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How to lift flooring using a wrecking bar?

How to lift flooring using a wrecking bar?

Shop for Wrecking Bars


Which design is best?

silhouette of wrecking bar, Ideally, two wrecking bars should be used together for this task.
aluminium wrecking bar, wrecking bar, aluminium, crowbar, Most wrecking bars are suitable for use when lifting flooring. However, you should not use the mini wrecking bar or aluminium wrecking bar to lift flooring. The aluminium wrecking bar lacks the strength to withstand the force which needs to be applied when lifting flooring.
mini wrecking bar, mini crowbar, crowbar, wrecking bar, The mini wrecking bar is simply too small for the task – at slightly shorter than a biro, it is not possible to achieve the leverage required to pry up flooring using a mini wrecking bar.
reclaimed flooring, wood flooring, wooden flooring, Which of the bars you choose out of those suitable should depend on whether you wish to keep your floorboards intact, in order to reclaim, replace, or even sell them.
heavy duty wrecking bar, wrecking bar, gorilla bar, gorilla crowbar, crowbar, gorilla brand tools, Although it is the largest and heaviest wrecking bar available, the heavy-duty wrecking bar is designed to preserve the integrity of contact surfaces (those surfaces with which it comes into contact during use).
gorilla bar, wide claws, crowbar, cat's paw, wrecking bar, heavy duty wrecking bar, Its design incorporates two wide ends to spread the force input over a wider area, both of which are polished to reduce friction between the bar and contact surface.
archimedes, law of the lever, leverage and length, length equals leverage, greater length equals greater leverage, The heavy-duty wrecking bar also has the advantage of being available in the largest size of the wrecking bars in this guide, at 120cm (48in). This means that you will be able to achieve much greater leverage while exerting much less force.
junior gorilla bar, gorilla bar, wrecking bar, junior gorilla bar, heavy duty wrecking bar, However, for controlled use, or if you feel that you are better able to use a lighter tool, this bar is also available in the much smaller ‘junior’ size of 350mm (14in), plus a range of sizes in between.
adjustable wrecking bar, wrecking bar, crowbar, adjustable crowbar, If you will be lifting flooring at difficult or awkward angles, such as in tight corners or within a crawlspace, it’s worth considering the adjustable wrecking bar, which features a claw adjustable through 180 degrees. However, be aware that this type of bar is very expensive.

What else will you need?

marker pen, mark joist location, how to mark joist location, marker, black marker, felt tip pen, permanent marker A marker
multipurpose saw, saw multipurpose, saw, woodsaw, sawing tongue and groove A circular or multipurpose saw – the choice is yours. Use a thin, small blade to avoid damage to the surrounding wood. (see: Saws)You will require a circular or multipurpose saw if you will be removing tongue and groove boards, the tongues of which will need to be sawn through in order to be lifted.
 WONKEE DONKEE says: Tongue and groove boards are slotted securely together using a tongue on one edge, and a groove on the other.
magnet, finding hidden nails, red magnet, horseshoe magnet, red horseshoe magnet, horse shoe magnet A magnet (optional) 

Removing skirting boards

remove skirting, skirting boards, moulding bar, how to remove skirting, Before removing your flooring, you may need to remove a section of skirting from the base of your walls – otherwise, this could make it difficult to remove any flooring which is nailed beneath the skirting board, or to which the skirting board itself is fixed. For a guide to removing skirting, see: How to remove skirting boards using a moulding bar

Wonkee’s hoof-by-hoof guide

previously lifted floorboard, floorboard filler, screwed down floor, wooden board, floorboard The easiest way to begin this job is to identify a floorboard that has already been lifted once before. These can be unscrewed and levered up with little trouble. If this isn’t possible, don’t worry – the process for lifting a floorboard which hasn’t been removed before is not complicated!
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Step 1 – Mark joist

Locate the joist. You can identify its location by looking for the nails fixing the board to it.

Mark the edge of the joist with a line two to four inches to the side of the nails.

wonkee donkee says: if the nails fixing your floorboards to the joists below have been hidden, you can use a magnet to find them!

lift flooring, how to lift flooring, floor joists, flooring joists, joists, Joists support your flooring, and should not be damaged; give yourself some leeway and cut further from the edge, rather than closer. You can always refine your cut later on.If your floorboards do not have a tongue and groove, proceed straight to Step 3.
cutting tongue and groove floorboards, cutting tongues from floorboards, separating tongue and groove floorboards, tongue and groove floorboards, floorboards, lifting flooring

Step 2 – Cut tongues

If working on tongue and groove boards, use your circular or multipurpose saw to cut down the length of the gap between the boards, separating tongue from groove on both sides. The more slowly and carefully you cut, the less chance of damage to the surrounding wood.

set depth on saw, saw depth, circular saw, saw through board, floorboard, set saw blade depth, Before beginning to saw through the tongues, be sure to set the correct depth for the saw blade; this will prevent accidental damage to the joists.The depth set should match the thickness of your floorboards: Floorboard thicknesses of 19-32mm (0.7-1.3in) are the most common.
cutting along joist, cutting across joist, cutting around joist, marked joist, cutting across floorboard, freeing floorboard, lifting flooring

Step 3 – Cut horizontally

Now cut across the line you marked earlier.

Be mindful of the location of the joist during cutting, and of the locations of any cables or wires running beneath the floorboards.

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Step 4 – Insert bar

You can now insert the straight claw of your bar into the gap created by sawing across the joist marker.

Feel free to tap the heel of your bar lightly with a hammer to help wedge the claw into place.

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Step 5 – Apply force

Apply downward force to the opposite end of the bar.

wrecking bar, crowbar, lift flooring, lift floorboards,

Step 6 – Insert second bar beneath board

When the board is lifted slightly, insert the straight claw of your second bar between the edge of this board and the one adjacent.

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Step 7 – Apply force

Apply force to the opposite end of the bar.

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Step 8 – Continue to lift

When the board begins to lift on this side, move to the other, repeating the process. You may hear some cracking and tearing noises as the board is raised and nails are pulled up from the joists below – don’t be alarmed, this is quite normal!

lifting board free by hand, person lifting floorboard, how to lift floorboard, free floorboard, floor board, floorboard, flooring

Step 9 – Remove board

Eventually you will hear the last remaining nails come free with a ‘popping’ sound. You can now lift the board free by hand. If one end of the board is fitted under skirting, simply slide it out.

nail protruding from floorboard, nail circled in red, protruding nail, nail, floorboard, floor board Be sure to remove any protruding nails from the underside of a lifted floorboard immediately.(See: How to pull nails using a wrecking bar)

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