Hardwood floors are a timeless commodity, well-suited to a variety of different lifestyles and a valuable boost to property value. Thus, if your home already has beautiful hardwood flooring, it’s worth preserving. Sometimes, it may require hardwood floor restoration efforts such as replacing heavily damaged sections, uncovering existing flooring, or even adding hardwood to new rooms. If your flooring needs any kind of makeover like this, you don’t have to resort to ripping up the old wood when you can find new wood to match. Let’s find out how!
Wood Species & Grade
The first step to finding the perfect match for your hardwood is to find out the wood species. If you don’t already know or have this information documented, a flooring specialist can help. Most hardwood flooring is made of oak, which is the easiest species to match. Other common wood species that you may have are pine, walnut, hickory, cherry or maple.
Once you know the species, you’ll also need to find out the grade of the original wood. The grade refers to the cut of the wood and how much of it appears free of defects. It doesn’t have anything to do with quality but is just a way of measuring the density of natural features like knots, streaks, and markings. Grade is just a matter of personal preference, but you’ll need to know it if you want the coloring and texture of your new wood to match.
The next step is to visit your local hardwood flooring store to consider a few different options. If you own a historic home, it’s possible that your hardwood is no longer manufactured. If that’s the case, you can still find a wood species similar to the original, as long as it comes in the correct grade, and then stain and finish it to match.
You need to know the wood’s width so that your new planks will appear seamlessly the same size. Thankfully, you don’t need expert knowledge about flooring to find this out. Simply use a tape measure to find the exact width of one of your old planks. It will likely be between 1.5″ to 2.75″.
The profile of the wood refers to the thickness. This detail is crucial so that you can find wood that sits at the same height as your old wood. It’s not too big of a deal if your new wood is slightly thicker since you can always sand it down to fit. If need be, you can also remove a layer of plywood subflooring to even out the difference.
You will need to pull up one of your hardwood planks to measure this, which requires a circular saw, hammer, and pry bar. If that’s not something you’d like to do yourself, ask your local flooring professionals for help.
Once you have found a wood that matches your existing species, grade, width and profile, you’ll be ready to install it. The installation process is probably something you’ll want an expert to do. However, if you are a hardcore DIYer, keep in mind that you have to weave the new planks in with the old.
Weaving is a technique in which existing wood planks are removed or cut, leaving the open spaces purposefully not aligned. This staggered pattern ensures that the new wood placed in those spaces flows seamlessly into the old wood, without any noticeably hard lines between the two.
Last but not least are the final touches. Once the raw wood is neatly installed, it’s a good idea to give the room a good sanding. Sanding will remove any old stain and finish as well as scratches and dents from the existing boards. In this way, all of the hardwood, both old and new, will be uniform and ready for a consistent look. If you don’t want to sand the existing wood, make sure you have a matching stain and finish for the new wood.
After the floor has been thoroughly vacuumed and dusted for sawdust, you’ll be ready to let that wood shine. Apply a stain to achieve your preferred aesthetic and a finish to keep your floors well-protected, and you’re done!
Don’t let your existing wood go to waste just because you want to extend your hardwood flooring. Finding new wood to match your original floors is just a matter of a few technical specifications and proper installation. If in doubt, your trusted hardwood flooring specialist can help you get started on the road to wood matching and gorgeous like-new flooring for your home.