When doing DIY it is often necessary to get under floor often to add or remove services, this involves lifting the floorboards. Lifting floorboards can be difficult if they have never been lifted in the past, so this article should help. Because floor boards are often tongue & Groove it is often difficult to lift just one board without causing damage to the surrounding boards, using the technique below will not cause any damage to other boards. It's not always possible to lift full length boards as the boards are often fixed to the joists then the skirting boards are fitted- making it impossible to remove the boards in one piece.



In this example you can clearly see that these boards have been lifted before because there is a huge lump of filler in one of the gaps. Re lifting these boards will be simple and can be achieved with the use of a couple of pry bars. Obviously if the boards are screwed down you need to remove the screws first.

mark cut line

On the board that you are trying to lift you need to examine it and find the nails holding the board to the joist, then draw a cut line using a ruler and marker pen/pencil between the nails.

cut floorboard

Now a suitable saw needs to be used to cut the tongue off from each side of the board to be lifted. A multi purpose saw such as the Bosch PMF180E will make light work of this or a circular saw can be used.

circular saw depth cut

If you are using a circular saw you need to adjust the depth of cut to about 8mm so that you only cut through the tongue on the boards. Great care must be taken not to go too deep as services may run under the floorboards. When cutting across the board directly above the joist you need to adjust the depth of cut so that the blade is deep enough to cut through the board.

cut board

You can now make the cut across the board using a suitable saw. In most cases it will be possible to cut between the nails, if not you should remove the nails before cutting or you will risk damaging your blade.

use pry bars

You can now proceed to lift the board using a couple of pry bars or crow bars by using them as levers. Ensure you do not split the board when doing this by levering as close as possible to the nails.

remove floorboard

Remove the board fully and then remove and nails using the pry bar/crow bar from the joists and the board. When refitting the board screws are recommended. It's also a good idea to seal around the board using some suitable tape such as duck tape, which will prevent a draught from exiting where the tongues have been cut off.