How Do I Reuse Hardwood Flooring?

Take the best pieces of wood and prepare them for use as new flooring or as something else.
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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over 6 million tons of wood waste was created in 2003, accounting for the largest portion of the residential waste stream into the nation's landfills. You can help reduce this amount by reusing wood instead of disposing of it. Since hardwood flooring is basically boards of lumber, the wood can be reused in all kinds of projects once it is pulled from its location. If you have a wood floor that is old or partially damaged, or you simply want something else, don't cover it up or throw it away.

Step 1

Slip the blade of a screwdriver under the head of the nails on the floor boards and push down on the screwdriver to raise the nails up. You might also consider prying the boards up with a prybar and then pulling the finishing nails out from the other side. If they are finishing nails with small heads, pulling them out from underneath causes less damage to the wood surface.

Step 2

Set one of the boards on a planer and adjust the planer down to the thickness of the board. Once at the thickness of the board, remove the board and narrow the planer slightly more, such as 1/16 inch, so that you take off a minimal amount of the wood. This setting removes the finish and top surface as well as any scratches and dings.

Step 3

Push the board through the planer. When the end of the wood gets near the planer, use a stick to push it in the rest of the way so that your hand doesn't get injured. Repeat with each board.

Step 4

Adjust the planer down another 1/16 inch. Flip the boards over and push them through to remove a layer off the back side of the wood.

Step 5

Check the boards to ensure that they are square, and cut the edges of boards that are not square in order to fix them. Adjust the side bar of a table saw so that only a small portion of the board is between the blade and the bar. Push the board along the blade to make the cut.

Step 6

Mix the flooring boards that you have repaired with others to make another complete set for new floors, or use the wood for other projects. You could, for example, cut it to the proper height and install it on walls as panel slats. You could use it to build furniture, such as table tops, or to make picture frames. Place it around doors and windows as molding or along the bottom edge of walls as a baseboard.

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