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Repairing Damaged Wood Veneer

Technical Procedures Disclaimer

Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.


We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.



  1. This procedure includes guidance on making repairs to loose, blistered or missing interior wood veneer.
  2. Interior wood veneer may become damaged as a result of moisture seeping under the surface.
  3. See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines cover the following sections:
    1. Safety Precautions
    2. Historic Structures Precautions
    3. Submittals
    4. Quality Assurance
    5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
    6. Project/Site Conditions
    7. Sequencing and Scheduling
    8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)

These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing this procedure and should be followed, when applicable, along with recommendations from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO).



  1. Wood glue
  2. Waxed paper
  3. Solvent to remove old glue - such as a commercial wallpaper remover
  4. Wood veneer patch to match type and grain of original
  5. Hot, damp rags to loosen veneer


  1. Knife to slice or cut veneer
  2. Clamps
  3. Putty knife to pry end veneer
  4. Pencil or knife to trace patch shape onto damaged veneer area



  1. Surface Preparation: Mask or cover adjacent surfaces and permanent equipment during repair and maintenance. Coverings must be adhered without adhesive tape or nails. Impervious sheeting that produces condensation shall not be used.


  1. For Loose or Blistered Wood Veneer:
    1. Slice an opening parallel to veneer.
    2. Work glue under blister with flexible knife. Press blister flat and remove excess glue.
    3. Clamp until glue sets. Use wood blocking when clamping to protect veneer surface. Place a sheet of waxed paper between veneer and wood blocking to prevent gluing blocking to veneer.
    4. For veneer edges, pry up end slightly with putty knife. Remove all old glue and debris from under edge and reglue as above.
      1. To remove old glue, score residue with knife; sponge on solution of commercial wallpaper remover.
      2. Allow to soak into adhesive until residue has softened; remove with a putty knife.
      3. If adhesive is water soluble, a wallpaper steamer may be used to soften the adhesive.
  2. For Missing Wood Veneer:
    1. Locate a patch from an inconspicuous area or new stock. Make patch slightly larger than damaged area and match color and grain direction.
    2. Loosen with moisture or heat or both. Cut irregularly shaped patch, preferably along grain lines.
    3. Trace shape of patch onto veneer area to be repaired and cut out damaged veneer area. Glue patch in place and clamp as above.