Search Articles:

Step by Step: Repairing a Floating Wood Floor

By Mohawk University
October/November 2006
print  Print          Download PDF

Most installers are familiar with repairing damaged boards on a solid 3/4-inch floor, but with the increasing popularity of prefinished floating floors, installers face new challenges in making repairs on these types of floors. Repairing prefinished floors requires extra care to prevent damaging the surrounding planks. If one or two planks become damaged, knowing how to properly repair the floor gives you another skill to add to your arsenal.

Depending on the age of the floor, the color or the finish sheen of the existing floor may be different than that of the new plank. To achieve the best color match, use planks left over from the original installation as replacements. The right tools and proper technique can make these floors look as good as new, with no sign that a repair has been done. Here is a guide for how to make that flawless repair.


  • Circular saw
  • Crowbar
  • Drill
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Pliers
  • Replacement planks
  • Screwdriver
  • Table saw
  • Tapping block
  • Utility knife
  • Vacuum
  • Wood glue

Step 1

Identify and mark the damaged boards.

Step 2

Begin by drilling holes in the corners of the damaged plank to serve as stopping points for the saw. These will also provide marking points for creating a sawing pattern. Be sure to vacuum dust and wood chips at each step of the process. The dust contains aluminum oxide that can damage the finish.

Step 3

Mark a pattern on the damaged board that angles in from the corners and outlines a strip about 2 inches wide in the center. When the pattern is complete, the ends of the plank should resemble a trapezoid.

Step 4

Saw the depth of the plank along its length, using your marked guide. As you reach the ends, saw across the plank at the marked horizontal lines.

Step 5

Use a utility knife to cut along the angled markings at the end of the planks.

Step 6

Remove the pieces using a screwdriver to lift the center section if needed, and use pliers to unlock the joints for the side pieces.

Step 7

A crowbar end can be used to remove the end piece. Once the damaged plank is removed, check to see if the saw cut through the moisture barrier underneath the floor. If it did, tape any cuts or replace any damaged sections.

Step 8

Use a tapping block to move the planks at each end of the run approximately 1/4 inch back from the opening.

Step 9

Use a utility knife to carefully remove any chips or splinters from the tongue side of the remaining planks in the opening, and remove any material that may still be in the groove side of the planks. In the groove sides, insert a strip of wood so that approximately 1/4 inch extends from the opening. When complete, the opening will appear to have tongues on all four sides.

Step 10

To prepare the replacement plank, use a table saw to cut away the bottom of the groove on the groove side. This lip will be glued to the tongues of the existing planks.

Step 11

Run a bead of glue completely around the edges of the existing floor planks, then place the new plank into position.

Step 12

Tap the planks at the end of the run to close the gaps at the end of the new plank.

Step 13

Remove any excess glue from the floor.

Step 14

Use weight to hold the new plank in place until the glue sets.

        Repairs            Prefinished        floating floor repair    board replacement       


Job Title:
Email (not published):
(maximum 2,000 characters)  

Related Articles: Installation

Tales from the Front: Bear-Proof Your Floor Installation (April/May 2014 - Kim Wahlgren )
Back before David Old, president at Las Vegas, N.M.-based Old Wood LLC was in the wood flooring business ...

What the Supreme Court Says About Inspectors as Witnesses (April/May 2014 - D. Jeffrey Craven)
An article from the December 2013/January 2014 issue talked about the importance of inspector certification and qualifications ...

Wood Floor Cupping: Why Does it Happen & What Can You Do? (April/May 2014 - Andrew St. James)
It can be surprising how quickly some people in our industry pick out a floor that is not flat. Not long ago I was standing with an experienced wood flooring professional when ...

Trick of the Trade: Coming Unglued (February/March 2014 - HF Editors)
When you’re installing a glue-down floor against a backer board, take an extra minute...

Q&As: Normal Gaps & HVAC Delays (December 2013/January 2014 - HF Editors)
I’m receiving many complaints from customers related to gapping of their solid...

Planed, Gauged & Undercut: 19th Century T&G Flooring (December 2013/January 2014 - Jay Daniel Moore)
In the last 177 years—since the invention of the steam engine, to be precise...

Understand the Different Flooring Cuts for Better Jobs (October/November 2013 - Jessica Hickman)
All hardwood flooring is not created equal. From the tree and how it’s grown, to where it is sawn...

Helpful Tips to Avoid Trouble with Wood Floor Moldings (October/November 2013 - Joe Albany)
When you’re dealing with a big wood flooring job, it’s easy to overlook a piece of trim or...

Trick of the Trade: Get Groovy When Pulling Staples Out of Wood Floors (October/November 2013 - HF Editors)
The next time you have to tear out a floor that was installed with staples, file...

Reclaimed Realities: What to Expect from Reclaimed Wood Flooring (August/September 2013 - Tommy Sancic)
Reclaimed wood flooring started as a niche product that served a small segment of the industry, but it has come a ...