Replacing Rotten or Damaged Flooring

Flood damage or rotten floorboards can be a danger to both your health and the structure of your property – so how do you go about replacing them?

rotten-floor-replacementIf you have recently suffered flooding to the lower section of your property, or if certain portions of the home have finally succumbed to damp and rot, then you might find that your floorboards and flooring are no longer durable or secure enough to withstand regular human movement. So what’s the next step?

Well, you will need to look into replacing the damaged flooring with new floorboards as soon as possible. But where do you start? To help give you an idea of how to go about this DIY home improvement project, we’ve come up with the following step-by-step guide that should tell you everything you need to know about replacing rotten flooring.

Tools and Materials

To replace any rotten or damaged flooring across your home, you will need to source the following items, most of which are available from any good homeware stores:

  • A skill saw
  • A hammer
  • Nail pullers
  • 8d and 16d nails
  • Measuring Tape
  • Scoring knife
  • Carpenter’s Sqaure
  • Oriented Strand Board (OSB) underlay
  • ¾ Inch Plywood Flooring

Step-by-Step Replacement Process

To replace the floorboards, you should read over the following steps and work out a careful, easy to follow plan based on these instructions

  • Clear the area around the damaged flooring and make sure you have ample work space to carry out the replacement job. This means turning off the water supply, removing any fixtures and fittings that might get in the way (such as a toilet basin or sink, or any other pipe-work).
  • Next, remove the trim or wallpaper that is adjacent to the damaged flooring. Lift up and trim any ruined carpet as well – this can all be replaced at the end of the process, once the new flooring is fully fitted and ready to use.
  • Now, clearly mark out and measure the damaged area, using the measuring tape as you go. Extend the trim by at least one inch over the damage, to ensure you don’t miss any water damage.
  • Kick or break through the most damaged or waterlogged portion of the floorboards, and take a look at the joists underneath too. They should be made of solid timber, which makes them particularly resistant to extensive water damage – but if not you might need to look at replacing them before you start laying new flooring.
  • Now, using the 15/8 skill saw, cut along the floor in line with your measurements to remove all of the damaged, damp or waterlogged flooring. Throw it all out as soon as you can to keep the area as clean and clear as possible.
  • If any joists underneath the floor are compromised, you are going to need to cut a new 2×8 section of timber strong enough to secure the damage. Hammer in the timber using a 16d nail on 8inch centres across the joist, and repeat the process for every damaged joist you find.
  • Now that’s all done, it’s time to start laying your new flooring! Firstly, using 8d nails and once again on 8inch centres across the floor, hammer in the Oriented Strand Board (OSB).
  • Make sure the seams of the OSB align neatly with the joists (for potential easy removal later on), and make sure it is securely and tightly fitted – if you have to, you can always sand down some of the board before fitting it in place.
  • Once the underlay is down, you can lay the floor proper – that is, put down your final ¾ inch plywood that will form the surface of your new wooden floor! Instead of nails, you should use construction adhesive on this final step to make sure the joints and boards are secure and durable.
  • You should also make sure you purchase AC grade wood for the smoothest finish possible. Sweep the area for a clean trim and to remove any excess sawdust, and then give it a day to dry and you’re done – your new floor is laid and ready to use.

Of course, you might find that replacing rotten flooring is more difficult than you thought – in which case you can always hire a professional carpenter or building contractor to do the work and fit the replacement flooring for you. Installation fees will make the job a bit more expensive, but messing around with joists and underlay can prove even more costly if you don’t know what you’re doing – it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

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