I tried to secure a loose floor board using the system where you insert
a screw and snap it off. Well, it didn't work and I now have a 5/32"
hole in the floor. The floor is finished. I know several ways I could
patch this hole if I wanted to refinish the area (epoxy and sawdust,
wood putty), but it would be nice if I didn't have to go to that much
trouble. (And if I did that the resulting area of mismatched finish
would probably look worse than the hole.)
I'm wondering if the wax fillers would hold up. (I could pack the hole
with something more substantial first like there really was a screw in
there and then just use the wax filler for a little bit at the top to
blend in.) I have heard of but never tried fillers that are melted in
which seems like it might be stronger and hold up better.
What is the best answer?
There probably is no "best" answer. Restoration is an art more than a
science. If there is no screw left at all, you probably should put a screw
in there. Use a screw with untapped (smooth without thread) portion as
thick or thicker than the thickness of the floor board, or drill a clear
hole through the top board but stop before entering the subfloor. If you
just screw a full tapped screw through both, whatever distance between the
first and second layer will be maintained without the wanted tightening
Once you have the floorboard secure and tightened, don't break the screw
off. Grind it off with a grinding wheel and drill motor. Do it a little at
a time to avoid heat that might char the wood. Grind to below surface
level, then tap a few times with a hollow point nail set and mallet to get
even deeper below surface. Now you can patch with wax filler or whatever
I'd use a little wood putty, water putty, or plastic wood. I'd mix the
putty with a touch of oil color from an artist friend until it matches the
color of the floor. It takes a good eye and a knowledge of colors but any
artist should be able to surprise you at the match. Apply the color
matching putty to just ever so slightly higher than surface area, let it
dry then wet sand it with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper for smooth surface.
If you want glassy smooth, finish it with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper.
Obviously you don't want glassy if the rest of the floor is just smooth.
You could use the wax, but it will just come out and the raw edge will
likely splinter eventually. The wood putty would be much better.
Randy R. Cox
I'd use a wood plug - my local HD actually has a couple species of wood
in 3/8" plugs, a woodworking store would have more, or you could buy a
plug cutter to make your own plugs. You might need to drill out the
hole up to 1/4" to make a standard plug fit. Then you'd need a
flush-cut saw to even it off. Note most plugs/dowels are end grain, so
the stain and wood pattern wouldn't match well, but some woodworking
suppliers (i.e. Rockler, Woodcraft) have face grain plugs that would
probably match your floor better, but these probably wouldn't be
available sizes smaller than 3/8".
Even if you don't match the wood exactly (test with a few stain/finish
combinations before the real version), it seems like a real wood plug
would stand out less than putty or wax.
I think that a 1/8" diam spot of filler would not be that visible. An
end grain plug that is 3/8" in would stand out a lot more. A side
grain plug fit well to the grain could blend in pretty well.
But all of these solutions require that I essentially refinish the
floor in a region around the damage. And that means there will be a
two inch spot where the finish doesn't match (because I'm just not that
good and don't have any artist friends to involve in the project) and
that two inch blotch will be a lot more visible than a 1/8" hole of
some kind of filler.
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