Home Renovation - Floorboard Problems

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Published: 21st December 2010
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Problems with floor boards
Old boarded floors suffer from a range of faults. Board ends may warp and lift, especially if they have previously been prised up for maintenance work on services that run underneath them. Shrinking can lead to gaps between boards or along skirting boards, while physical damage can trigger splits and cracks. Boards may also bow upwards along their length, pulling up their fixings and causing the boards to creak when stepped on.

Taking out floor boards
Sometimes floorboards need to be lifted to access heating pipes and electrical wiring that sit underneath. At other times the floorboard may just need renovation due to age or damage. Follow these directions for tips on how to lift and replace your floorboards:
The type of floorboard determines the way each board can be lifted. If you do not know what type you might have, look for a board that has been screwed down and remove it. Alternatively, stick a knife blade between several boards. If it goes right down, the boards are square-edged. If it cannot be inserted, the boards are tongued-and-grooved.

Square floor boards:
To lift a square-edged board, you should be able to insert a bolster chisel near one end and lever the nails totally free from the foists below. Insert an additional bolster or lever on the opposite side and work them along until the nails at each joist have been released and the board is totally free. Alternatively, slide a metal bar or piece of wood under the board and press down on the end to spring the nails free. In case you can't get a bolster below the board, drill a 10mm diameter hole near to a joist end. The nail positions will guide you. Then cut along the board at a right-angle utilizing a jigsaw or a pad saw, taking care not to cut any cables below. You may now raise the board as described earlier.

Tongued and grooved floor boards:
Removing the initial tongued-and-grooved board is trickier. After that, the others are straightforward. Initially you'll need to cut the tongue along the length of the board making use of a circular saw or a floorboard saw. The circular saw must be set to cut to a depth of only about 12mm.

Chipboard flooring
To take up a broken area of chipboard floor you will need a circular saw set to cut to a depth of either 19 or 22mm depending on the thickness of the board. Make a cut along the joint between adjacent boards and lever up the board with a bolster chisel.

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