorboards can creak either because their fastening screws have come loose, or because they've swollen and now rub against each other. Once you've found the problem, it's easy to fix. If a floorboard covers an area of pipes or cables, fixing it with a screw instead of a nail will allow easy access.
Pliers or Claw Hammer
Wide-Bladed Chisel, If Needed
Power Drill, with Countersink Bit
Remove any floor coverings and press on the boards with your feet to pinpoint the problem place. Sprinkle talcum powder along the cracks and work in with a knife. This may be enough to
solve the problem.
If the floorboard still creaks, you will need to screw it down or nail it to secure and stop the movement. You can screw directly into existing nail holes if they're in good condition.
What to do:
Use existing nail holes:
A. Prize out old nails with pliers or claw hammer; if you need to lift board slightly to pull nails higher, drive a wide-bladed chisel between the boards and prize up a little. Push board back down, leaving nails slightly raised, and remove.
B. Screw in 2 ¼ inch screws and secure tightly. If screw heads sit slightly above the surface, remove, countersink, and screw back in.
Use new nail holes
Drive nails in away from old holes but near enough so you go into joist underneath. If in doubt, prize up board as above, and take a look, marking the position of the joist on floorboard.
If you are driving nails near the very end of board, drill small pilot holes (smaller than width of your nail) first, to prevent the board from splitting.
How to Nail it:
- If board end doesn't fix to joist, screw a 1 x 2-inch batten onto nearest joist end to provide an anchor for the board.
Excerpted from Copyright © 2014 Sarah Beeny and published by Quadrille Publishing Limited / F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.