How to Repair Tongue and Groove Flooring

Lead Image for How to Repair Tongue and Groove Flooring
  • 2-3 hours
  • Advanced
  • 30-100
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Circular saw
Replacement tongue and groove planks
Razor knife
Miter saw (optional)
Two-part epoxy

Tongue and groove flooring used with its joinery works best for hardwood flooring because it is a great way of creating a smooth, seamless, customized, and often very large end product from using smaller pieces specifically engineered to fit tightly against one another. The individual panels are generally held in place by compression from the installation process, instead of being nailed or glued into place. However, whether they are nailed down or not, these pieces are relatively uncomplicated to repair or replace when necessary.

Prepare, Measure, and Mark

The planks you will use to repair the damaged floor should be acclimated to the room they will be in for at least 48 hours before you begin working, to grow accustomed to the temperature and humidity. Measure and mark the length and number of panels that need to be replaced before you begin cutting any replacement planks. Using a felt tip pen or a pencil, mark the damaged board where you will need to make your cuts about ½ inch from each side of the board, making sure not to cut past the end joints.

Cutting and Removing the Old Flooring

Most flooring is ¾ inch thick, so set the depth of your circular saw accordingly. Running the saw, the drop is slowly into the floor along the line you wish to cut. Make two cuts along the lines you have marked on the floor. Make a third, angled cut between the first two, connecting them in a Z-shape. To make the end cuts, use your razor knife to score the wood, then use an angled chisel to slice through the plank. Carefully pry out the two triangular pieces you now have to remove. Be careful, and remember to clean the groove and the area around the repair.

Replacing the Plank and Finishing the Repair

Cut the replacement flooring to the exact length necessary. Make sure it is exact, so as to ensure a tight fit. You will need to remove the bottom half of the “groove” side of the replacement plank so that you are able to drop it into place. This can be done using a saw, or by scoring the back of the board with your razor knife and then tapping the piece off with a hammer. Dry fit the piece to be certain that it fits the floor properly. Once you are ready to proceed, remove it from the floor. Remember, the glue will set very quickly, so you will need to work fast to finish. Apply the epoxy to the “tongue” and “groove” of the boards surrounding the repair, as well as the “tongue” and “groove” of the replacement piece. Lastly, clean any sawdust or glue from around the repair.