Do you notice gaps on your old hardwood floor, and you’re wondering how to fix them? Wonder no more, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.
Here are the simple steps to fill the gaps between your hardwood flooring:
- Measure the gaps between floorboards.
- Cut strips of wood to match the size of the gaps.
- Glue the strips into place.
- Wipe away excess glue with a clean damp cloth.
- Let the glue dry.
- Sand any uneven areas or use a planer to remove high areas.
- Stain the strips to match the rest of the floor.
However, there is a specific time of the year when it is ideal for filling floor gaps. Learn about this in the succeeding sections, including other ways to fill gaps on the floor. Read on!
How to fill gaps on the floor using wood strips?
When you decide to fill the gaps on the floor with wood strips as we described above, it is best to use leftover wood that you used for the wood floor. This will make it easier for you to match the color of the wood strips and the wood slabs on the floor. Even the grain of the wood would match.
If you no longer have any leftover wood from the floor installation, purchase the same type of floorboard or lumber and trim it to fit into the gaps. You can get salvaged wood of the same species as your wooden floor, which should be cheaper than new wood.
This method of using wooden strips to fill gaps requires the use of a miter saw or a handsaw. If you decide to use a table saw, make sure to follow all the safety guidelines for using a table saw.
Get the strips from the side of the board that matches the grain of your floor. This will make your strips blend more easily with the rest of the floor.
What is the best time of the year to fill gaps in the floor?
Wood naturally shrinks and expands with the changing of the seasons.
The dry winter months can cause your wooden floor to shrink as it loses some of its moisture. Your wooden floor will then expand during the humid months. This is when the excess moisture in the air gets absorbed by the wooden floor.
Since the gap is narrowest during humid months, the best time of the year to fill gaps on the floor is during the most humid months of the year.
Should you fill gaps on the floor?
Your hardwood floor will naturally have gaps during the dry seasons as it contracts, and then the gaps will close on their own during the humid months. Before planning to fill the flooring gaps, observe them during the different times of the year.
If you fill the gap during the dry months, you might cause the floor to buckle or peak when the wood expands once more during the humid months because there is no more space for the wood to expand. Buckling and peaking on your floor can become a safety hazard, especially to children and the elderly.
If the gap in your floor disappears during the humid months, then you might not really have a gap problem. However, if you still see a gap on your floor during the humid months, then you need to fill the gap.
How to fill floorboard gaps with natural fiber rope?
A natural fiber rope is a rope that is made from organic materials. These ropes are commonly made from fibers of plants.
This is a method that is traditionally used to fill large gaps on wooden floors—especially in very old homes. The rope can be stained with a matching tint as the surrounding wood to blend.
Here are the simple steps to fill hardwood floor gaps with natural fiber rope:
Clean The Area
- Clean the gap by scraping it with a painter’s 5-in-1 tool or with a flathead screwdriver. This will get rid of all old putty, dirt, and debris like small stones. Be careful not to damage the surrounding wood while scraping.
- Use a vacuum to completely remove the loose dirt and debris from the gap. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the gap is clear.
Choosing The Right Rope And Staining It
- Pick your rope. The rope should have a slightly larger diameter than the size of the gap. This will give the rope a snug fit when you insert it into the gap.
- Stain your rope with wood stain. Use a stain that matches the tone of the floorboards. Pour the stain into a basin. Submerge the rope in the stain completely and let it absorb the stain for a few minutes.
- Take the rope out of the basin and let the excess stain drip back into the basin.
- Lay the rope on a piece of clean cardboard and let it dry naturally. Keep in mind that the rope should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Do not place it anywhere near any source of intense heat. An oil-based stain, when exposed to direct sunlight or heat, can ignite.
Fill The Gap With Rope
- Spread glue on the wood surface.
- Stretch the rope over the gap and press it into the gap using a putty knife. Keep pressing the rope until it is flush with the floor's surface.
- Use a sharp utility knife to trim any excess rope.
- Let the wood glue dry.
- Apply a urethane layer or clear varnish to give the rope a hardened surface finish.
How to fill gaps on the floor using wood putty?
Wood putty and wood filler are two different materials. They may look the same, and some retailers sell them as the same product, but these two are different.
Wood filler is best used with unfinished wood because it is stainable, can be sanded, and it can be made from natural wood fibers or mineral clay.
Wood putty, on the other hand, is best used for repairs. It is denser than wood putty and is made of synthetic materials like plastic and oil-based solvents. Wood putty does not shrink or crack like wood filler. However, wood putty cannot be stained.
This method is best used when filling small gaps on the floor. Here are the steps to fill gaps on the floor with wood putty:
Prepare The Area
Clean the area following the steps above under the section “Clean The Area.” Next, dampen a clean cloth and wipe both sides of the gap that you will fill. Let the area dry naturally.
Pick a wood putty that matches the color of the floor. If you cannot find a matching color, choose a wood putty kit that has several colors that you can mix to match the color that you need. Mix the putty on a mixing plate that you can clean later.
Consider using a wood filler repair kit that contains everything from brushes for scratch touch-ups to a variety of fill colors. Check it out on Amazon.
Apply The Wood Putty
- Apply wood putty into the gap.
- Moisten your finger and use it to spread the wood putty and press it into the gap. Use a circular motion to spread the wood putty.
- Add more putty as needed.
- Once you’ve applied as much wood putty as needed, use a putty knife to carefully scrape off the excess wood putty without scratching the surrounding wood finish.
This 4-piece stainless steel putty knife set has you covered from prep to finish. Check it out on Amazon.
- Let the putty set and dry a little.
- Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe off any excess wood putty around the gap that you were not able to scrape off. Be careful not to wipe the putty out of the gap.
- Let the putty dry completely.
- Apply a layer of urethane or varnish to give the surface a protective layer and to make it blend more easily with the wood.
There are three different methods of filling gaps on the wood floor. Each method is best used based on the size of the gap.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read: