Seldom do we come across an old floor (1960’s and prior) where there aren’t some spots in the hardwood that are stained, discolored, severely gaped, rotted, gouged or missing. Often these spots can be addressed without repair, but, in many cases, the only way to fix the floor is to do a repair. The difference between a bad repair and great repair is:
Often we have to use old, salvaged wood to blend into the old floor due to new wood not having the right color. Maple and Douglas fir are examples of wood that takes on too much of a distinctive color for new wood to be used if the floors are old enough. The other key to blending the repair into the floor is to “stagger” the repair into the existing floor (other terms for this are “teething,” “weaving,” or “fingering”). This means we don’t just cut a square and fill it, but rather we take the time to cut staggered butt-ends so no two butt-ends are next to each other.* This is how the original floor was installed and this is the only way to make the repair blend.**
b.) If the floor is solid in the area of repair or full of squeaks.
*If the repair is close to the wall, it is often easier to tear out the bad section all the way to the wall and avoid staggering in butt-ends.
**Often adding a feature strip or border is less labor than staggering in butt-ends if the bad section is extensive enough. This way, you save a little money on labor and get a nice feature in your floor. Obviously, the repair area is not always in a good location for a feature, but with a little imagination, we usually can think of something creative.