Reclaimed wood floors are resilient. Even if they have become warped, scratched or stained, a little TLC can return recycled lumber floors to their primal beauty. Read on to learn techniques for repairing the most common forms of wood floor damage.
1. Clean, inspect, and determine the finish.
Cleaning your floors will help you find and damage that should be repaired. Sweeping or gentle vacuuming will remove dirt and give you a good idea of what needs fixing.
Next, figure out the type of finish your floor has by sprinkling an especially worn area with water. Water will bead on surface sealed floors. Polyacrylic, polyurethane and urethane count as surface sealants the important thing to know is that this type of floor may be cleaned with water. To clean a surface sealed floor, use sudsy water. Use a little elbow grease to dry and buff the surface. Water-based cleaners may also be safely applied to surface sealed reclaimed wood floors.
In contrast, oil-treated and penetrating-seal floors should never be cleaned with water. To clean these floors deeply, you will need to strip off the wax, put on new wax, and buff. This can be such a backbreaking process that you may want to call in a reclaimed wood specialist to tackle it for you. Recycled lumber floors with penetrating seals can be spot cleaned with odorless mineral spirits and a follow-up layer of solvent-based wax.
2. Apply specially made product to wet rot, dry rot, and woodworm.
If you find that part of your flooring has been eaten away by pests or rot, you can probably find one product at your local home improvement store to solve both problems. Do check for color-fastness first certain anti-bug and anti-rot solutions can leave dark stains.
3. Use fillets to fill gaps.
An older or more damaged reclaimed wood floor may have actual gaps in it these gaps can be filled with narrow pieces of lumber called fillets. Begin fillet placement by carefully measuring the area that needs to be filled. Second, cut fillet pieces to match the hole. Place wood glue on both sides of the fillet then carefully tap it into place with a mallet or hammer. Remove extra glue. Once dry, sand lightly.
4. Use beeswax, wood filler, or buffing.
If you discover small scratches, you may be able to buff them out with a cleaning agent and a paper towel. Be sure to use a cleaning solution recommended by the installer of your reclaimed wood floors.
If buffing doesn’t work, scratches can be filled with beeswax, shellac or wood filler. Wipe away excess filler after the scratches have been filled dry completely, and sand lightly.
5. Use finish to darken light stains.
Some stains will make reclaimed wood appear lighter than nearby floorboards. If you discover light stains, you may be able to remove them by applying a new layer of finish. If this doesn’t work, you can always sand the stained wood back.
6. Use bleach to lighten dark stains.
Similarly, you can remove dark stains by carefully applying bleach until the stain matches the surrounding recycled lumber.
7. Sand and finish.
Following repair work, sand and finish your floors to protect them. After sanding, apply finish and a protective sealant that will match the rest of your reclaimed wood floors.
Extremely damaged floors may need to be replaced altogether.