Damaged floorboards can be seamlessly replaced, for instance, but finding appropriate wood for an old floor may require looking in some unusual places. Time-honored methods include using wood salvaged from the house itself (check attics and basements for leftover boards, or even rip up a few pieces of the attic floor if it’s a match), and seeking out locally salvaged or reclaimed wood.
If your floors are fairly recent by old-house standards or if the repair is a small one, you may be able to feather in newly milled wood
from a local lumberyard.
If you’ve pursued the obvious options without success, the next step may be to go to an antique wood specialist. “Several times a week, clients send us photos of flooring they are trying to match,” says Carol Goodwin, president of the Goodwin Company, which reclaims and mills river-recovered heart pine and cypress. “We ask them to send photos of expanses of the floor so that we can see the type and grain of the wood, knot and heart content, color, and character marks such as nail holes, cracks, and checks.”