• Share:
Patch a Hardwood Floor

We'll show you how to replace a damaged hardwood floorboard in just a couple hours using basic carpentry tools. This article covers removing a hole-filled or otherwise damaged tongue-and-groove board, then installing a new one.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

  • COMPLEXITY
  • ComplexityComplexity Simple
  • close X

    If you have experience using a circular saw, have a sharp chisel and some patience, you can do this.

Patch a Hardwood Floor

We'll show you how to replace a damaged hardwood floorboard in just a couple hours using basic carpentry tools. This article covers removing a hole-filled or otherwise damaged tongue-and-groove board, then installing a new one.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Mark the floor board plank and drill holes

Replacing damaged or hole-filled hardwood tongue-and-groove floorboards takes a couple of hours, sharp tools and an understanding of how to break the interlocking tongue-and-groove board edges. When removing old flooring, create a new butt joint on just the side of the plank that's closest to the hole or where the damage ends.

Using the technique shown in Photos 1 – 4 and a carbide-tipped flooring blade that can cut through nails, remove the old hardwood flooring and install a perfect replacement piece. New flooring usually stands “proud” next to older, worn flooring.

Also, matching the color of aged flooring is difficult. For these reasons, the best time to repair flooring planks is when the entire floor needs to be sanded and refinished. Otherwise, using belt and orbital sanders, you'll have to level and then finish the new plank so it blends into the existing flooring—a tough job.

Saw relief cuts into the flooring plank

Saw two parallel relief cuts an inch apart down the center of the flooring plank to be removed. Set the saw blade depth 1/16 in. deeper than the thickness of the flooring. Position the circular saw in front of the newly created butt joint with the saw guard retracted, the blade clear of the flooring and the weight of the saw balanced on the front of the saw shoe. For safety, don't position any part of your body behind the blade.

Grip the saw firmly, turn it on, carefully lower the blade into the flooring, and make the first saw pass down the flooring to just before the other end of the board. Repeat the procedure with a second plunge cut.

Using the chisel and a pry bar, remove the strip of flooring between the relief cuts and pull the tongue-and-groove edges of the old flooring where they interlock with the adjacent flooring courses. Completely clean out the opened section of flooring.

Remove the bottom of the groove from the new floor plank

Rip cut and remove the bottom groove from the replacement flooring piece using a table saw, circular saw, or sharp chisel and utility knife. Set the saw fence to cut 5/16 in. off the width of the plank and the saw blade depth to cut into it 1/4 in. deep. Once the bottom groove has been removed, measure the length required for the replacement piece and cut it. Pencil the location of floor joists on the new board.

Caution!

Our blade guard is removed for the photo—use yours!

Fit and nail the new floor plank

Install the replacement flooring board by inserting the tongue side into the groove of the adjacent flooring plank and dropping the board into position. If necessary, tap the new board flush into position using a rubber mallet. Drill pairs of 1/8-in. nail holes near the ends of the new board and at each joist and fasten the flooring with 8d finish nails. Set the nailheads.

Back to Top

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Hammer
    • Cordless drill
    • Tape measure
    • Circular saw
    • Nail set
    • Drill bit set
    • Knee pads
    • Safety glasses
    • Square
    • Wood chisel

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • #8 finish nails
    • Piece of floor plank to match your existing flooring

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 2 of 2 comments
Show per page: 20   All

July 07, 2:45 PM [GMT -5]

I did this but I simplified it by cutting a plug that fit and I even matched the grain. After sanding (almost no filler was needed) the repair was virtually invisible unless you got close.

March 01, 1:57 PM [GMT -5]

I successfully used the process from this article to perform repairs on knotty cedar T&G wall panels in the kitchen of my cottage! I was cautious in determining that no wiring existed behind my "service area."

+ Add Your Comment
closeX

Add Your Comment

Patch a Hardwood Floor

Please add your comment
closeX

Log in to My Account

Log in to enjoy membership benefits from The Family Handyman.

  • Forgot your password?
Don’t have an account yet?

Sign up today for FREE and become part of The Family Handyman community of DIYers.

Member benefits:

  • Get a FREE Traditional Bookcase Project Plan
  • Sign up for FREE DIY newsletters
  • Save projects to your project binder
  • Ask and answer questions in our DIY Forums
  • Share comments on DIY Projects and more!
Join Us Today
closeX

Report Abuse

Subject
Reasons for reporting post

Free OnSite Newsletter

Get timely DIY projects for your home and yard, plus a dream project for your wish list!

Follow Us