If a floor has been in a room or in a hallway for a while, it is going to get dinged in some way, even if the damage is minor. Because of this, it’s always a good idea for a homeowner to know how to effect repairs on these small insults. The following are some minor floor problems and how to fix them:
People have had recipes for stain removal since people first thought to install hardwood floors in their buildings, but the best curative is household bleach. Indeed, if the stain comes with an odor, bleach removes both of them.
First, sand the stain down to bare wood. Then, paint the area with full-strength bleach. Let the wood dry, and sand it again. Sand paper or even plain steel wool can be used for this job. Apply bleach one more time. When the area is dry, stain it to the color of the surrounding wood. Then, seal the area with a few coats of polyurethane and paste wax. Make sure the room is well ventilated during all stages of this repair.
Burns, Gouges and Cracks
For burns and small gouges, use a speed bit whose diameter is a little larger than the flaw. Drill down to undamaged wood and insert a plug of the same wood. Vacuum up the sawdust, and stain and seal the plug.
Some cracks can be filled in with wood filler. The problem with these fillers is that they’re denser than the wood, and many don’t take stains well. They will fill up cracks and be scratch resistant, but they’ll also be noticeable unless they’re hidden. The homeowner can opt for softer fillers that take stains well and can be sanded and sealed like the rest of the floor.
Badly Damaged Floorboards
A floorboard that is so damaged that it can’t be fixed by the above remedies can have the damaged part replaced. The homeowner should drill a row of three holes just past the damaged part of the board. Then use a chisel to square up the edges of the holes and break out a rectangle of the damaged wood. Make a bit of an undercut in the empty space so the new wood can fit snugly.
If the floor has tongue and groove planks, the homeowner will need to chisel off the bottom lip of the piece of replacement wood. Then, angle it into position and hammer it in. Don’t use the hammer directly on the replacement piece but use a block of wood held against it. When the replacement board is seated, drill a couple of small holes about an inch from each end to prevent splitting. Drive in finishing nails and cover the holes with putty. Stain and seal till the board matches the rest of the floor.
If there’s a tear in vinyl floor tile, find some leftover flooring, and cut out a square. Tape it over the torn area and align so that the patterns match up. Then, using a straight edge and a utility knife, cut through both layers of vinyl to get a perfect fit. Take off the tape and lift out the damaged section of flooring. Use a small pry tool to lift the edges of the surrounding flooring a little and add some floor adhesive. Spread more adhesive over the underlayment and put in the new vinyl patch. Press it in place. Then, use a seam sealer to fuse the edges of the patch to the old floor.
Cracked Ceramic Tile
Drill a row of holes across the damaged tile then score the line with a cold chisel and a hammer. This prevents damage to the surrounding tiles. Use a small pry bar to work along the line to pry up bits of the tile. Then, clean out the loose grout, and add a layer of tile adhesive to the empty space. Put the replacement tile into the adhesive, and center it to create even grout lines. Put a block of wood over the tile, and seat it so that it’s level with the flooring. Use the bottom of a hammer to do this.
When the tile adhesive cures, mix some grout, and add it to the seams with a trowel. Wipe off any excess grout.