Understanding Flooring Options

How To Replace Tongue And Groove Boards

by Vincent Hoffman

Tongue and groove wood floor planks allow for easy installation by using an interlocking edge system to attach the boards. However, you may notice damaged boards from normal wear and tear. You don't have to replace the whole floor in most cases, but removing boards can be challenging. 

Replacing the boards is simple once you remove them. Follow these steps to replace tongue and groove  floor planks.

Prepare to Replace Damaged Boards

To replace the boards, gather:

  • work gloves
  • eye goggles 
  • tape measure
  • marker
  • rags
  • tack cloth
  • rubber mallet
  • pry bar and chisel
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • paint brush
  • 8d finishing nails and nail gun
  • electric drill, circular saw, and table saw
  • wood putty or epoxy glue
  • wood stain (optional)
  • replacement board

Set the new boards in a safe spot for forty-eight hours, so they can adjust to the temperature. Measure and mark cutting position one-half inch from each side of damaged boards. 

Count the number of damaged boards to buy the correct amount of replacements. Try to find a close color match, or you will need to stain it.  

Remove Damaged Boards

Using a knee pad to work on hardwood floors will cushion your knees. Measure the depth of the damaged board, and adjust the saw to cut one-sixteenth inch more than the depth. 

Typical tongue-and-groove boards are three-fourths inch deep. It helps to drill a hole or two near each end of the board so you can pry it off easier.

Cut the boards along the marks you made, raising the saw before you reach the ends. When you reach the end of the board, score it with a utility knife. 

Chisel into the holes you drilled to loosen the boards using the rubber mallet, holding the chisel at a 30-degree angle. Use the pry bar to remove the board, then wipe dust and debris from the hole and around the edges.

Install new Boards

If necessary, trim the new boards to the length of the old boards, and use the table saw to cut the tongue. Test the fit of the board before you nail it.

Lay them in place of the old boards, tapping them down with a mallet. Insert two nails into each end of the boards at an angle with the nail gun, dab wood putty over spaces, then let it dry. 

If you don't prefer to use nails, apply epoxy around the grooves of the adjacent boards and the new boards. Lightly sand the floor following the grain, and use the tack cloth to clean dust. Brush on a wood stain that closely matches the color following the directions, and let it dry. 

Contact a company, like Floorco Flooring, for more help.