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Three tips for repairing hardwood dry rot

Preventing scratches isn’t the only item high on the agenda of someone looking to preserve the condition of a hardwood floor, as from time to time a dry rot can set in. When it does, it’s worse for a floor than a heavy couch with metal legs or a large, excitable canine.

Dry rot occurs in a piece of wood when the moisture has left completely, but it can also be caused by termites burrowing through the pulp.

For those whose hardwood floor has dry rot – fear not! Follow these simple steps to tackle the issue and get your boards looking right as rain:

1. Cleaning

If left unchecked, dry rot will spread like a disease and cause hardwood to crumble, forcing you to splash out on a costly renovation project. First, you need to clean out the affected areas; doing so is relatively simple and doesn’t require any specialist tools. All you need is a hammer and chisel, as well as a vacuum cleaner with an extension wand (the kind without bristles that you can use to suck the dust from nooks and crannies).

Start by hoovering out the rotted area with the extension nozzle to remove any debris already there. Once satisfied, use the hammer and chisel to chip away any parts of the wood affected by the rot. Identifying the bad bits should be easy, as the wood bearing the decay will be weak and crumbly.

Once you’ve cut away all the rot, use the vacuum cleaner to suck up all the chippings and clean the hole out again.

2. Filling

Wadding the hole is the trickiest part of the process. Wood putty often comes in either a tub or a tube, both of which make it difficult to apply to the afflicted area of your floor.

Buy a pastry bag with a plain plastic tip and fill it with your wood putty. Insert the tip and squeeze, making sure that you cover all areas of the hole, and be sure to spill over the top slightly so that the edges are properly sealed.

3. Finishing up

Once the putty has dried, use a sander to make it level with the rest of the floor.

At this point, you may want to consider revarnishing to make the wood putty less conspicuous, but that all depends on how closely the colour of your putty matches the hardwood. At least now you don’t have to worry about the boards crumbling under your shoes.

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