How to Handle Unsalvageable Hardwood Flooring

How to Handle Unsalvageable Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors make any home interior more warm, beautiful, and inviting. But these natural wood floors are vulnerable to wear and tear. So how do you know if your hardwood flooring is unsalvageable, and what do you do if it’s damaged beyond repair?

Here are some suggestions from the Trico Painting team, trusted experts in hardwood floor refinishing.

How to Tell if Floors Are Damaged Beyond Repair

Check for Cracks and Nailheads

With hardwood flooring, conditions may appear worse than they are. According to architect John B. Murray, “The two best indicators to tell if a wood floor is not salvageable are cracking or breakage along the perimeter of individual planks and exposed nailheads—meaning the flooring has been sanded down so much the heads of the original blind nails are exposed.”

Inspect your flooring closely to check for exposed nailheads and cracking boards. Anywhere those signs of damage are found means replacement is necessary.

Murray adds that it’s sometimes impossible for hardwood to recover from extensive moisture damage, as well as from stains left by corrosives, dyes, and harsh chemicals. "If there is significant water damage or deep-set staining, that could also prevent us from successfully refinishing an existing wood floor."

Know Signs of Wood Rot in Flooring

Hardwood flooring and the subflooring underneath can rot and decay, even though they’re not exterior wood surfaces. If you notice:

  • A damp or musty smell

  • Sinking or uneven spots

  • Flooring bounces or shifts when you walk on it

Then wood rot repair and replacement should move to the top of your to-do list. Whether it’s wet or dry rot, wood rot can spread and damage other areas of your flooring and sub-flooring, so it’s important to remedy rotted hardwood flooring as soon as possible.

Remove All Damaged Boards and Nails

Unless you’ve had extreme, widespread water damage or other extensive structural deterioration, it’s unlikely the entire hardwood floor will require replacing. More likely, damaged boards and nails will need to be replaced in the most heavily used areas of your flooring or in areas where moisture and humidity are most concentrated.

Removing the damaged parts completely will prevent rotting wood from affecting the surrounding flooring and will immediately reduce safety risks that come with hardwood flooring being unsound (falls, rusty nails, or pest intrusion, for example).

Match Lumber

Matching lumber in replacement boards to the lumber in your existing hardwood floor is the best way to start your hardwood refinishing and repair project. It’s the surest way for surfaces to be more even and for finishes to look more uniform after surface preparation and priming.

Mismatching could cause issues with stain adhesion, too. Different wood types work best with different kinds of stains, and it would be a waste of time and money to have to use multiple sets of products for the same flooring, especially if the result won’t be as aesthetically pleasing.

Match Surface Levels and Finishes

You don’t want new hardwood floorboards to be uneven or a different color than the existing floor. Beam surface levels will have to be carefully matched through sanding and measuring so that no individual boards or groups of boards look out of place.

From there, the color and depth of the natural wood staining must be consistent throughout the room. No one wants brand new flooring to be an eyesore. To get a match, use the same stain you used on your previous project, and apply the same amount of primer and wood stain coats as were previously applied to get a uniform look.

Get Expert Help for a Low-Stress Project

Interior painting contractors can take all the stress and guesswork out of hardwood flooring improvements. The experts at Trico Painting are the local house painters specializing in natural wood restoration and refinishing, including wood rot repair, wood replacement, surface preparation, and color matching.

Along with our partners at DMA Construction, we know how to minimize health and safety risks associated with removing deteriorated wood, nailing in new boards, and applying stains and finishes.

We’ll make every effort to keep your home interior clean and safe before, during, and after the project without burdening you with any aspect of DIY woodworking, wood staining, or rotted wood removal. The result? A beautiful, like new flooring that will make your house a home. Ready to get started? Contact Trico Painting for your hardwood refinishing estimate today.