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 Post subject: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:08 pm 
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We purchased about 50 cases of Bruce prefinished hardwood back in December of 2002 (CR3455 - Ellington/Gentry Plank - Antique finish). We eventually installed most of it, in stages over the years, going from room to room as our old knees and backs would allow and we still have enough unopened cases to finish up a last remaining bedroom and hopefully a small foyer.

We did a lot of homework before installing any of the flooring and despite a few dents and scratches here and there, the installed floors still look great and we've been quite pleased overall with the Bruce product and its durability. That is, until last week, when we had a family get together and one of the girls sat down on an ottoman that had been pulled out into the middle of the living room floor. We were surprised to see that the glider on one of the ottoman's legs had punched right through the finished surface into an apparent internal void in the wood. Please see the attached photos of the damage.

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I do understand that normal wear and tear, like dents and scratches, are not covered by the Bruce warranty, but the warranty does provide lifetime coverage of the structural integrity of the flooring. I contacted Bruce, to discuss the problem, and was advised that all warranty claims must be initiated by the retailer who furnished the flooring.

I then contacted the local retailer who provided the hardwood to initiate a warranty claim thinking, if the retailer was to be involved in a repair, that Bruce would reimburse them for their time and service. The retailer was really great and advised that such warranty claims were generally a very painful process, probably involve an on-site inspection, and could take 6 or 8 weeks to resolve; one way or another. Instead, since I still have plenty of the original product on hand and even though the retailer had nothing to do with installing the floors, they offered to come out on their own dime to remove and replace the defective board at no charge!

I then did a little research on the process of removing and replacing a single board in the middle of a floor and I'm not so sure this type of repair is the best option. As I understand it, after cutting into and removing the defective plank in pieces, the bottom flanges of the grooved end and edge of the replacement board would then be removed to allow it to "drop into place". It would then need to be glued down and/or face nailed to be fastened securely. My concern of course is the disruption of the structural integrity of the tongue and groove floor.

Another option I've seen described, and discussed with the retailer, is to leave the existing floor intact and fill the void in the defective board with an epoxy filler and then (in most cases) refinish the damaged area to match as much as possible. In this particular case, as can be seen in the attached photos, it is only a little oval shaped flap of the finished floor surface that has folded down into the hidden void: but is still attached, though slightly flexed and stressed at one end. The antique stressed look of this floor product, I think would do well in hiding or at least minimize the final appearance of such a repair.

I've discussed the two repair options with the retailer, who advised that we set up the service call and decide how best to proceed at that time. I should be hearing from the service person in the next few days to schedule the appointment. In the meantime, I've brought in one of the remaining cases of the original product to acclimate in the living room should we decide to go that route.

I would however, appreciate any advice or suggestions from you more experienced folks on the best course of action to repair this damage. I.E. Remove and replace the damaged board or leave the structural integrity of the floor intact and try to lift the "damaged flap" up flush with the floor surface and fill the void with a suitable epoxy or other product.

As always, your assistance is much appreciated! ZT


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Amish made hardwood

 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:46 pm 
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I'm wondering if there is a knot in the area of the void. A lot of times you'll see the blackened knot on the underside of the floor board but not on the topside but you don't know how far through it extends. This is just a guess. Why not start with the easy fix by filling the void and if this doesn't work well or looks bad then do the floor board.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:25 pm 
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JIMMIEM wrote:
I'm wondering if there is a knot in the area of the void. A lot of times you'll see the blackened knot on the underside of the floor board but not on the topside but you don't know how far through it extends. This is just a guess. Why not start with the easy fix by filling the void and if this doesn't work well or looks bad then do the floor board.


It's quite possible that there was a knot in the board, but I was very selective and quite picky when racking out the floor. I discarded a lot of boards that looked dubious in any way (certainly a greater percentage than I was told to expect) or I cut off the suspect ends and used them at the end of a row where I could.

I appreciate your advice and would appreciate any further suggestions, or the best product and methodology, for filling the void and retaining the pre finished "sunken flap".

ZT


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:26 am 
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ZT wrote:
JIMMIEM wrote:
I'm wondering if there is a knot in the area of the void. A lot of times you'll see the blackened knot on the underside of the floor board but not on the topside but you don't know how far through it extends. This is just a guess. Why not start with the easy fix by filling the void and if this doesn't work well or looks bad then do the floor board.


It's quite possible that there was a knot in the board, but I was very selective and quite picky when racking out the floor. I discarded a lot of boards that looked dubious in any way (certainly a greater percentage than I was told to expect) or I cut off the suspect ends and used them at the end of a row where I could.

I appreciate your advice and would appreciate any further suggestions, or the best product and methodology, for filling the void and retaining the pre finished "sunken flap".

ZT


If there is a lot of give when you press on the indentation I would pry it up and take a peek. With the rustic look of your flooring it will be fairly easy to hide/disguise any fixes. As far as replacing a floor board and removing the bottom edge of its groove the structural integrity of the floor will be fine. I'm a fan of countersunk trim head screws when securing through board faces and again the fixes will 'disappear' with your rustic flooring.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:20 am 
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JIMMIEM wrote:
If there is a lot of give when you press on the indentation I would pry it up and take a peek. With the rustic look of your flooring it will be fairly easy to hide/disguise any fixes. As far as replacing a floor board and removing the bottom edge of its groove the structural integrity of the floor will be fine. I'm a fan of countersunk trim head screws when securing through board faces and again the fixes will 'disappear' with your rustic flooring.

Oh yes! There's plenty of give when pressing down on the partially collapsed little flap; so there's definitely a significant void down there. I'm just not sure how large it is.

While prying up the little flap to have a look would surely answer that question, I think that would likely break the flap off completely, where it is still somewhat attached, and preclude any chance of "saving the flap" as an integral part of the repair. Would you agree?

I'm wondering if there might be a specific product/method to pump/inject enough of an epoxy type filler to fill whatever size void might be down there, and thereby push the still partially attached flap back up (hydraulically) so as to to be level with the surface of the floor. Has anyone ever heard of, or attempted anything like this before or think such a repair is feasible?

If so, I would appreciate any specific product recommendations on a suitable epoxy type filler and techniques for accomplishing such, a repair?

If not, I think the best course of action will be, as Jimmiem suggests, to pry the flap up, and probably have it break off, then fill the void and try to lay the (pre-finished) flap back down into the epoxy filler and flush with the floor and clean up any of the epoxy filler that may ooze out of the edges of the repair. Does this sound reasonable and do-able?

If worse comes to worse, and none of the above works out, I can always remove and replace the defective board.

Any other advice or suggestions are most welcome and appreciated! ZT


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:21 pm 
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ZT wrote:
JIMMIEM wrote:
If there is a lot of give when you press on the indentation I would pry it up and take a peek. With the rustic look of your flooring it will be fairly easy to hide/disguise any fixes. As far as replacing a floor board and removing the bottom edge of its groove the structural integrity of the floor will be fine. I'm a fan of countersunk trim head screws when securing through board faces and again the fixes will 'disappear' with your rustic flooring.

Oh yes! There's plenty of give when pressing down on the partially collapsed little flap; so there's definitely a significant void down there. I'm just not sure how large it is.

While prying up the little flap to have a look would surely answer that question, I think that would likely break the flap off completely, where it is still somewhat attached, and preclude any chance of "saving the flap" as an integral part of the repair. Would you agree?

I'm wondering if there might be a specific product/method to pump/inject enough of an epoxy type filler to fill whatever size void might be down there, and thereby push the still partially attached flap back up (hydraulically) so as to to be level with the surface of the floor. Has anyone ever heard of, or attempted anything like this before or think such a repair is feasible?

If so, I would appreciate any specific product recommendations on a suitable epoxy type filler and techniques for accomplishing such, a repair?

If not, I think the best course of action will be, as Jimmiem suggests, to pry the flap up, and probably have it break off, then fill the void and try to lay the (pre-finished) flap back down into the epoxy filler and flush with the floor and clean up any of the epoxy filler that may ooze out of the edges of the repair. Does this sound reasonable and do-able?

If worse comes to worse, and none of the above works out, I can always remove and replace the defective board.

Any other advice or suggestions are most welcome and appreciated! ZT


In order to determine what to use to fill the void it would be best to first determine what the cause of the void is. You can always glue the flap back. With the texture and graining of your floor boards you should be able to hide any patch or fix...color match pencils would let to redraw graining patterns, etc. You could also glue the flap back even if you have to totally remove it.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:34 pm 
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Thanks again for your replies JIMMIEM. You've given me at least one more option to consider.

ZT


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:44 am 
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With pre-finished wood it will be more practical to just cut out the old, defective board and replace with a new one. The worst case scenario that produced the cavity is a beetle tunnel. You could shoot an entire 2 part injection kit of epoxy that 3M makes and it may not fill the gap. After removing the plank by drilling a hole at each end, use a circular saw to cut out a strip the width of the drill diameter, ¾ inch, and after chiseling out the strip the board will be easier to remove. One side will be loose so take that out first. Be careful not to damage adjacent boards. The replacement board end with the tongue will need to be trimmed off and bottom of the groove removed to fit. A block plane to undercut the groove will help it to fit. If you are using a flexible glue, like latex sub-floor adhesive there will be no loss of integrity in the T&G, but you could glue only the bottom edge of the groove to the tongue after adding nails to the adjacent board where the tongue will fit to help the row next to what you are replacing more secure, since you will have removed some nails by taking the defective board out.
Flat power-cleats work well to "back-nail" through the bottom part of the previous board, just don't set it through.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:56 pm 
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Thanks Pete! I appreciate the detailed information you've provided. I hope you won't mind some followup questions...
Pete A. wrote:
With pre-finished wood it will be more practical to just cut out the old, defective board and replace with a new one.

While I may have become fairly proficient at installing HW for a DIYer, I've never attempted to remove a single board from the middle of the floor and until very recently felt somewhat intimidated by the thought of having to do so. And while the HW retailer, who sold me the wood 10 or 15 years ago but had nothing to do with installing the floor, has offered to come out and replace the board at no charge, I'm not so sure I really want to "take advantage" of their generosity and willingness to help. So I'm really considering doing the repair myself and may try the repair option first and see how it turns out before replacing the defective board. Do you really see no chance of winding up with a good looking and long lasting repair by filling the void?
Pete A. wrote:
The worst case scenario that produced the cavity is a beetle tunnel. You could shoot an entire 2 part injection kit of epoxy that 3M makes and it may not fill the gap.

Is a beetle dug tunnel something that could have occurred since the floor was installed? Or is it more likely that the beetle did the dirty work during storage in a warehouse or even while the tree was still alive and the void was just not discovered during the manufacturing process?

And, is the 3M injectable epoxy you mentioned specifically designed for hardwood flooring repairs or simply a general purpose epoxy product? Can you, perhaps, provide the name of the specific product you had in mind?
Pete A. wrote:
After removing the plank by drilling a hole at each end, use a circular saw to cut out a strip the width of the drill diameter, ¾ inch, and after chiseling out the strip the board will be easier to remove. One side will be loose so take that out first. Be careful not to damage adjacent boards. The replacement board end with the tongue will need to be trimmed off and bottom of the groove removed to fit. A block plane to undercut the groove will help it to fit.

After watching a few YouTube videos I must admit that the prospect of removing and replacing the defective board doesn't seem so intimidating anymore. I especially liked your suggestion of drilling a hole at each end of the board which should result in a lot less chiseling, cracking and splintering than I've seen in some of the videos. If it does come to replacing the bad board, how close to the ends of the board should I be drilling these starting and ending holes?
Pete A. wrote:
If you are using a flexible glue, like latex sub-floor adhesive there will be no loss of integrity in the T&G, but you could glue only the bottom edge of the groove to the tongue after adding nails to the adjacent board where the tongue will fit to help the row next to what you are replacing more secure, since you will have removed some nails by taking the defective board out. Flat power-cleats work well to "back-nail" through the bottom part of the previous board, just don't set it through.

Do you recommend using a flexible latex sub-floor adhesive as opposed to a polyurethane construction adhesive?

And do you recommend, as I've seen in some videos, cutting out the felt paper in the empty space and glueing the new board directly to the wood subfloor? Or should I leave the felt paper in place and apply the glue only to the underside of the two remaining upper flanges of the grooved edge and end of the new board?

How about the tongue side of the new board, should I apply any glue to that joint? Or leave the tongue dry to allow for some expansion and contraction?

I do understand the beveling of the edge of the remaining upper flange of the new board's edge groove to allow the new board to easily rotate down into place but I'm not sure I understand the back-nailing part. The adjacent board with its tongue facing the empty space should still be nailed securely in place; so I assume the back-nailing all takes place on the adjacent board with its groove facing the empty space. Are you suggesting that I back-nail into the lower crotch of that adjacent board's edge groove?

As for the power cleat nails... I have only a Bostitch MIIIFS which, I believe, only shoots staples. I do however, have a pair of Senco 15g (1-1/4 to 2-1/2) and 18g (5/8 to 1-1/4) finish nailers. Are either of these finish nailers suitable for shooting the power cleat nails? If not can the power cleat nails be driven by hand or should I just pre drill and then back-nail with regular finish nails? Or perhaps, ring shank siding nails?

And finally what size and length do you recommend for the back-nails? My floor is 3/4 and the subfloor is two layers of plywood with 5/8 laid on top of 1/2.

I look forward to your reply Pete!

I really can't thank all of you, here on this forum, enough. If it wasn't for the help I received from all you guys in past years, i would never have been able to successfully install my wood floors in the first place. Now here I am again for more help with this repair job and I'd be lost without your help once again.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! ZT


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:21 am 
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The beetle larva damaged the wood before the wood was kiln dried.
3M makes a pro dust designed for floor repairs. The 2 part epoxy comes to fit a special 'caulking" type gun that presses the two different parts at the same time to go through a mixing tube and a nozzle that goes into a hole that is drilled with a bit that comes with the kit. Two part general purpose epoxy can be used,but without the special gun it will be messy.
Drill the hole as close to the ends as you can without damaging the adjacent board.
I like the sub-floor adhesive for easy clean-up. Be careful with the poly-urethane adhesive. It can etch finish if it contains isocyanate if it is left on the surface for very long. The latex glue will stick to tarpaper, but if you are leaving the paper, cut it out carefully, glue under it , replace the paper then glue the wood flooring to the paper. It's too much trouble for this, since it usually tears when removing the piece of flooring. The latex adhesive will fill up to 3/8ths of an inch, so you don't really need the paper to make the repair.
Back nailing goes into the edge of the board that the tongue will fit into, which used to be held down by the board that you are taking out. These T&G installations are only nailed on one side of the boards, so one board holds the next edge of the adjacent board. When you take a board out, and remove some nails. there will be no fasteners holding the last board on one side unless you add fasteners while the bad board is out. A finish nail , or air compressor nail can be nailed through the bottom part of the groove side that is exposed before the new board is shoe-horned into place. You will need to use a nail set to give clearance for the tongue so it fits by just setting the nail without setting it too deep. You can use 18 ga, brads, for less of a split chance when the nails are set. This is important if you don't use glue to hold the repair in place. Glue is not a requirement for replacing a single board repair. You can surely top-nail the board after it is fit into place, then putty the nail holes. I don't think it matters whether you have 5/8ths inch or half inch or both layers nailed together. 3/4ths inch flooring will work well over any of these sub-floors.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Repair Option: Hidden void in hardwood board!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:02 am 
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Thanks Pete!
I appreciate your well reasoned replies!
ZT


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