How to Replace Wooden Floorboards

How to Replace Wooden Floorboards

How to Replace Wooden Floorboards Just about every house will include an area of wooden flooring, whether in the form of timber floorboards or manufactured boards such as chipboard. Wooden floors generally require little in the way of maintenance, but there are times when individual boards need attention. For example, you may need to replace a timber floorboard that has split or been irreparably damaged on its surface, or if access is required to pipes underneath the floor then boards may need to be cut out and new ones fitted.

Replacing a section of flooring is a relatively straightforward task.


Timber Floorboards

The procedure for replacing timber floorboards described below applies to boards fitted with a tongue and groove mechanism. These are slightly more difficult to remove and some of the stages mentioned can be omitted if the floor is constructed from straight-edged boards, which makes the job slightly less taxing. In some rooms, especially those that are fairly small, the boards tuck under the skirting along the edges of the room with no intermediate joints. In this case, simply levering up the board in the centre of the room and slipping a scrap of timber underneath will allow you to cut it in half. If you are at all unsure about a section of floorboard then it is wise to replace the whole length.


Tools for the Job:

  • pipe, joist & cable detector
  • circular saw
  • bolster chisel (wide)
  • square
  • fine-toothed handsaw
  • tape measure & pencil
  • panel saw
  • cordless drill/driver or hammer


1. Here the board to be replaced is split down the middle. It is unlikely to be split along its entire length, so first inspect the damage to assess whether you can just replace a small section of the board.

2. Identify joist positions, either with the use of a pipe, joist and cable detector or by following the line of nails. Mark with a pencil if any run below the board to be replaced.

Locate the joist just beyond the end of the split and mark this too. For safety reasons it is also vital to find out whether any pipes or electric cables run under the boards before cutting.

3. Set a circular saw so that it will cut to a depth of approximately 15mm (5/8in). Run the blade along both sides of the split board to cut through the tongues. If the floor has been constructed using square-edged boards then this step can be omitted.

Safety Advice

Circular saws are safe if used correctly, but not everyone is comfortable with them. If you are unsure, a floorboard saw (a special handsaw with d curved blade) may be used instead.

4. Insert a wide bolster chisel into the cut side and gently lever up the board. Start near the joint and work your way along the board. Hold up the board with a scrap of timber and draw a line across with a square, ensuring any joint will be over the centreline of the joist. Out this line with a fine-toothed handsaw.

5. Measure and cut a new section of floorboard to fit neatly into the space left by the broken section. If you are using tongue and groove board you will need to cut off the tongue with a panel saw before fitting.

6. Once the new board has been cut to a precise fit, either nail or screw it in position. You may prefer to use screws if access to the underfloor area is likely to be required at some future date.


Chipboard Floors

It is highly unlikely that a section of chipboard floor will split in the same way that a timber floorboard might, but you may still encounter situations where a section will need to be replaced. For example, you might have to replace one or more boards after cutting through to gain access to the underfloor services, or you might need to cut out and replace boards that have become unsound due to moisture damage.


Tools for the Job:

  • tape measure & pencil
  • circular saw
  • bolster chisels (wide)
  • claw hammer
  • clamps
  • handsaw
  • cordless drill/driver


1 Set a circular saw to a 15mm (5/8in) depth of cut and saw all around the edge of the board to remove the tongue. Be careful not to cut into adjacent boards.

2 Gently lever up the board using wide bolster chisels. Do not lever in just one position but work all around the perimeter. The nails should come up with the board, otherwise pull them out with a claw hammer.

3 Install noggings between joists to support any board edges that do not join on a joist.

4 Saw off the tongues of the replacement board with a panel saw, so that it will fit into the gap.

5 Finally, fit the new board into the hole and fix it in position. Nails can be used as fixings but it is better to screw the board in place.


Tips of the trade

A screwed board will allow easier access to underfloor services in the future, and screwing avoids the heavy vibrations of hammering, which cart cause cracks in the ceiling below.

16. December 2010 by admin
Categories: DIY Home, Flooring | Tags: | Comments Off on How to Replace Wooden Floorboards

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