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How to Replace a Wood Bleacher Board

How to replace a broken wood bleacher board so that it matches all the other bleachers in your gym.

There are plenty of options for replacing or upgrading entire sections of bleacher seating, but one cracked board needn't send you down that expensive road. Here's how to replace a broken wood bleacher board so that it matches all the other bleachers in your gym:

Obtain a properly sized bleacher-quality board (able to support approximately 100 pounds of live load per square foot), preferably from the original equipment manufacturer or a bleacher parts supplier.

If the new board is not finished, stain it to closely match the color of the existing bleacher boards in your system and let dry. Apply two or three coats of polyurethane, allowing adequate drying time between coats.

Remove existing bolts on the old board by loosening the nuts on the underside.

Noting which ends of the old board are left and right and which of its sides are top and bottom, remove the old board from the bleacher system and remove any chewing gum or other debris from it.

Keeping friction between the old and new boards to a minimum, place the old board flush on top of the new board and clamp them together using several C-clamps.

Select a drill bit that matches the circumference of the bolt stems and drill bolt holes in the new board through the old board, using its existing holes as a guide for proper spacing. If the old board is severely warped, you may need to adjust the spacing accordingly before drilling the new holes.

Unclamp the old board from the new one, and if possible, replace the old bolts with new ones (carriage bolts with a smooth, rounded head are the preferred choice over Phillips or slotted-head bolts).

Secure the bolts with new lock nuts, preferably ones with a built-in star washer. If the old bolts are reusable and feature Phillips or slotted heads, use an electric impact wrench to tighten them. If this process creates a raised edge on the bolt head, use a hammer to tap it smooth.

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