How to fix hardwood flooring gaps from National Floors Direct

How to Fix Gaps in Hardwood Floors: Your Essential Guide

Hardwood is taking America by storm! Businesses produced almost 18 million cubic meters of hardwood in 2019. Most of this wood went into the floors of residences and commercial buildings.

Hardwood floors are sturdy, stylish, and easy to maintain. Yet you may have gaps in your floors within a few weeks. You should know how to fix gaps in hardwood floors right now. 

When should you fix your gaps? What can you do to fix gaps without calling a repair company? When should you get your floor replaced? 

Answer these questions and you can maintain your hardwood floors for years to come. Here is your quick guide.

Assess the Situation 

Hardwood floors inevitably form gaps due to how wood moves. During hot days, moisture content inside the wood is lost, causing the wood to shrink. Water-logged wood can swell, applying pressure against planks so they chip and break. 

It is okay if there are small gaps between your planks. You should fill them in if items are getting stuck in between them or if they are becoming very large. 

If you're bothered by gaps while it is very dry or humid, you may want to wait a few days. The gaps may fill in and resolve themselves. But if the gaps in hardwood floors are permanent, you can take steps to fill them in.

Use Wood Strips

Inserting wood strips into your gaps is one of the easiest ways to fix gaps in hardwood floors. You should use strips with the same wood as your floorboards, so you should buy a spare floor board from your floor supplier. 

Buy a spare board and then measure the width and length of your gaps. Take a pencil or pen and mark how big the gaps are on your spare board. 

You can use a table saw to cut strips of the appropriate length. You can use any saw you have on hand, including an electric saw or a handsaw. 

Once you've cut your strips, you should spread some wood glue on each side and then insert the strips into your gaps. You can use a mallet to tap them into the gaps, which will keep them from breaking.

If you have high spots on your strips, you should use a piece of sandpaper to smooth them over. You can also put stains on your strips so they match your floor. 

Fill Gaps With Rope

Using pieces of rope is a good option for fixing gaps in hardwood floors if you have wide planks or if you live in a very old house. Inserting strips may damage your boards, but pieces of rope have soft surfaces so they won't cause your boards to chip.

You should use a flathead screwdriver to remove any dirt or grime inside of your gaps. If anything is trapped inside, you can use tweezers to remove it. You can then vacuum the floor so you pick up any small pieces of debris. 

Get a rope that has a diameter that is a little bigger than the gaps in your floors. You can apply some wood stain on your rope so it resembles the colors of your boards. 

Stretch the rope out so it is thin and taut and place it over the gap. Press it into the gap using a putty knife and stop once the rope is below the surface of the wood. If you need to trim the rope, you can use a utility knife. 

To keep the rope in place, you can smear a little wood glue over the top. Wait for the glue to dry and place a varnish over it so the rope seems like hardwood. 

Try Wood Putty or Filler

Wood putty is a good tool to use if you want to save time and if you have a bunch of small gaps. You can make your own wood filler, or you can buy a putty from a store. Clean your floorboards first with a dampened cloth, removing any dust or chips. 

Put a little wood putty into the gap. Try to put it as far as you can into the gap, then use your finger or a blunt object to insert it further. You may need to use circular motions so the putty goes down and touches both sides of the gap. 

Leave the putty in place so it hardens. You may want to use a damp cloth to remove any residue you left while trying to insert your putty. 

Replace Your Whole Floor

You don't have to replace your floor just because there are a few gaps in the boards. But you must replace your floor if the gaps threaten the integrity of your house or if your floor starts to warp. 

You may be able to get someone to replace a board and fix your floor. But if the cost of repairs would exceed the cost of a new floor, you should get a new one. 

Take a look at your options for hardwood flooring before you buy one. Engineered hardwood flooring has a plywood base, which prevents the wood from expanding due to heat and moisture. You should select an engineered floor so you avoid a similar problem in the future.

Learn How to Fix Gaps in Hardwood Floors

Figuring out how to fix gaps in hardwood floors isn't difficult. Leave your gaps alone if the weather is very hot or moist. Most will shut themselves once the weather changes.

If your gaps don't close themselves, slip wooden strips into them. You can also use pieces of rope, which are less abrasive than wooden strips. If you have small gaps you want closed, you can put in some wood putty. 

But if your gaps won't shut, you need to get a new floor. National Floors Direct provides premium hardwood floors. Contact us today.