To repair flooring using the double-cutting technique, start by taping the replacement patch over the damaged area (photo 2). Be sure to position the patch so that its pattern aligns exactly with the pattern on the flooring. Place a straightedge (a steel rule or framing square works well) on top of the patch. Line it up right in the center of one of the pattern lines. Then use a utility knife to cut along the straightedge through both the patch and the flooring (photo 3). For best results, use a brand-new blade and hold the knife in a perfectly vertical position. Make the remaining cuts around the patch the same way, cutting along the flooring's pattern lines. Next, remove the patch and peel up the damaged section. If your floor is perimeter-bonded, the piece will come up easily because it isn't glued down. If it's fully adhered, scrape up the piece with a putty knife or scraper. Proceed by spreading mastic onto the plywood subfloor with a notched trowel. On perimeter-bonded floors, also lift up the flooring around the cutout and spread mastic under the edges (photo 4). Then press the patch into place (photo 5), cover it with wax paper and weigh it down with a few heavy books. Wait at least 24 hours for the mastic to dry. Then apply liquid seam sealer to all the joints around the patch (photo 6). The result will be nearly undetectable.

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