Make it work for you
Clare’s Choice: restored floorboards Impressed by Clare’s beautiful original floorboards? It’s possible yours could be brought back to life, too…
Lift your carpets and you might be pleasantly surprised by original wooden floorboards. If they’re not in great condition, read on to find out how to restore them to their former glory.
Q How do I eliminate gaps between boards?
Floorboards were made to be covered with underlay and carpet, so draughty gaps are common. To fix these, you can use papiermâché mixed with colour-matched woodstain, pushed into the gaps, or use a shop-bought flooring filler. For bigger spaces, fill with a piece of new wood, cut to fit and applied with wood glue. Once dried, plane so it’s flush with the board, before sanding and treating with varnish.
Q What can I do about squeaky floorboards?
Instead of banging another nail or two into the boards, try drilling a small pilot hole through the board and into the joist, and follow up with a screw. Tighten the screw to fix the board and make it secure.
Q My floorboards are scratched – do I have to sand them down to the bare wood?
If the scratches are on the surface and don’t go through to the wood, you can scuff-sand your boards with a floor buffer (available to hire), which is faster and cheaper than resanding. Once buffed, apply a protective, water-based polyurethane coat to finish.
Q What about revitalising the varnish?
Constant battering from shoes, pet claws and furniture can take its toll on a varnish, no matter how tough the finish. Rub down the area with 400-grade wet and dry sandpaper (used wet) until smooth. For deep scratches, use a little wood filler then rub down. Wipe away any residue and clean with white spirit. Brush a coat of floor varnish onto the damaged area, blending it in to the undamaged part. Coloured varnish gets darker with every coat, so if you’ve got the perfect match, use one coat and then follow with a couple of coats of clear varnish.
Q How do I improve boards curving up at the edges?
On softwood boards, you might notice some upward curving widthways, exposing ‘cupped’ edges. To rectify this, use an electric sander to sand down the edges and add a coat of varnish.
“A sprinkle of talcum powder worked between the floorboards is a quick fix if they’re squeaky ” ruth CORBETT, Houses editor
A BEAUTIFUL FINISH MAKES THE SIMPLEST TYPE OF FLOORING LOOK IMPRESSIVE