Replacing Floorboards – Your Simple and Easy Guide

Sometimes no matter how much you may love your old flooring you just need to update it. Maybe you just have one floorboard that desperately needs to be replaced. Then again, perhaps your whole floor could do with a makeover. Either way, we have you covered with all the DIY info you need in this article on replacing floorboards.

Facing some time constraints that may prevent you from replacing floorboards yourself? Then why not hire an expert hardwood floor repairman. Simply submit a request, compare bids from local professionals in the UK and then hire!

Tools for replacing floorboards

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Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

No matter whether you are replacing one floorboard or entire sections of flooring there are a few key supplies that you will universally need. So we went ahead and gathered a list of the most important supplies for replacing floorboards.

Essential Supplies for Replacing Floorboards

  • A new floorboard
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Circular saw
  • Pry bar
  • Wooden blocks
  • Measuring tools i.e. pencil and ruler
  • Chisel

Have you gathered all of your supplies? Great, then you are all set to begin your project!

mismatched hardwood floorboards

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Step 2: Determine Your Floorboard Material

To effectively replace your floorboards, first find out what type of material they are made from.

Figuring out your floorboard material is essential to the success of your project. If you fail to look into this ahead of time, and just plan to replace one or two floorboards you could end up with a mismatched floor.

Should you have an antique floor it may prove especially difficult to find new materials which fluidly match the older ones. However, in this case, you may still be able to find a stain which will provide a close enough match to the original colouring.

Stack of timber

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Step 3: Tongue-and-Groove or Square-Edged?

The next step in the replacement process is to figure out how they piece together. There are two common ways that floorboards are generally secured, tongue-and-groove or square-edged.


Tongue-and-groove floorboards are made with a groove on two edges of the floorboard and a tongue (a piece of wood which sticks outwards) on the other two ends. The tongues and grooves then interlock together to secure the flooring in place.


In contrast to tongue-and-groove boards, square-edged floorboards do not have any interlocking edges. In effect, these boards are flat on all sides. Instead of being secured via their ability to interlock with one another they are nailed to the joists beneath them.

It is fundamental to find out what type of floorboards you have before you move on the next step. This is because it will influence the rest of the replacement process. So, to make it clear how to proceed, each of the following steps is divided into two sections based on tongue-and-groove or square-edged boards.

saw slicing a plank of wood

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Step 4: Cut Out the Damaged Area

Now that you know how your floorboards are attached you can begin to tackle the replacement process. The first step of this process is to remove or cut out the damaged boards. So, let’s begin!

Tongue-and-Groove Floorboards

The best way to remove tongue and groove floorboards is by using a circular saw with a blade that can cut nails. Using this blade will allow you to slice through any concealed nails which you could easily miss. Set the saw to the exact measurement of the depth of the floorboards. Then, cut along the length of the damaged board until you have cut past the damaged area.

Next, prop up the loosened damaged board using a wood block and pry bar. The woodblock will help to prevent you from damaging the nearby boards in the process of lifting the floorboard up. Once the floorboard is up and out you can then move onto the next step.

Square-Edged Floorboards

If you have square-edged floorboards the removal process is somewhat simplified as there are no grooves or tongues to account for.

The first step to removing a square-edged floorboard is to find where the closest joist connects to the floorboard. Using your pencil and ruler draw a line on the old floorboard at this position.

Does the middle area of the board have the damage instead of the edge? Then draw lines marking the closest joists on either side of the damage.

Next, resting your pry bar on a wood block to protect nearby boards, begin to lift up the board. This may be slightly tricky as you will be lifting it without removing the nails that secured it to the joist. Then, rest the board on top of small wood blocks to keep it raised.

Place a piece of plywood underneath the board where you drew the line. Using your saw cut along this line removing the damaged part of the floorboard. Then, move on to the next step.

Chisels on a workbench

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Step 5: Prepare the New Floorboards

With the old damaged area of your floorboards removed, it’s now time to prepare your new floorboards to fit in.

Tongue-and-Groove Floorboards

It is necessary to replace your tongue-and-groove floorboard with a floorboard made in the same style. The groove on the new floorboard will help to ensure that it remains securely fastened in place.

However, you will need to remove the tongue from the floorboard’s edge or else it won’t slide in place. To do this, firmly run a sharp chisel along the edge that has the tongue. If this does not remove the tongue you may need to use a saw instead.

After you have completed this step you can slide the board into the gap with the groove facing the tongue in the nearby board. Then, secure it in place.

Square-Edged Floorboards

The process to prepare a square-edge floorboard for placement is quite simple. Just saw the floorboard to fit the space where the damaged floorboard used to be.

Next, use the damaged piece which you removed from the flooring as a template. This will ensure that you cut the new piece to the perfect size. All finished this step? Then hop on over to the next section to find out how to secure the floorboard in place.

Hammer and nails

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Step 6: Secure the New Flooring in Place

So now that you have your new floorboards all prepared it is time to secure them in place! In this instance, the method for securing both floorboard styles is the same. Once the plank is in the space, use your hammer and nails to secure it to the joists. Voila! You have successfully replaced a floorboard.

To finish it off lightly sand any rough patches on the floorboard. Then, if the colour of the wood is off, use a stain to alter the colour so that it matches the surrounding floor.

Further Reading

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