4 easy fixes for damaged floors

July 27, 2015

Your floors take a beating and over time will start to show their age. Here are some pointers to fix some common problems you might come across.

4 easy fixes for damaged floors

Silencing squeaks in wood floors

  1. Use your ear to locate the squeak. Apply powdered graphite or talcum powder to the joints between the noisy floor boards.
  2. If a lubricant doesn't work, nail down the loose or warped board. Drill pilot holes with a 2.5-millimetre (3/32-inch) drill bit so that the wood doesn't split. Drill holes on both ends of the board to anchor it more securely to the subfloor. Pound the nails nearly home. Then, to avoid leaving hammer marks on the floor, use a nailset to countersink the nail heads three millimetres (1/8 inch) below the surface of the board.
  3. Fill the nail holes with wood putty. Use a colour that matches the floor and apply it with a putty knife. Wipe away any excess putty before it dries. When the putty is dry, apply paste wax to the area around the nails.

Replacing vinyl floor tile

  1. Warm the damaged tile with a steam iron, using a folded tea towel between the iron and the vinyl. Pry out the damaged tile with a putty knife, taking care not to lift or damage the adjoining tiles. Scrape and vacuum up the old adhesive dust.
  2. Check the fit of the replacement tile. If it needs trimming, cut the tile down to size with a sharp utility knife, using a metal straightedge as a guide. Sand the edge lightly with a sanding block if the fit is tight.
  3. Spread fresh adhesive lightly on the floors. Warm the replacement tile, protected by a tea towel, with a steam iron until it is flexible. Set the tile in place, wipe away any adhesive residue and weigh the tile down with books until the adhesive sets.

Replacing damaged mortar

  1. Wearing safety goggles to protect your eyes, use a small masonry chisel to remove all the damaged mortar. Brush and vaccum mortar lines completely.
  2. Mix the mortar and add latex binder according to the manufacturer's instructions. Dampen, but don't soak, the mortar lines; add the mortar mix with small trowel.
  3. "Strike" or groove the mortar line to match the rest of the floor. Wipe off the excess mortar repeatedly with a sponge until the area around the repair is completely clean.

Repairing damaged carpeting

  1. Cut a rectangle of scrap carpeting slightly larger than the damaged area using a utility knife and a metal straightedge. (If you don't have a matching scrap, cut a piece from the back of a carpeted closet or another hidden area.)
  2. Use the cut piece as a template for cutting out the damaged area. Test the fit of the patch and match its weave direction in the intended location. Cautiously trim it for a snug fit, if necessary, with a pair of scissors.
  3. Apply double-sided tape to the margins of the hole. Dab glue around the edges of the replacement plug and align its fibres.

Floors of any style are bound to get dinged up. These steps will let you do those small repairs by yourself and return your floor to its best.

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