Even the best laid timber floors need a little TLC from time to time. Indeed, the fact that timber can be repaired and made to look like new again is just one of the reasons for its enduring popularity as a flooring material.
We’re going to take a quick look at some of the repairs to timber floors that you might come across. Covering solid timber to floating floors, we’ll explore some of the fixes that will keep your timber floors looking their best.
Solid timber floors
Durable and beautiful, there’s a reason so many people love solid timber floors. With solid timber floors, you may need to work a little harder to hide your repairs, sanding and re-coating more than just the repair area to ensure a seamless blend. The ease of this will depend on a few specifics, including the repairs needed, the age of the floor, and the type of wood used in its construction, and you may find that older floors aren’t covered by your insurance in the same way newer ones would be.
General wear and tear
You should keep up general maintenance of solid timber flooring, including sanding and re-coating as required over the lifetime of the floor.
You might see the boards darkening with successive re-coats – sanding the floor back again can help mitigate this, revealing lighter wood underneath.
Sometimes all that needs repairing is an individual board. It may have weakened over time due a natural defect in the wood or been damaged in some way.
It’s possible to remove and replace the single board, though you may need to sand and re-coat the area around the board to ensure it blends seamlessly into the rest of the floor. In most cases, you may need to sand the whole floor back to bare before re-coating everything to match.
With issues like termite or water damage, you may find that you need to repair a larger area of the floor. While whole boards may be removed, your contractor may simply cut boards a little shorter to only removed the damaged portion. This will result in shorter boards, with closer end joints. With the right post-repair treatment, this will likely be barely noticeable.
Engineered floors and some strand woven bamboo floors are often fixed to the subfloor with an adhesive. The main forms of repair you’ll come cross with this type of floor are:
• Injection to address drummy/hollow-sounding boards
• Re-sanding and coating
• Repairing chips
• Re-adhering the top layer (also known as the lamella)
When repairing or replacing flooring of this type, it’s important to colour match as much as possible. You will likely find variations in tone from batch to batch, and it’s not unusual for colours to change as the floor ages. In this instance, it’s good to be prepared for some minor differences between the repair and the original floor.
Your ability to sand and re-coat will depend on the top layer of the flooring, also known as the veneer or the lamella. If this layer is particularly thin (less than 2mm), you may not find a contractor willing to sand it back.
Some engineered, laminate, and bamboo floors are pieced together using a glueless locking system. Because these floors will expand and contract over time, it’s important that they are laid with allowances made for this to minimise any negative impact caused.
Their simple installation process means that repairs are usually quite easy, as individual boards can be “unlocked” from the floor and new ones snapped into place. Issues may arise if the boards are glued together, rather than simply locked in, or if finding a colour match becomes difficult.
Laminate flooring, in particular, can be a struggle here, as it cannot be sanded back and re-coated to match. Its décor layer may look like wood but is more likely a replica image. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to have spare boards on hand for any replacements, and to manage expectations when it comes to the seamless blend of repairs, as due to changes over time, you may not find a perfect match.
Ready to repair your timber floor?
Hopefully this will give you some indication of the processes involved in making repairs to timber floors. While some may be easy fixes, others will require a little more work. It’s also worth noting that blending a repair seamlessly into an original floor may not always be possible.
Please note: Whilst Brisbanes Finest Floors can repair, sand and coat solid timber floors, we don’t deal with engineered, floating floors or bamboo. You would have to contact your original installation person to repair these.