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How to Repair Pine Flooring

Gail Delaney

Nothing accents a home more than a beautifully finished pine floor. Since pine is such a soft wood, accidents do happen and sometimes you will need to make repairs to keep it looking new. You can accomplish some repairs to your pine floor in a few simple steps. For others, you may need to strip the whole floor or replace floorboards. Doing the repairs yourself is not difficult and can save you a lot of money.

Cosmetic Repairs

  1. Clean the floor with a mixture of warm water and TSP to remove dirt, grime, and debris. To remove water stains from pine flooring, proceed to the next step.

  2. Rub the water stain with fine-steel wool and a small amount of wax paste. If the water marks remain, use a clean dry cloth to wipe the wax away. Use the fine steel wool again only this time add mineral spirits. Wipe the area clean. If the floor has a surface burn, proceed to the next step.

  3. Sand the area lightly. Wipe the area with a tack cloth to remove the sawdust. Apply a finish that matches your floor. If the burn is deeper, proceed to the next step.

  4. Scrape away the burned section of wood with a sharp knife. Apply wood filler, scratch hider, or a stick shellac onto the area. Leave to dry according to manufacturer's directions. Sand the area so it is level with the rest of the floor. Apply a finish that matches your floor. If your floor has holes in it, proceed to the next step.

  5. Remove the damaged boards by gently prying them up. Try to remove them in one piece so you will have a pattern to follow when making or finding a replacement board.

  6. Remove the bottom groove on the new replacement board. To do this, turn the replacement board over so the bottom is facing upwards. With a circular saw, cut off the groove that is facing you on top. Nail the replacement boards in place over the floor joists.

  7. Check the floor for exposed nail heads and countersink them. Hammer the nail until the head of the nail is flush with the wood surface. Use a nail set to sink the nail heads 1/8 inch below the wood surface. When all cosmetic repairs are finished, you can proceed to the next section.


  1. Sand the floor with drum sander that has #80-grit sandpaper. You can rent a large drum sander from most home improvement stores. Remember to always sand in the direction of the grain and to keep the sander moving across the floor. Allowing it to remain in one area will remove too much of the flooring. Use a hand held disc sander to finish the areas along the walls and in corners that the floor sander can't reach.

  2. Vacuum the floor area thoroughly then sand the floor again with #150-grit sandpaper. Vacuum the area again when finished.

  3. Sand the floor for a third time using #220-grit sandpaper. Vacuum the floor making sure you remove all the dust between the floorboards and along the wall.

  4. With a cloth or brush, apply a clear pre-stain wood conditioner. This will give the stain a more even appearance instead of one that is blotched or streaked. Allow to dry 15 minutes then wipe the excess away with a clean dry cloth.

  5. Apply a pre-wood conditioner to the wood. Allow to penetrate the wood for 5 to 15 minutes. With a soft cloth, wipe the excess conditioner away. According to manufacturer's instructions, wait the recommended amount of time before applying stain to the floor.

  6. Apply stain with a brush or cloth, working it in the direction of the wood grain. Stain one section at a time. Wait 30 seconds to 15 minutes. Remove the excess stain with a clean, dry cloth, wiping in the direction of the wood grain. The longer the stain stays on the wood, the darker the color. Change rags often so you do not redistribute the stain and do not rub the wood too hard. Allow to dry for 8 hours.

  7. Apply a thin coat of polyurethane over your pine floor, brushing in the direction of the grain. Allow to dry for 2 hours and then sand with 220-grit sandpaper. This gives the next coat something to adhere to with the surface. Vacuum the dust and wipe with a tack cloth.

  8. Repeat step 7.

  9. Apply a third layer of polyurethane. Allow to dry for 24 hours before moving your furniture back into the room.