Video: Repair/Expand a Hardwood Floor

If your remodel includes removing a wall in a room with hardwood floor, then this video is for you. Hi. I’m Nathan Harrison for

Now, floors don’t run under the walls unless the walls came later. The wall are generally built first. Then the floors are run. So, if you’re planning to remove a wall as part of a remodel project, what you’re going to discover is that your hardwood floor ends at the wall. When the wall is removed, you’ll be looking down at sub-floor.

Obviously, if you’re removing a wall, you’re most likely going to want to have the same floor material in the larger new room continuous throughout the new room.

You may think that you’d have to tear up the old floor and put new flooring down everywhere. But that is not necessarily the case. You need to know about this concept of lacing a hardwood floor.

The goal of lacing is to extent your hardwood floor into the new area so that no one would ever know that it wasn’t all put down at the same time. Now, you may be thinking, “That’s nice in theory, but is it really possible to make it look good?”

Well, take a look at the floor in this picture. I would never have know that this floor was actually a laced floor unless the owner of the house had told me.

We had been installing a kitchen here for about 2 days when the owner mentioned that there had been a wall about right here. The wall was removed, the floor was laced, and, let me tell you, you’d never know.

So, how do they do this? Well, I can tell you that it’s painstaking work because I have done some of it myself. First of all you have to pull out some of the smaller pieces – just pull them out & get rid of them. Then you want to cut back some of the longer pieces to give good joint variation so that the joints all seem to be falling randomly as if the wall was never there. You can see that they succeeded in this case.

Here’s a picture from of lacing before the floor is sanded so you can really see how it all works. In this case there was probably water damage on the area of the floor toward us. It’s all going to be sanded and eventually look uniform.

Just to give you an idea of what’s possible…. This edge of the lower piece was cut with a chisel, and yet you can see they created a very clean edge, and the gap between the old piece and the new piece is less than 1/64″. This was one of the worst locations I could find, and you can see it’s not very bad at all. In fact, it’s not noticeable unless you get down and really look at it.

How feasible is this for your floor? It’s going to be least expensive if your floor uses a common plank size. Probably the more recent your floor is, the cheaper. But for a small area, planks could be custom cut and routed if it’s a tongue and groove floor. This could all be done economically as long as it’s a small area. The larger area you get into, if you’re going to have to have custom cut and routed pieces, the more expensive it’s going to be.

For rare woods, the species may no longer be available in the lengths and/or widths that you need to continue the existing floor. So that may be an issue for you.