"Plugging Holes", with your host Bob Vila
May 10, 2010 8:41 PM   Subscribe

How to deal with somewhat large holes in a wooden floor?

I have a kitchen island that I am planning to remove. There's a cooktop in this island that has a flexible vent conduit running into the floor, drawing greasy exhaust from the cooktop. Removing this conduit will leave a roughly 8-10" circular hole in the floor, along with a couple smaller 1" holes for electrical wiring (Romex).

Are there companies that make wood-colored "plugs" or "caps" that can be placed into these kinds of holes, which are both sturdy enough to support floor traffic in a kitchen, and also look wooden enough that they won't be an eyesore?

This is a stop-gap until I can rip out the flooring and put down tile — so I am looking for a cap-based or other hole covering solution that will also be low-profile, so that when I ultimately cover with water-resistant backer board and tile, this protuberance won't create a problematic lump in the floor.

Thanks for any advice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The 1" gaps can be filled with thick twine, hit with a bit of polyurethane. Or just left, really.

The big gap, well, 8"-10" is big. You can just use plywood as if it's subflooring and also hit it with poly, which won't exactly blend, but at least has wood grain. If you stain in a similar color to the floor, it wouldn't be terrible.

I have a friend who used plywood cut in tile-sized pieces as a sort of cheapo parquet look, and it is surprisingly nifty looking.
posted by desuetude at 8:46 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd either replace the planks, rather than some sort of plug solution. Not a big deal for a floorer if something similar can be sourced. Or, for the hole, get a appropriate-sized plant pot with something interesting planted in it, unconventional but it would deal with the big hole cheaply and be a conversation item. The smaller holes, maybe some thick dowel, ripped into say 1" lengths, glued in place.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 9:21 PM on May 10, 2010

I've fixed 1" holes with wood putty (Bigger actually. All our electricity in our old old house is outside the plaster walls in conduit. Every time anybody has ever moved anything - holes in floor.) Make sure it's the sandable kind and be prepared to have it take a couple of tries - get as much as you can around the edges without it falling out, wait for that to dry, fill in a little more, dry. Until it's done, then sand. The real way to do it is with dowels, but that seemed like more work to me at the time.

We had some 8" or so holes, but we just rearranged the furniture until we had them professionally repaired. They replaced the planks. My rather incompetent contractor managed to match my 100+ year old heart of pine floors pretty well when he fixed the holes, so I'd imagine an actual floor person could match your floors well enough.
posted by artychoke at 9:50 PM on May 10, 2010

You can get brass looking caps at a plumbing store. I filled a couple big holes in ny floor with elmers putty which us stainable and black epozy which us not but looks ok
posted by fshgrl at 12:22 AM on May 11, 2010

Wood putty for the 1" holes. Plywood for the 10" but before polyurethane, try and stain it to match the rest of the floor. You might have to mix 2 different stains together.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:25 AM on May 11, 2010

the previous owner of my house drilled holes in the floor to run extensions cords from outside walls to inside walls (old house, not enough electrical outlets). aside from being a huge fire hazard, i was left with holes in the floor. i just used wine corks to plug those.

the other hole ... i dunno. i'll be watching this question, though, since i have a downdraft stove & if i ever decide to move it, i'll have the 8" hole in the floor, too.
posted by msconduct at 6:11 AM on May 11, 2010

People are suggesting Won't you need to have something under a 10" plywood plug to support it? It seems like there would need to be something more too it than just nailing a piece of wood into place.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:52 AM on May 11, 2010

Well, THAT was garbled.
Let's try again.
People are suggesting a plywood plug. Won't you need to have something under a 10" plywood plug to support it? It seems like there would need to be something more too it than just nailing a piece of wood into place.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:05 AM on May 11, 2010

The proper way to fix the 1" holes is with a plug plug cutter. It would be an easy grain match if you cut the plugs from the edge of your large hole. A lumber store dealing with hardwoods or marketed towards furniture builder often have bins of these plugs pre cut. The genius of these plugs is they expose long grain and not the end grain you'd get with say a dowel.

The large hole just needs some matching wood installed or you could go fancy with a floor medallion. Either way the technique is the same:
  1. Neaten up the hole; either square or round.
  2. install blocking underneath to support the patch and make the finished surface flush.
  3. Install the patch.
  4. Finish.

posted by Mitheral at 9:18 AM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just had an additional thought. A rug. Not for support, but to cover the imperfectly patched holes until re-doing the floor.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 2:12 PM on May 11, 2010

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