dealing with problem floors

We have nearly 20 years experience - if we haven't tackled a problem with wooden flooring before, and solved it, no one has! The two classic problems we come across are woodworm infected boards and joists and the laying of Deal (young pine) by inexperienced or unscruplous installers.


Woodworm affected joists - if penetration is not critical they can be 'treated & cleated' that is treated with a low-odour, water based wood worm treatment/preventor, repaired and structurally 'beefed up' using cleats made from lengths of new joist timber (also treated).

Affected joists tend to crumble on their edges (right angles) - as long as the wood worm has not fully penetrated the joist, they are usually treatable & may only need basic cleating.

'Cleats' installed alongside weakened original joist timber and resting correctly on the 'plate' - the structural timber that runs below and perpendicular to the joists and supports them.

Another classic problem: 'Deal'- young pine

It shrinks like mad for up to 6 months after being purchased/laid. Ideally, it should be avoided like the plague as it's too unstable. It's worth paying the extra for seasoned reclaimed timber.

The floor below was tongue & groove 'deal' that had been laid, sanded, stained rosewood by another contractor. They finished it all correctly with several coats of good quality lacquer & when the job was finished, it no doubt looked good. Fast Forward six months and a whole winter central heating cycle and you can see that the boards shrunk substantially. Large gaps opened up showing the 'blond' un-stained tongues of the boards.

We had to fill all the gaps with specially mixed two-component filler and re-sand and stain everything from scratch The client basically paid twice for the same job.

Moral of the story: don't scrimp and buy new pine, however cheap it seems at the time - buy reclaim or live to regret it!

Floorboards infected with woodworm

Cleated joist

Cleated joist

New pine: Tongue & Groove 'deal' floor

White lines appear as boards shrink laterally