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How to Repair a Tongue-and-Groove Wood Floor

Cutting in a perfect-fit patch with This Old House general contractor Tom Silva

In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva cuts in a perfect-fit patch.

1. Use a hammer and chisel to chop through the damaged floorboards.
2. At the end joint, use the hammer and chisel to cut straight down and through the tongue at the end of the damaged floorboard.
3. Use the chisel to pry the severed tongue from the groove in the end of the adjacent floorboard.
4. Remove the damaged floorboards using a flat pry bar.
5. Sweep or vacuum the subfloor of all dust and dirt.
6. Measure and mark a new floorboard to fit into the floor.
7. Adjust a circular saw for a slight 5-degree bevel, then crosscut the new floorboard to length.
8. Apply construction adhesive to the subfloor.
9. Set the new floorboard into place with its end tongue fitting into the end groove of the adjacent floorboard.
10. Press down the new floorboard, then use a hammer and scrap-wood block to tap the board into place.
11. Continue to cut and install new floorboards, notching them when necessary with a jigsaw to fit around pipes and other obstacles.
12. Use a table saw to rip the last row of floorboards to width.
13. Install the last row of floorboards by face-nailing them to the subfloor.
14. Sand the new floorboards using a random-orbit sander and 120-grit abrasive disks.
15. Fill all nail holes and seams between the new floorboards with wood filler.
16. Let the putty dry, then sand the area again.
17. Use a foam brush to apply two coats of shellac to the new floorboards. Allow the shellac to dry overnight.
18. Lightly hand-sand the shellac with 100-grit sandpaper.
19. Apply an oil-based wood stain to the new floorboards, matching the color of the existing floor.
20. Let the stain dry overnight, then apply two coats of polyurethane varnish.


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