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Clare’s Choice: re­stored floor­boards Im­pressed by Clare’s beau­ti­ful orig­i­nal floor­boards? It’s pos­si­ble yours could be brought back to life, too…

Ideal Home (UK) - - Real Home -

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


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