Floors are not infinitely durable. Time and water, even heavy weight, can weaken a sturdy built floor. No matter what the reason, the damaged floor needs replaced before someone gets hurt or bad seasonal weather blows in.
But who has the money to pay a contractor a few hundred, possibly thousands, of dollars for repair work? Is there any need to take another mortgage on the house because the floor needs fixed?
There is another alternative besides leaving it alone till 'someday'. The floor, in whole or in part, can be replaced by you and all it takes is elbow grease and planning. Anyone that knows how to swing a hammer and run a circular saw, or is willing to learn, can replace or repair a floor.
Following simple guidelines takes the guess work out of project planning.
Preventing wood waste from occurring through missteps, and the waste of time that goes with it, the time it takes to glance at the diagram is time spent saving money!
Hammer, size 8- 10 nails or 2-2 ½ decking screws with drill and drill bit, circular saw with new blade, regular screw driver, measure tape, sufficient ¾ inch plywood and 2x4 boards, chalk line, carpenter square, carpenter pencil or marker and paper is the main equipment needed. Other options include a pry bar, safety glasses, jigsaw or chisel and gloves.
1. If your new floor boards have the dove-tailed edge, you should put this edge under the wall.
2. Please remember to prepare for any extra work, such as for drain pipes, water pipes or heating and cooling vents. None of these items are going to cause much fuss to a person that is naturally organized, for the rest of us there is Post-its.
Before destroying the original floor, sketch the area and note distance between various points. It is a good idea to square the area that you will be cutting, since it is easier to 1- put a square in a square hole and 2- it is easier to prevent a wrong cut than it is to fix one.
3. You should never hit the flooring board directly. A section of a two by four should be used between the hammer and the floor-board edging. This keeps the board's edge from breaking, and also gives you a larger target area to catch the force of your swing.
4. The amount of time needed depends on many things, so I recommend planning ahead of time what you are going to do during the floor's down time. This is mainly a concern when it is the flooring around the toilet that needs repaired or if there is small children to consider.
5. The diagram provided is only a representation of what you should be seeing. It is not made to scale. So please do not think that eight squares by four squares equal a four by eight board. A square is only for thought display, not for measurement display!
To begin, the decision of how much flooring material to remove must be made. The part to be removed should include the entire damaged area. If there is two relatively close areas, it should be treated as one area - not two! See Diagram 1.
If the damaged section is adjacent to a wall, use the wall as a base line. The base line is where the project mathematically begins. Otherwise, choose and mark your base line, and as a rule, keep it square with the wall. The best way to achieve this is by measuring from the wall to a desired baseline point, then another point a few inches over to the side. Both measurements need to be made using the square, not only for distance but for squaring! Lay the flat edge of the carpenters square between the two points and draw a line running along that edge. See Diagram 2.
Using the carpenter's square, mark the perpendicular lines on the baseline at the desired width, and finish by running the line parallel to the base line at the desired length. Diagram 3. Double check all marks before going on.
The circular saw should be set to a straight angle at three-quarters of an inch. Please keep in mind that your floor depth may be slightly different, and should be adjusted as such.
Cut along the marked lines, and a wall fault cut (a cut close to the wall) if necessary to begin the extradition of the damaged wood. Pry up the damaged piece and discard.
As for inspecting floor integrity, check the support beams for signs of breakage or decay. In most cases, the beam is fine for future use, but beams of less quality should be sandwiched between bracing beams. Diagram 4.
If you are not working with a walled side, proceed by placing braces half and half under all open edges. As long as you have used the square properly, quick cuts result in a perfect template for dropping into place. Hammer down securely. Diagram 5.
If there is a wall fault cut, the floor boarding that remains next to and underneath the wall needs to be removed. Depending on the type of damage the wood has sustained, chiseling and prying at the wood can be soft or rigorous work. Since all space needs to be reclaimed for the new board, you must clean the area under the wall with care. Negligence in this will not only make your measurements off, it will possibly result in a structure integrity problem in the future.
To prevent costly mishaps, draw a simple plan that shows every inch and then use this as a reference. Your arithmetic should look something like width x [length + space that can be used under the wall] = True Baseline. This space under the wall can vary, but usually falls between three/fourths of an inch to one and one-half inches.
The new flooring will give support to the walls. A quick inspection of the wall material will dictate if the wall also needs to be repaired or replaced. Depending on the situation's circumstances, the decision to repair or not rests in your hands.
Toenail in the braces which are placed half-and-half under all edges. See Diagram 5 for overview of half-n-half two by fours used to sturdy the seam.
You will be hitting the board edges in to slide the piece under the wall and into the hole like a puzzle block. With a square and using the preferred edge of the board as the true baseline, mark the new flooring board according to your specifications. Check your calculations twice before sawing.
For a 'straight in' section, slide the board edge under the wall. A few hits with the hammer on the end will force the board into place. If the cut board is slightly off, then you may hit the board until it lays squared in the floor. Nail the corners and down the sides, approximately one nail for every two or three feet. See Diagram 6.
When the damaged area is in the corner, you will have to break the area into two parts. The part one piece will be the floor corner. Place the board under the wall and hit it in until the piece is flat. Hitting it on the side will push it into the corner area. The second piece will be a 'straight hit into place' board. See Diagram 7.
Diagram 8 shows how to put a floor board down in a tricky place like edges under three walls. A single replacement board is bigger than the floor hole is. Splitting the area into two boards would allow only space for one to be installed. Therefore, breaking the area down into set of three boards is the optimum action. Begin with one corner, then the other. The piece in the middle is the last to go into place.
Diagram 9 demonstrates the correct path of rounding a corner. It doesn't matter what piece is used first, as long as the cuts follow this pattern. The only exception to the rule is if the situation has another corner angle involved. If this is the situation, install the corner then the other corner. This should leave you with a 'straight-in' section to finish with.
The completion of floor repair doesn't come when the flooring is laid down. There is a mess to clean up. A magnet hung from a rope and dangled into the piles of sawdust will pick up nails and screws quickly. Hand and power tools need to be safely stored away.
The wood waste can be disposed of by regular refuge pick-up or burning.. However, the wood should not be burned in an indoor fireplace. Treated wood smoke is toxic and should not be inhaled.
We're all done here so what are you waiting for? Get started on the DIY floor fix!
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