Here at Chicagoland Pro we can provide homeowners with a multitude of solutions on hardwood flooring repair. Chicagoland Pro is limited to hardwood flooring and refinishing repairs, as well as small subfloor repairs. If there are any repairs we don’t feel comfortable addressing, we will let you know and you may need to call a carpenter. Repairs we typically do include board replacement and refinishing the floor in which the boards have been replaced. Generally, we will not replace boards unless we are refinishing the floor, in which the boards are being replaced. The reason for this is that the board must be sanded flat with the rest of the floor and we can’t sand and finish a section of flooring and get the stain and finish to match exactly. We replace the boards in the existing floors on a regular basis; however floors must be fully re-sanded and refinished to guarantee an exact match.
When refinishing floors, we must sand and finish from wall to wall. We can generally match any stain fairly closely. However if you are not planning on refinishing your entire floor, you need to expect some color and sheen difference. We can only stop sanding in doorways that run parallel to the seam of the boards. The doorway runs perpendicular to the seam of a board; we must either continue the refinishing to the next room or install a mini threshold to cover the line where we stop sanding.
Types of Repairs
The most common types of repairs we see consist of scratches, dents, gouges, water damage, chemical/fire burns, pet stains, plant stains, holes from preexisting cable or wire installations. All of these repairs require the sanding and finishing of the whole floor, not just sections. Sections of floor cannot be matched up or blended into existing areas without doing the whole floor.
Repairs can be done in almost any situation. However, the extent of the repair depends on various factors, which is why a carpenter may need to step depending on the repair work needed. We have been able to repair and refinish floors that are over 100 years old and made them look close to new.
Scratches, Dents, and Gouges
Chicagoland Pro can provide expert advice on hardwood flooring repairs for scratches, dents, and gouges. Scratches, dents, and gouges that are less than 1/8 inch deep can usually be repaired by sanding and refinishing. If any scratches, dents or gauges are deeper than this, then the board or boards will have to be replaced and the whole floor will need to be sanded and finished.
Chemical/Fire (sparks) Burns, Pet Stains, and Plant Stains
Chicagoland Pro can also provide suggestions for flooring burns or stains. Fortunately, these types of issues can be sanded and finished, unless they are too deep into the wood. All of these have the potential to have boards be replaced, sanded, and finished. Once again, anytime we mention sanding and finishing, it requires the whole floor, not just a section where the damage has occurred.
Holes in the Floor
We often come across flooring that needs hole repair. Nail holes or staple holes caused from carpet installation, can be filled, sanded and finished. These kind of holes require wood filler. Holes in the floor resulting from cable or speaker wire installation may be able to be filled also. These types of holes typically require board replacement, sanding, and finishing.
There are solutions for hardwood flooring that has suffered water damage. Water damage can occur from many different sources including refrigerators, dishwashers, toilets, water damming from rooftops, pipes leaking, and over-watering of plants. If you notice water damage has occurred you should first, mop up all the water immediately. Next, try to find the source of water and fix it. Second, place a fan blowing across the affected area. Lastly, place a dehumidifier on the affected area. Also, if you have a humidifier on the furnace make sure you shut it off. If you do all those steps immediately following a water incident, it is very possible that the damage to your flooring will be minimal and may not require anything needing to be done.
Due to water, the things you may see on your floor are finish peeling or flaking, discoloration of the wood, boards cupping (warping), or gaps. Gaps could be created as the floor is drying out. If you experience cupping don’t get alarmed as cupping typically occurs in all water damages cases. If cupping occurs, have someone or yourself remove the wood. Even after you have done all of the above, a dehumidifier can usually get the floor’s moisture content to a 12% level. Once this level is reached, the floor has to dry on its own. In the Chicago area, 6-8% is normal for most homes, except for homes located on the Lake Michigan shore, which can be different. A 6% moisture content must be reached and maintained for at least 4-6 weeks prior to repair. This process can take a considerable amount of time considering the damage and in each case it may be different lengths of time.
If you were unable to control the damage, most floors only need to be sanded and finished, cupping and peeling finish included. Board replacement is necessary if the boards are discolored. The discoloration cannot be removed by sanding. Gaps caused by water damage can be repaired by replacing wood where the gaps begin to the nearest wall line. Depending on the severity of the damage and size of the gaps, some may be able to be filled.
Remember, moisture content is key to a successful repair. If repair begins on a floor that hasn’t had the moisture content corrected a couple of things could occur. First, if the floor is sanded before moisture content is correct it could re-cup or the floor may crown. Second, if board replacement is deemed necessary but the moisture is too high, the moisture will just transfer and the floor will again have the same problems.
Many homeowners want their floor fixed quickly and here at Chicagoland Pro we emphasize with this need. We have been by homeowners, “Why can’t you remove the wood, let it dry out and then just sand and finish it?” The answer to that is, yes, we can, but the homeowner may have to live with the floor being torn up for several weeks while drying to a 6% moisture level, and then wait another 4-6 weeks for the wood to stay at that level before it can be reinstalled, sanded and finished.